Soccer is a lot like running a business. Both can generate lots of money, but it can also be painful to watch when your team does poorly. The big difference here is that while in soccer you might get booed off the pitch when you lose in business, you lose actual paying customers.

world cup customer service
Can you score the winning goal like Robin Van Persie?

Your customers aren’t as loyal as the Argentianian or Germany’s fans—if you give them poor customer service, they will go somewhere else. Get knocked out of the first round like Spain or England did and the fans won’t leave the team—they’ll just go drink it off for the next four years!

So, it goes without saying that the stakes are a lot higher in business than in soccer. If you’re on a losing team in business, you might not make rent or keep your job. Of course the same applies to soccer players who don’t produce. So, the goal then is to score – consistently.

4 Things We Can Learn from the World Cup About Business

Looking at things from a different perspective can often help us wrap our heads around tricky business problems. For example, customer service is an ever-changing field that seems simple enough—just makes the customer happy—but so does kicking a ball into a net. Unfortunately for soccer strikers and customer service reps alike, something usually stands in the way of your goal, trying to block your every effort to succeed.

A couple of weeks ago we explored what businesses can learn from Spain’s premature exit from the World Cup. With the World Cup’s climactic conclusion just a couple of days away, we wanted to share four tips we can take away from soccer to help us win in business.

1. Follow the Rules.

Just like in soccer, if you don’t follow the rules of customer service, you will get penalized. And while soccer’s rules are written down and widely accepted, you’ll have to use your logic and common sense—or company guidelines if you have them—when it comes to following the rules of customer service.

The main rule that we have heard forever is that “the customer is always right.” While some businesses still adhere to this standard, it should be taken with a grain of salt. If the customer was always right, they wouldn’t need your services or goods—they’d do it themselves.

The bottom line is that they are the customers and you are the professionals, just like the fans are the fans and the soccer players in the Cup are making the big bucks. Still, don’t let those golden rules get away from you or you might find yourself with a red card and sitting out the next match!

2. Score Goals Consistently.

It goes without saying that to win the World Cup, you have to win matches and to win matches, you have to score goals. While the 2014 FIFA World Cup has been a scoring extravaganza, you don’t have to kill your goal differential every time you walk out onto the pitch.

While it’s nice to bag a ton of goals, it’s also a bit unrealistic. Instead, aim for consistency in your goal scoring. Set and meet reasonable goals for your customer service operations. How many cases are you going to resolve each day? Set that goal and meet it day in and day out. Consistency is what makes champions, but it also can make for a quick exit from the cup. If you’re consistently missing your goals, you’re consistently losing. It goes without saying that you don’t want to be consistently lose.

3. Pay Attention to the Clock.

The timely manner in which you respond to your customers is going to go a long way when it comes time to get on the podium. There is no penalty for early contact—or any contact as in soccer—so the quicker you can reach out to a customer, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Promp customser service shows the customer that you care. It can even turn a disgruntled customer into your

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