Hello everyone. I wrote this post back in 2013 (time sure does fly!) I decide to rewrite (add some things and take some things out). I have been learning so much about customer service and the experience. I thought it would be nice to update the post. Please share your thoughts.
What is Customer Service?
I hear a lot of people say that Customer Service is a thing of the past. I have seen situations where this is seemingly true. It often seems that when you go to make a purchase, the salesperson doesn’t care whether you actually buy or not. They act as if you are an interruption to their day and they want to move you through the process as fast as possible.
Have you ever purchased a car and the sales person treated you like his best friend in order to sell you the car? Its like you are gold to them (very valuable), but when you take the car into the service department. The service person treats you as if you have the flu! (a lump of coal) These are just a couple of examples of bad Customer Service that I have experienced. I am super optimistic however that customer service is very much alive and well.
I have an example where I was in a store with my wife. We were looking for a dress shirt & tie for my son. The issue we were having was finding a shirt that was the right size as well as the right length. We encountered a sales lady who extremely helpful that if I could have given her a tip I would have! She didn’t even work in the department where we were shopping for the shirt. She made us sit while she went around the store trying to find the right shirt & tie set for us. We felt valued and important in that moment.
Her determination paid off as she found the right shirt. However, the tie that was with the shirt was not one that we particularly cared for. So you know what she did? She found a shirt that had a tie that we really liked and made the switch. She “made it happen!” I think there are lot of instances where we can “make happen” relative to customer service.
Here are a few items to keep in mind when you are striving to provide an exceptional customer service experience.
- Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
- Don’t pressure me to buy (if you have what I need I will probably buy if you are nice and consider my needs)
- Don’t just try to make a sale off of me, try to understand how this purchase is going to benefit me and the parties involved (or me as individual if you are single)
- Make me the center of your attention. (Focus on me don’t wander off or try to help multiple people at the same time)
- Walk in my shoes ( Think about what if that was me)
- Have a smile in your voice
Those are just a few things I think can help in delivering an exceptional customer service experience. I believe one of the best customer service skills a person can exhibit is the ability to listen to what the customer is saying. Many times we are eager to have someone buy that we forget to listen to what it is that customer really needs.
I was listening to a speaker. They were taking about an iceberg and how you only see about 20 percent of that mass of ice. The other 80 percent is under water. Wouldn’t it be nice if we took our customer service skills to the 80 level and really tried to get to know that customer, client or business prospect? Tap into the human element of the customer. Just imagine the lasting relationship you could build by getting to know that customer in that kind of way!
Just remember when interacting with the customer. You represent the brand of that company. All attitude and actions are a reflection of that brand. That is how the customer sees it. To the customer, you are the company. The type of experience the customer has with you sets the mark for how that customer looks at the company as a whole.
You have heard the saying, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” In a study customers tell an average of nine people about good experiences, and nearly twice as many (16 people) about poor ones – making every individual service interaction important for businesses. Bad experiences are burned in your memory and every time you see a reference about that company you are compelled to tell someone about it.
Being exceptional in customer service is what sets you apart from your competition. It is also what keeps your clients coming back. I often think it would be nice to have customer appreciation day where we recognize the customer. Wouldn’t that be an experience for the customer? After all, without the customer where would our business be?
Just remember customer service is alive and there are a lot of people that do it right every day. They “make it happen!” Kudos to all of you in the customer service world that value your customers and consider them the priority and not the problem.