What’s your Trademark?™
We have a question for you: Is the experience you provide as important as the actual product or service that you are selling? In the field of coaching and training, we get to hear all kinds of stories related to both internal and external customer service. Usually, they begin with something like, “You’ll never believe what happened to me! This guy was so rude! He didn’t listen, and all I did was repeat myself!”
You can probably guess what follows…this one person, a customer spends the next week or two telling everyone what happened and who did it. The poor wounded victims of these interactions make a solemn vow to spend their lives as a crusader, sharing the gory details of the offense committed against them. And if the complaint seems valid, others will start questioning it, too.
Think about your favorite restaurant, for example. Does it have the best food? The best margaritas? Or do you go there for the service? If you’re lucky, it has all three. But if not, odds are you continue to go back for the service. No matter how great the food tastes, most people won’t continue to return if the restaurant has rude staff members or poor service.
First, let’s apply this to where you work. Are you the person who answers the phone? Are you in the account services department? Are you in sales? Do you deal with your company’s customers in any way? Now, flip it to the inside. Who else do you interact with on a daily basis? Do you work on a team? Do you work closely with another department within your company? Are there people who need things from you in order to do their job and be successful?
As a customer, what do you want? Most people want (in no particular order) fast and accurate service, quality and value, respect and courtesy, and maybe even a little something extra. If that’s what you want as a customer, isn’t that what you should also provide?
Sometimes on hectic days, we forget that almost everyone we interact with is actually our customer; both people who purchase a product or service from your company and people you work with on a daily basis. You could very easily become the person the crusader is telling everyone about…the person that no one wants to interact with. And with just a few bad interactions, your company could very easily get a reputation for poor customer service.
Here are a few simple tips to help avoid this situation and provide the best customer service you can:
- Treat others as you would expect to be treated. Whether you’re in a good or bad mood, be sure to speak to others in a friendly tone. Learn what people like: their hobbies, their family, their pets. When you remember things about people, they know you were actually listening and it lets them know you care about them as a person.
- Take charge of the situation. Don’t let what is going on personally overcome your ability to do your job. Take charge and choose to not let it interfere. This is easier for some than others. But when things are getting to you, ask yourself, if you were on the other end of the phone or email, how would your words or tone come across?
- Listen. Listening is one of the simplest things you can do. HEAR them. Watch for body language and tone of voice. Sometimes if you listen and ask enough about the situation, it’s much easier for you to be empathetic.
- Remember that your customers are people just like you. On any given day, your customer could have dealt with a bad situation, accepted blame for something that wasn’t their fault, received a phone call with bad news or felt stressed and overworked. Haven’t we all felt that way? A poor interaction with you could make their day worse, and a positive interaction with you could actually help improve their mood.
Ultimately, all customers have a choice. Internal customers (or co-workers) can choose not to interact with you. External customers can choose not to do business with the company you work for. And almost all customers, in one way or another, will choose to tell others about the service they received.
In the end, customers get to determine where they want to do business. So again, do you think the experience you provide as important as the actual product or service that you are selling?
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