“The Customer is Always Right!” – that is a pretty standard maximum in business. But if you work in customer service, run your own business, having anything to do with the public in a business landscape, you know that some customers are downright “a…oles”.
They are not always right. Customers are often wrong in some part of the transaction. Yet, we are as business owners, or employees are supposed to lap it up. All in the hope, they don’t give us a bad review, or we have a good chance of keeping them as a returning customer. Which does beg the question – do you want them anyway? But that is a subject for another day.
There are a plethora of articles written about customer service, how to deal with demanding customers, and if you have been around long enough someone has handed you a copy of “ How to Win Friends and Influence People.” by Dale Carngie Or “Skill with People” by Les Giblin – and the list of materials can go on.
You will be happy to know I’m not going to write about handling troublesome customers.
Interested – keep reading.
My brother, who gets a guernsey quite often on this website, is a keen observer of life. One of his most famous quotes is “Good Customers get Good Service”.
Think about that –
“Good Customers Get Good Service.”
Think about the times you have been the recipient of good service. What was your state of mind? How was your attitude at the time? Yes, there is chemistry involved. And Yes, a good business owner will employ people who are good front people, but you were a good 50% of what was going on.
So how to get good Service Guaranteed and possibly to turn it into Great Service?
Here are some suggestions – Some ideas to get your head around. You may find better ones over time. But these are a start, and they work well for me. Are they going to be successful all the time – “common on” – were talking about life, human beings and imperfection so – NO. But the ideas here will help make your customer buying experience a who lot better.
- Remember that the person on the other end has feelings just like you. They may be excited about something, tired, bored, upset, trying to do there best.
- Don’t just be another person coming through the door for them to deal with – be real – if it is late in the day and near closing time acknowledge it. Thank them ahead of time as you know its nearly closing time, and they may have things they need to do before going home to their families or a night out. Remember you are selling something too – You! They are also thinking to themselves “Is this person easy to deal with? Are they likely to be an exhausting customer? None of us likes any pain or suffering. If we as a customer are going to be hard to deal with, it sets us up for a poor result. Their brain will override the desire to tell us to leave, but their heart will not be in it.
- Send Cards of Thanks. I love postcards and sent them all the time. I’ve been doing it since my late 20’s. They’re cheap, you can write very little, and they are fast. I send them for good Service, congratulations on a new position, even a birthday if that comes up I the conversation. It makes me stand out – I become real. The next time I call or look to purchase something, I go straight to the head of any cue.
- In the article “The Force of Tradition”, I wrote about our “Boys Day Out”. A regular event where my brother, father and I head off to town. The café – GABRIEL CAFÉ 187 Gertrude St, Melbourne – is where we start for a second breakfast of the day. We get excellent service. The reason? On their first week of business, we called in. We liked them. I sent a postcard right from the table with a photo of the three of us. They got it three days later. We get lovely service every time we go even from the staff we have never met previously. The postcard is pinned to their staff notice board and has been for over three years. On our last outing, we were greeted by “You’re those Guys!” We love it, we feel good, so do they, it’s a win all round. There are some great apps around to make this easy – I use Send Out Cards. A card company that is specializing in making a difference. If you want to get excellent service – this is a winner of an idea. You will stand out, the five minutes it takes, a couple of dollars invested will pay off for years.
- Think of ways to stand out – I’ve sent birthday cakes, books, all because I’m generally interested in the person. I have never been disappointed in return on investment. If you want to know why this works read – “Influence The Psychology of Persuasion” – by Robert B Cialdini. I do it because it feels good, and it makes my day and theirs.
- I practice all the time – even in a supermarket check out. I talk about them. I ask questions and listen. I’m not meaning spend an hour there but be interested in them as a real person.
- Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Be a student of humanity and yourself. Take it as an opportunity to see what influence you can have. I fail often, but I know now after years of practice, I’m good at building rapport very quickly.
- Call Centers. Pretty commonplace these days. I listen to the sound of their voice to see if there are any clues as to what I can use to build instant rapport. I make sure I get their name and use it. If it’s a call that has to do with a complaint from me, I point out that I might be angry on the call, but it is not directed at them its more the situation and the original person who created the problem. I ask them to forgive me ahead of time. It does two things – helps smooth the way with the person on the phone and most importantly reminds me to remain calm, well at least most of the time.
- Suppose an interaction is not going well. I don’t try too hard – I thank the agent and move on. There is another great person out there just waiting for you to call. Sometimes with call centres, if I don’t like the sound of the persons’ voice or notice that they are not really into their job, I thank them and hang up and call straight back. I generally get a better person that relates to me.
- We can get good Service by making it easy for the other person to look after us.
- Be the person who deserves good Service. When you leave the conversation have them be disappointed that you are going.
If you do all the things above and create some of your own, can I guarantee excellent service all the time? I wish I could, but the world doesn’t always respond to our wishes. However, what I can guarantee is that your customer experience will be better. You’ll have more fun, and more often than not, you will save money or get more value.
I take each situation as a learning experience. I can hone my understanding of human nature. Most importantly, I can observe things about my self and come to understand what makes me tick. I see how life expressed in all its forms. It can make what is just an everyday occurrence into an adventure.
The more we understand ourselves, we know more about others. So if we want fantastic service be a great person.
Our lives will be rewarded – Guaranteed!
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini
How to Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Skill With People – Les Giblin
The Laws of Human Nature – Robert Greene