Delivering great customer service is definitely an art. Some people do it well and others, well, suffice to say they could do with a few pointers.
The truth is that everyone serves someone. Sometimes that someone is the end customer and other times that someone is serving the person that serves the customer. In other words, they might be our internal customer but whomever we serve, we do so because we want some reward for our work.
If you want someone to reward you loyally for your endeavours, here are five things to do that will “serve you best” to get what you need from the people around you.
1. Be Present
Being Present means to be focussed on the communication at hand, not busy thinking about what we are going to say next, not thinking about what happened in the past and most definitely not focussing on what is happening in the distance (i.e. in the online world). Put that mobile device down, leave your problems at the door and focus intently on what the other person has to say. They are, right in that moment, your priority.
2. Pay Attention
Pay attention to more than just the words that are being spoken. Listen for pace and underlying messages and repeat parts of the conversation for clarity. If nothing else, your ability to match their communication style will help them to feel as though you understand them. And if they are less than happy, repeating their words will make them feel heard, a valuable communication skill in any situation.
3. Be Gracious
Grace is an often forgotten quality. It means to accept others for who they are without having to change them. It means to not react to their behaviour with our own internal stuff and also means not to blame others for the problems they might have encountered. It’s sometimes called unconditional love and it’s hard to do all the time but most people appreciate being accepted for who they are. Your grace will go a long way to building solid relationships.
4. Be Grateful
Much has been said about gratitude over the past 20 years. Gratitude means to be thankful for what we have and for what other people give us and for the situations we find ourselves in. Most people appreciate being thanked. After all they made a choice to spend time with us, as an external or internal customer. Too much gratitude can become a little tiresome though; being aware of why you thank people is a rare and fine quality. To be truly grateful without needing thanks in return is the ideal way to say thanks.
5. Be Reliable
Consistency is one of the foundations of great relationships and customer service. Mssrs Sands and Hallmark knew this, that is why Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Anniversaries are held every year, with all the card paraphernalia we could possibly need to remind us to say “hi” to the people we love. Reliability is actually a series of processes that make up an easy to follow system. Ad hoc performances can be so hit and miss and leave our internal and external customers feeling confused. And we all know a confused customer is less likely to buy than one who trusts that we will deliver what we say.
How many of these qualities do you display when talking to your customers? Most of us operate from our natural strengths and our habits and whilst it’s hard to change ourselves radically, small changes made consistently can make a massive difference to our results. I’d highly recommend buying a packet of post-it-notes and leaving little reminders for you to see when you next interact with your customers.
Doing so will vastly enhance your communication with internal and external customers and help you grow those relationships that make everyone feel like a million dollars.