“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” ~ Jeff Bezos
Giving outstanding customer service is like many other things in life, it becomes a learned habit, just like driving a vehicle. Think about the first time you took the wheel. You probably weren’t very good at it, but with time and practice, driving became a habit and you got much better at it. The same is true for many other endeavors in life, such as cooking, playing golf or giving a speech. When you learn the ground rules and it becomes a habit, it becomes much easier, and more enjoyable.
Giving great customer service is no different, so today I want to talk about some of the ground rules of customer service. Learn these and make them a habit and the whole customer service game will become much easier and more enjoyable.
Greet the customer first. Challenge yourself to greet the customer before he or she greets you. When a customer walks in, if they speak first, you lose. Think about walking into a clothing store where the 2 or 3 people “working” are gathered around the cash register or stocking a back corner. You walk in, browse around, look at a few items, check prices and walk out and no one ever said a word to you. Your primary function is to assist the customer. Communication is the key ingredient and by being the first to speak you set the tone that you are there to help the customer.
Smile! Yes, it’s just that simple. Smile! Make smiling on the job a condition of employment and the lack of smiling grounds for termination. Body language and facial expressions speak much louder than words and a big smile puts even the most menacing of customers at ease. A smile also alters the inflection of your voice. This is why you should ALWAYS smile before you answer a phone. The customer can actually hear the smile in your voice.
Be enthusiastic. Dale Carnegie said, “Enthusiasm is a disease. Let’s start an epidemic.” When a customer tells you what they are looking for, get excited about it. When a customer sees and hears your enthusiasm you will make more sales. It’s that simple.
Never point – go show. Believe it or not, I was secret shopping a self storage competitor once when it was cold and raining out. She actually gave me the keys to her golf cart and told me where the empty unit was for me to look at. Seriously? Everyone has gone to a big box or grocery store and been told, “Oh, I think that’s on aisle 5”. Walk the customer to where they need to be and then wait to see if they have any questions about it.
Common courtesy. Please, thank you and it’s my pleasure still go a long way towards building rapport. One of my pet peeves is the “No problem-er”. When a customer says, Thank you”, get in the habit (there’s that word again) of saying, “It’s my pleasure” and break the habit of using, “No problem”. To many people, no problem is telling them they were not nearly as big of a problem as you thought they would be. On the other hand, “It’s my pleasure” is a very uplifting phrase that will put an instant smile on their face.
Evaluate every interaction. A customer leaves your store thinking one of two things, “Hey, that person was GREAT!” or “That sucked. I’m not coming back here again.” On those occasions where a customer interaction doesn’t go as planned, don’t just shrug it off. Learn from it. Ask yourself what you could have done to reach a different outcome.
Make it fun. If you’re having fun doing your job it will rub off on your customers. Quite simply, people like to have fun. If they see that you are having fun helping them, they will have fun buying from you.
- Smiling Through … Always Good Customer Service? (strategiclearner.wordpress.com)
- 10 customer service resolutions for the new year (cbsnews.com)
- 4 Customer Service Lessons from the Biggest Brands on Twitter (convinceandconvert.com)