A quick spattering of some customer service insights we share in our trainings...
1. You Are The Company, Organization, School, Team, etc.
My wife recently visited a health club in our neighborhood. Since we have a one-month old at the house (her nickname is Itsy-Bitsy and our two-year old is Bitsy. I just think that is hilarious), she was really excited about getting back in "pre-baby shape." After five minutes on the treadmill, she felt a knock on her back. One of the personal trainers had literally just walked up to her and started bouncing a training ball off her back - mid-workout! She politely shooed him away, but he was back in five minutes asking un-invited questions and trying to interrupt her workout to gain her business. Needless to say, the strategy didn't work. Not only that, HE is now the reason she will never again patron that gym or any of their other stores.
You are the organization. Everytime a customer talks with you, looks at you, works with you or you handle something actively or passively for a customer, you leave an impression on the customer that is more than just from you - it is from the organization. So, you play a huge role within the organization, no matter how huge your position is!
2. Communicate the Process
I would rather hear why it is taking you five minutes to complete a transaction than to just be kept waiting. Customers need to hear about it when you have to jump through hoops to provide great service for them. But you can't do it in a "this is way harder than it should be" attitude. It has to be with a smile on your face and love in your heart. So, maybe you don't love your customers, maybe you don't even love your work, but hopefully you love putting a smile on your face and your customers' faces. If you don't, you need to slap your career counselor with a paper weight!
3. If it is Worth it, Just do it
During a recent visit to my eye doctor for a routine exam, I was taken into a new room. In this room sat a new piece of equipment I hadn't seen before. The assistant asked if I wanted to spend an extra $32 getting this "additional examination" that tested for a plethora of things that I am sure were important, but that I knew nothing about. I followed her question with, "Will my normal exam be sufficient to check for all the relevant concerns for someone of my age and with my vision?" She sheepishly said yes. Of course, I said no to the additional $32.
If I were my eye doctor, I would take out the step of asking if I want to spend $32 for the additional exam. When I go to somewhere like the eye doctor, I don't expect it to be like the tire and lube place. If my paid professional thinks it is worth it, then don't itemize it out or make it optional. Just do it. By making it optional, she is essentially saying, this is not totally necessary to provide you the best exam possible. So, whatever add-on you are thinking of including, if it is really worth it and totally necessary, then build in the cost and just do it!
4. Know it Before You Show it
In the context of the previous example, that assistant could have sold me on the $32 exam add-on if she had known something and that something is not all the ins and outs of the machine. The training she needed was how to make a personal connection between me (the set of eyes in question) and the benefits of having said eyes examined with the new machine. That is the knowledge piece. The application piece is to get her trained on how to open the discussion in the exam room. She began (and ended) the discussion with listing what the machine does; what it tests for. A better approach would have been to begin with a set of two or three open-ended questions with the end goal of me convincing myself that the additional $32 was necessary. So, she not only needed to know the machine, she needed to know the benefits of the exam to me and the questions dialogue.
5. The Customer Service Secret
Own a genuine sense of caring for the customer. If you can't do that, then at least care for solving the customer's problem. If you can't do that, then at least care for the quality of your work. If you can't do that, then pull that paper weight back out!