Having thirty plus years helping customers in the automotive industry has turned me into the biggest observer of customer service. I could be in line at the fast food restraint critiquing the customer and employee exchange or at a high-end resort picking out the areas that they may be falling short in providing the best overall customer experience. Actually my family is so annoyed by it I am often standing there alone when the customer in front of me might be getting the short end of good customer service because I will probably say something to the service provider when it is my time. I feel compelled to let them know what I see and simple ways it could be improved. Here are a few easy tips that can and will help your next customer exchange.
- Smile – The most basic mannerism I look for during an interview of a future employee. Someone that does not have to think to smile will typically be best in front of customers.
- Stay Engaged – There are a lot of distractions, tune them out and give your live customer all the attention
- Do not pre judge – Never choose a book by its cover and treat everyone equally awesome.
- Look for areas to improve – Be cognizant of what your customer is telling you verbally and non verbally and be aware so you are able to fix the problem.
- Actively listen – All to often we know the answer before the customer has finished their question and nothing is more frustrating than being cut off. Allow the customer to finish their thought and then reply.
- Remove the phrase “we cant” – Replace it with telling the customer what you can do to solve their problem.
- Show genuine interest – Its one thing to listen but to listen and not care is a top ten customer complaint. Be empathetic and have genuine interest in fixing the customers concern or request.
- Never discuss customers in front of other customers – You may know the customer in front of you pretty well and think it may be ok to finish telling them about one of your previous customers and the issues you had with them. It is not ok and do not do it
- Be sure everything is completed – Nothing is more frustrating than not getting what you asked for. Make sure you follow through and complete everything that has been asked of you.
- Tell the guest “thank you” – Our customers have many choices you should be thankful they chose you for service.
- Invite them back – Just like a good friend leaving your home, please invite them to come back and see you
If you think that I am alone in the world of forming an opinion of a service provider due to the interaction I observe from the previous customer then you are crazy. I would venture to guess that every customer is very aware of what is going on around him or her and it weighs in heavily on his or her overall assessment of you. Remind your staff, they are on stage from bell to bell and if they need to get something off their chest or out of their head then they need to exit stage left and get off the service drive.