We all know when we receive great customer service, but how often do we really note basic or nominal service? Have we unconsciously lowered our expectations? Think about your most recent purchasing experiences. Does any interaction stand out as stellar?
On the flip side, have you extended any outstanding customer service to someone else? It seems we have become accustomed to the bare essentials when it comes to service. If you’re lucky, you get a “Hi” or “Welcome” from someone who doesn’t even make eye contact. If you’re at a business where you use your credit or store membership card, you may receive a “Thank you Mrs. Jones,” but again, with little or no eye contact.
Great customer service boils down to honest, open, human interaction. The service provider must treat each guest as that one special person he will encounter that day. Eye contact, a warm smile and a nice handshake are all great starts, but you must step it up from the beginning.
Making a Connection We’ve all had that sour-faced customer walk in the door, and when you see that person, it’s your first test. Can you make that person smile within the first 10 seconds? “Hi, Mrs. Jones, its time to pay rent again, huh? Wow, time flies by so fast when it’s not a fun task. But I truly appreciate your business ... and your contribution to my paycheck.” Even if it’s a mock chuckle you receive in response, you’ve got her. There’s a chink in her armor.
At this point, you can ask a leading question. “Mrs. Jones, we’re doing a survey of our favorite customers.” Notice her standing up straighter? She’s a favorite! “Can you think of anything else we can do to make your visits here more pleasant?” Be prepared to respond with a nice “Thank you” and “We’ll run it by the owners” if Mrs. Jones should offer any suggestions. Can you imagine a business that goes so far above and beyond with customer service that everyone who visits enjoys himself while plunking down quite a bit of cash? We all want that place to be ours.
A company that arguably provides some of the world’s best customer service is Disney. The slogan, “Be our guest,” didn’t just happen by accident. When you visit “the happiest place on earth,” you can see where the training in customer relations has really paid off. The customer-service model the company has honed over the years is a good place to start when modeling your own training program. You can take a peek at it at Disneyinstitute.com. You’ll never catch Mickey and friends with frowns on their faces. Should your office be any different?
Start with a genuine, warm smile that comes from within, translates easily from one human to another, and cannot be forced. Determine what brings a genuine smile to your face and keep that information in your back pocket. Some days, you’ll find you’re just not as perky as others, and you’ll need to pull this skill out of your bag of tricks, especially for the Mrs. Joneses in your daily interactions.