Are You Wearing Rose-Colored Glasses?

by Brad Worthley

The key to great customer service is not focusing on the words “customer service.” Instead, focus more on the goal of finding ways to create an emotional attachment with each customer that you come in contact with (internal or external.) In order to do that, you might consider thinking about the people you do business with (business or personal life.) Think about what it is that they do, that makes you feel a special bond to them.

Is it their words or their actions? If it is their words, then think about what words endear themselves to you, and consider incorporating them into your own vocabulary. If it is their actions, then think about what actions make you feel special and consider incorporating them into your own behaviors.

In this Article
* Are you wearing rose-colored glasses?
* I have to wait how long?
* Bringing sales & service together
* Avoid “jargon”
* Words of Wisdom

It is important to separate ourselves from our competition so we leave the perception that we don’t have any competition. It is certainly getting harder to do this with products and services, and it is dangerous to make price the weapon of choice (you will end up out of business.) The one area where you can differentiate yourself is the level of service you offer, but you have to be very careful to not become lethargic. You should have a plan in place to raise the service bar dramatically at least once a year, because people become used to the levels you currently have. This change needs to be noticeable to all customers (not just a few) and leave them with the perception that they cannot get this elsewhere.

If you have ever heard of the “rose colored glasses” analogy, well, it really fits here: When you first put rose-colored lens glasses on, the world looks rose colored. But if you wear the glasses long enough, you get used to them. You only notice the difference again when you take them off or put on a different color. So don’t let your current service level become rose-colored – make change a part of your plan and see if the world notices.

I have to wait how long?

As you may know from your own personal experiences, waiting for assistance can be a sometimes long and frustrating experience. So what can we do to alleviate some of that anxiety and make the wait more tolerable for our customers?

If you have a situation where a customer is going to have to wait before being assisted, I have some suggestions: The first thing is to probe for their needs, because waiting may not be necessary. Their needs might be able to be handled by a different department or person that is immediately available, or maybe through a call center, which can be done from the comfort of their home.

If a wait is required, then let the customer know approximately how long you will be. They might perceive it is a 5-minute wait, but if it ends up being a 20-minute wait, you have a hostile customer. I would also suggest an offer of food or beverage if you have something available. This could be water, coffee, soft drinks, cookies, popcorn, candy, or something that demonstrates you want to make them as comfortable as possible. Last but not least, the offer of something to read is appreciated because it will help pass the time more quickly.

Bringing sales & service together

Many companies will promote “sales programs” for a few months, then shift focus to “customer service programs” for the next few months. Unfortunately, the perception that we may leave employees with, is that they are two separate functions.

Sales and service should be the same process, and if you are really good at customer service, sales will occur. Now, that does not mean that you can just smile and make sales, because we are assuming you already have good product knowledge and sales skills. But assuming all of your job skills are up to par, then the process is seamless and not two functions.

A great sales presentation will not leave the customer feeling “sold”. Instead, the customer will feel like you asked enough questions to properly determine their individual needs and offered products or services to match. Sincerity is also absolutely crucial in sales because if a customer perceives “insincerity,” the sale is over. Bringing sales and service together is a win- win for you and the customer.

Avoid “jargon”

Many industries are prone to creating acronyms for products, services or job titles. When you are talking to a customer, please remember that they will more than likely be unfamiliar with your company’s jargon. If you use “jargon” on customers, you might confuse them. Customers that are confused will more than likely say “No” to whatever you are selling or talking about, rather than purchase something they don’t understand. You also put them in an uncomfortable situation because they might think they are supposed to know the “jargon,” and it may make them look bad if they admit they don’t (so they won’t.) Make sure if you use acronyms or jargon, that you follow up with a brief explanation, or you might leave them with unanswered questions.

Words of Wisdom

“Being open to new ideas is an almost universal strength of the truly successful.”

Brad Worthley, an accomplished business consultant and professional speaker with over 27 years of business management experience, is also an internationally acclaimed customer service, leadership and motivational expert.

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