I often write about the ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of your customers’ experiences. Many managers believe that they have that perspective because they are onsite during most operating hours. Or they have a trustworthy manager overseeing operations.
Your customers’ perspective, however, is way different than yours. They are far less concerned about whether the returns department is following protocol by asking the correct questions Your customers prefer to know your staff listens to understand their frustration.
The customer service skills that WOW your customer are usually glossed over, or not addressed at all in a training manual are:
- Patience – Giving a frustrated customer time to tell you about their issue without being impatient is the gold star of great customer service. It’s important to really understand what your customer is really saying.
- Listening – Hand in hand with patience, is listening. Each customer is different, and while the problems may sound similar, they are not always the same. You may find out real issues with your product, your web page, or your staff when you take the time to hear them out.
- Product Knowledge – Being able to have a conversation about your product is essential to providing a good customer experience. You – and your staff – are considered the experts. Knowing how much product is available, sizes, colors, etc. allows your team to provide immediate responses to a frustrated customer.
- Using of Positive Language – Saying we “Don’t have that product” doesn’t solve a customer’s problem. Saying we will have it available next month and I can order it for you. Or I can check to see if t is available in a sister store lets them know you care.
- Empathy – All any of us want is to know someone cares. So, show care. Show concern. Be sensitive to the customer’s needs, problems, and concerns. And let them know it matters to you. Because their repeat business does matter to you!
Note how most of these skills are really character traits.
They are not standard operating procedures. Anyone who has face-to-face, phone, or online interaction with your customer needs to have or develop these behaviors.
Operating procedures, standards, and training are absolutely necessary! There needs to be a consistency in your interactions with customers to make them know they are at your store.
What will set you apart, however, is their perception of your service based on how they are treated! And that comes with customer service skills that WOW!
The best compliment your business can receive is ‘Those people really care about me.”
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