I decided to write about something serious today, Customer Service.
Just what is Customer Service?
Here’s the Wikipedia definition:
“Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase. According may vary by product or service, industry and customer. The perception of success of such interactions will be dependent on employees “who can adjust themselves to the personality of the guest,” according to Micah Solomon. Customer service can also refer to the culture of the organization – the priority the organization assigns to customer service relative to other components, such as product innovation or low price. In this sense, an organization that values good customer service may spend more money in training employees than the average organization, or proactively interview customers for feedback.
From the point of view of an overall sales process engineering effort, customer service plays an important role in an organization’s ability to generate income and revenue. From that perspective, customer service should be included as part of an overall approach to systematic improvement. A customer service experience can change the entire perception a customer has of the organization.”
My definition of Customer Service expands to body language, voice tone, honest caring, listening and attention to detail.
Body Language is more than just gesticulating your arms.
Body Language is your smile, eye contact with whom you are speaking and appearing vulnerable to the person you are serving. Eye contact is an important part of customer service, because without the connection, you appear NOT to be listening. Vulnerability demonstrates an empathic response to the person you are talking to. Your transparent vulnerability is translated as “I care about your needs, which precede mine”. In other words, “I Want to Help You”.
Voice tone is a critical part of communicating with another person.
Voice tone can bely pain, anger, frustration, happiness, sadness, impartiality or ignorance. I learned many years ago, just how important voice tone is, when I was a telephone solicitor. Yes folks, you probably hung up on me. But chances are greater that as I gained more clarity and self-assuredness, you were prone to hang onto every word I said. I learned how to slow down my speech (NO ONE enjoys listening to a fast talker – puts them on guard). I smiled when I talked into the phone (smiles REALLY DO travel). I cared about the stranger that I spoke to over the phone (caring works wonders, no matter how nervous you might be, no matter how defensive or aggressive they may be and no matter how aggressive you probably are).
Honest caring is the key to success.
Honesty goes a long way. I found out early that if I did not believe in what I was promoting, I could not stand by it. If I truly cared about what I was doing, and that what I was doing would make a difference to the life of the person I was speaking to, then I had no problem helping the person that was in front of me.
Listening is tantamount to the attention the person you are facing deserves.
When I shut my mouth, look directly into their eyes and listen to the person I am talking to, my result is always the same. The person I am listening to takes only seconds to open up to me. They will tell me their life’s story, all the problems they are going through, and what they need to make their life better. It is my responsibility (not my job) to oblige them, with whatever is in my power to do so. It doesn’t matter, if I am teaching someone how to use the computer for the first time, learn how a function works in Microsoft Office, or find them a book, CD or DVD that will help them forget about their real life for a while. Whatever I am doing is of vital importance to the person I am interacting with, and I will listen to what they have to say, before I make a recommendation.
Attention to detail is an important part of every single thing that one does, when they are working with people.
Ever go to the drive-thru at a fast food place and either not receive what you ask for, or get something totally different? I’ll give you one guess why. Someone didn’t pay attention to detail. Customer Service is all about attention to detail, it is the foundation of the service that you are providing. Attention to detail goes hand-in-hand with everything I have discussed thus far, for without listening, caring, watching the tone of your voice and paying attention to your body language, what you are performing is nothing more than the antics of a monkey. Attention to detail is the perfect dance of Customer Service, it is what gives you the quality of looking effortless in everything that you do. It is the graceful waltz of a perfect 10, compared to the jerky motions of an incomplete movement, borne of no confidence, no dignity and a lack of self-assuredness.
Why would I post this article?
Not because I am angry at anyone, or any one thing. I am posting this as a reminder to myself, of the importance of service.