Recently I was calling around looking for a moving company to help me out with a move later this year. Some of the customer service people I got a hold of were very helpful while some were inattentive.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t looking to find a BFFL or anything like that, but a little friendliness would have gone a long way. One of the people I spoke with gave me the great advice of getting one of those junk removal bins to get rid of unwanted furniture and other things before the move. Very useful advice but, she ended the call in the worst way possible. “I have another call coming in.” (cringeworthy) I could only respond with “yeah me too?”
At this point, I figured maybe I should change up my search. I filled out a web query form and got a call back from someone who obviously hated her job. “Yeah, so your quote for the move is $1200…” This statement was followed by silence. So, I asked, “are you available for the day I requested?” Yeah but you need to book as soon as possible! She made it very obvious to me that she was having a bad day, month, possibly even the full year. I got off the phone feeling like the company she worked for hated moving and disliked people in general.
5 Steps to Great Customer Service:
- Treat the customer as though they are the most important person you have spoken to that day. Smile while you’re on the phone and be present.
- Attentively listen to the customer and show empathy. In other words, do your best not to laugh when the customer tells you she began packing only to find her husband sleeping on the couch while the puppy emptied and mauled every box he could reach! The customer has called for your help and to see if you understand her worries and can ease them. That story might have been a cry for help. It was also an opportunity to bring up the packing services you offer. Unless of course, she does see some humor in it after yelling at her husband!
- Use critical thinking skills to figure out more opportunities to sell options that may be part of your service offerings.
- Beforehand, ask yourself what you would want to know if you were looking for this service.
- Relay additional charges such as overtime, mileage, and other incidentals. Try not to rattle off what you have to say. The customer could be writing this down so that he or she has a record of it.
Every experience is a learning experience and everyone is different. One customer service person I spoke with was fantastic, helpful, and attentive, we even had a few chuckles. She knew the moving business as well as we all know gin goes with tonic!
Being the first voice of a company is a privileged position. After all, it’s one of the most important jobs in every company. The customer service person introduces the company to the customer. Without customers, businesses wouldn’t be around for very long. So please, refer to point #1 if ever in doubt and smile while you are on the phone, maybe even pretend the customer is in front of you rather than on the phone. And keep in mind, customers can tell if you are distracted, so please be mindful!
On that point, we as customers also have to do our part. Here are a few tips to becoming the greatest customer that customer service person has spoken to literally for the whole day!
5 Steps to Being the Greatest Customer of the Day
- Be friendly. Ask how your customer service person is doing that day.
- Be ready. Have your questions on hand and advocate for what it is that you need the company to do for you.
- Part 2 of being ready; listen and write down the answers to your questions. That way you are not asking the same questions again and again.
- Be mindful. Pay attention to what the person on the other end is saying to you.
- Be kind. Being the first face of an organization can be hard sometimes but try to treat the call as though it is not anonymous. Act like you are conversing face to face.
Remember, customer service, people can’t read minds. Communication is key! Tell the customer service person your requirements. There are roles we all need to play in the daily interactions we have with one another. Doing your part enables you to truly assess if the company can provide the caliber of service you need. Give them a chance to fulfill your service needs. Who knows, they just might attain the elusive dream of customer retention. From either perspective…bad vibes are hard to change.
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