By Gavin Scott, Author and Founder of LOAF Training
Here are ten top tips for providing excellent customer service…
1. The power of a smile
This is so simple, but you will be amazed at how many people do not do it! Without it, the rest of these tips will not work.
If you smile at someone it is contagious and they will smile back at you. You will make them feel good and you will feel good at the same time. This will be brilliant. You should try this when you are at the supermarket, I guarantee that it will work.
The next time you are greeted at a reception desk, see if the person behind it is smiling and reflect on what the experience was like afterwards, I guarantee that if they were smiling it will have been a positive one.
It’s true what they say about first impressions, “You never get a second chance to make a good positive first impression”. Did you know that it takes between 4-7 seconds to create a first impression? So just stop and think about how important a smile on your face is!
2. The Greeting
What is your opening line? What do you say when you answer the phone? Do you have a standard professional greeting?
Remember, we are still at the point where we are creating our first impression, so this opening line needs to be good. It is not just what you say, it is how you say it.
Tone of voice
I’ve come across people who are using the right words but the spirit within which it is being said gives me the impression that they don’t really mean it.
Therefore, your tone of voice is crucially important. So, ask yourself: Do you sound cheerful and happy? Do you come across as being genuinely interested in your customer? Are you sincere? Or do you sound dull, boring, disinterested, monotone, or simply like you are passing the time of day?
3. Exchange names
Make it personal. Are you good at obtaining people’s names and then remembering them? Or are you someone who quickly forgets? When it comes to creating an emotional connection between you and the person who you are speaking to, it’s good to get on first name terms.
This is a very simple approach and it works. If you are someone who says, “I’m no good at remembering names!”, then you are giving yourself an excuse and you will never improve your skills.
4. Mirror the customer and communicate like them
Have you ever met someone for the first time, and you have just got on with them like a house on fire? You are “in sync” with each other, on the same page, whatever you want to call it, you just seem to gel?
On the flip side, can you think of someone who you’ve met for the first time and you’ve not got off to a great start? There’s some friction between you and the person who you are speaking with?
Well, that’s all about a difference in communication style. Some people are assertive, very direct and to the point, whilst others are more emotional, empathetic and friendly.
How can you create a great connection?
If you want to create a great connection with someone, you have to seek out the tell-tale signs of their communication style and adapt your style so that you mirror theirs. If you do that, in a more sub-conscious way they will be thinking, “I like him/her, they are just like me!” and the resulting outcome of the conversation will be significantly better for both of you. So, adapt your communication and be more like the person who is speaking to you. Tune into their words and make a conscious effort to adapt your communication style to suit the person who you are speaking with.
5. Use simple language
Recently, I was working with a company and I just could not believe the amount of 3 letter acronyms that they were using. What was even more interesting was each time I asked them to tell me what it stood for, they didn’t actually know! You’ll be surprised at how many people actually use acronyms and they don’t even know what they stand for?
So, when it comes to the language that you use, just Keep It Simple Stupid, which ironically is an acronym that I first came across when I was in the Army!! KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid, or in my case my Corporal would say, “Keep It Simple Scotty!”
Keeping it simply makes it easy for your customers to understand what you are talking about and to reach a solution.
6. Be interested
The more interest we demonstrate in our customers the more interest they will have in us. A great book that will help you to understand and appreciate the power of this is a book called “Influence” by Robert Cialdini.
One of the six things that we can use to influence people is called “Reciprocation”, in other words if you do something nice for someone they will do something nice for you in return. The influencing method plays out when you show an authentic interest in the person who you are talking to.
Give it a go in your next conversation, be interested, ask more curious questions, be conscious of when you are talking more and do something about it.
7. Ask great questions
This is a good thing. The mistake that we make is that we can often focus too much on our solution
and what we want to suggest rather than remaining more curious about the customer situation and being on their agenda.
When it comes to “Asking Great Questions” we need to move off the solution and focus more on the person who we are speaking to. Great questions will give you a lot of information.
You would not believe the amount of times that I have walked into either a hotel reception or business premises and the person behind the desk is more focused on their current task than on me. Has that ever happened to you?
It takes between 4-7 seconds to make a first impression and there are so many people who don’t get it right. Not only is it important to acknowledge customers when they come into your premises, it’s also important to acknowledge what they say.
9. Make it memorable
How do you make sure that you stand out for the right reasons? There are countless businesses that are doing the same thing as you, and so what can you do that will help you to stand out from the competition?
When it comes to how people think and what they remember, we remember things that stand out that provide a “Wow” moment. These things do not have to be massively symbolic – if you simply remember a small detail about someone during a follow up meeting or call and ask them about it, then that will stand out.
I also know a law firm who during the customer journey they send them a Kit Kat with a simple message that says, “Take a break, have a Kit Kat, we are making good progress with your case!”
10. End on a high
We know that the start of any interaction is hugely important, but did you know that the end is just as vital for creating customer delight? You have to make sure that you provide a strong and positive lasting impression.
In his book, “Thinking fast and slow” Daniel Kahneman talks about something called the “Peak End Rule”. He says, “We judge our experiences entirely on how they were at their peak and how they ended”.
If you apply some of the other tips in this document then you will certainly create some great peaks during your customer journey. The final bookend of the experience is making sure that you end it on a high.
What are some of the things that you can do? Well, during the conversation a customer will share a lot of personal information with you, this is like “Gold dust” for your Peak End. I often hear people say, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” And, often as a Customer we are expecting it, and it can sometimes feel like just a tick box approach to customer service.
To read Gavin’s tips in full please visit https://palifeclub.co.uk/create-exceptional-customer-experiences/ or for more information please visit https://gavinscott.me.
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