The first step is recognising tendencies toward bad customer service. But how do businesses improve their overall customer service?
Like what you do
“If you don’t love what you do, get the heck out,”. “If you love what you do, it will be evident and people will know it.”
People who have a bad attitude about what they do will reflect their attitude onto everyone around them, including customers. Like most everything in life, good customer service always comes back to attitude. “
If you believe your customers are a pain in the butt, guess what — you’re right,”. “What you say, what you do, and what you think are the same thing.”
Learn to adjust your perception
Because good customer service depends on a good attitude, a bad attitude will surely diminish any facade of friendliness. Waller recommends that employees analyze what is causing their negative outlook and make a conscious effort to change, rather than cover it up with a false smile.
“How do you change a belief of certainty?”. “You take out references and change it. Over time, it changes that belief system.”
Customers will do business with people they like. Employees gain this approval by establishing rapport, or a positive connection, with a customer. Rapport can be established by simple gestures such as calling a customer by their name, recognizing mutual interests, asking questions, and making eye contact. The customer instantly recognizes the employee as someone who cares about their well-being, and is more likely to do business with the company.
“Won’t you spend more money to go to a car dealership where you’ve been treated well?”. “Develop a genuine interest in and admiration for your customers.” So what happens when an employee doesn’t establish rapport? The customer automatically meets that employee with more suspicion, which leads to distrust, which leads to potential conflict.
Avoid a standoff
Many times businesses find themselves locked in an argument with a complaining customer that becomes impossible to resolve. Tthe way to prevent this is to avoid the argument in the first place. His advice is to step back, analyze where the customer is coming from, and form a solution from their standpoint, not yours.
“I never fought with them,”. “In fact, I went into a dance with them. You’ve got to dance with them. You have the empathize, and get into their world.”
Be reliable, be responsive and be credible
Local cable and utility companies are a prime example businesses that do not possess these qualities. When a customer calls up in need of service, they give vague ideas of when they’ll be there (“sometime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.”), sometimes don’t show up at all, and are generally indifferent to customers’ concerns. Because of this behavior, they have lost nearly all credibility in the public eye.
On the other hand, businesses such as Mercedes-Benz, Ritz Carlton Hotels, and Disneyland have all gained reputations for immaculate customer service, where employees are always nearby to cater to customers’ every need at any time. These businesses gained this reputation with years of training their employees to put the customer first.
The customer’s perception is everything,”. “People pay for peace of mind. They want security, integrity, and the assurance that if there is a problem, it will be promptly handled.”
All of these tips come down to the platinum rule, or to “treat people like they want to be treated.” This rule takes the Golden Rule a step higher, forcing the employee to assess exactly what the customer wants and act accordingly, not just act as they would want to act in the same situation.
“You can’t reach everyone the same way,” he said. “You don’t deal with reality. Nobody does. We deal with our perception of reality.”
Any attitude in good customer service fits in the “as if” clause. Always act “as if” you are the only personal contact that the customer has with the business, and behave “as if” the entire reputation of the business depends on you.
“The ‘as if’ clause puts you where you need to be,”. “The bottom line comes down to relationships and how you treat others.”