I thought about one of my favorite quotes the other morning.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou
You see, I had back to back meetings, and the first one ran a bit long.
As soon as the meeting ended, I ran to the valet. As I handed the attendant my ticket, I said with a kind yet stressful smile (emphasis added) “Thank you, I am really really in a big hurry”.
What would you do if you were the valet attendant? Here are some options.
- Say “Let me help ma’am” and then show a sense of urgency to retrieve the car
- Walk at a turtle pace
- Walk at your normal pace
That attendant does not know me so why should he care, right? Because he works in the service industry.
He chose to walk like a turtle, or he is an extremely slow walker. He did not communicate in any way one sign that he cared about what I just told him (and I can look pretty pathetic when I am begging).
He made me feel that my issues (and me) were insignificant.
How do you and your employees handle customers that need something quickly, or may appear upset or anxious? How we make people feel counts in most of life’s encounters, but it is a no brainer in any service industry. The truth is – no matter what he did – would have only saved me a minute or two, but I’m sure you have figured out that’s not the point.
The point is to do SOMETHING to assure the customer that 1) you understand, and, 2) you will do your best to help. I believe this to be the 2nd most important rule in Customer Service, and so easy most of the time.
Often employees simply don’t know what they don’t know about being a great service provider. “People do the best with what they know, and when they know more they do better.” Another great Maya Angelou quote.
Teach everyone on your team that how they make people feel DOES count. Only then can you expect them to ‘do better.’ Once better understood, the service worker then has a choice. If they choose not to ‘do better’ help them get a job with your strongest competitor!
Also, look at your own agreements, processes, policies and procedures. Personally, I struggled with my own consulting contract agreement. I understand that companies need to protect themselves. I have seen so many people sue for no good reason. The cost of litigation alone can devastate a company. I suppose there is nothing you can do about the harshness of the language, right? Regardless of how non-committal legal language makes your customers feel, business IS business, right?
I know that I care. I know that I will always do the right thing, and I know that anyone I do or have worked for will confirm that. But if my prospective customers don’t know that, they just might feel like I did when trying to get my car from that valet. That’s right; they might feel that I could care less about them, their needs and protecting them! That problem needed to be solved. I knew that as a customer service expert I had to find a solution for both my clients and my company!
So, what to do? Try! Sometimes you will arrive at brilliant ideas if you just stop, listen to your gut, consider all the parties and try. Parone Group philosophy is that if we take our most difficult decisions, and reframe them to consider the three critical parties (our customers, our employees and of course our company) we have a better chance of finding winning solutions.
I have now also added a Brand Promise & Guarantee. Yes, I still have an agreement but I also have provided assurance and a fix if my customers are not happy with my service.
You’ll be more likely to win and enjoy return business from your customers if you can make them feel valued. Both customer service and the entire customer experience is critical to building long-term relationships that get and keep your employees and clients coming back.
Oh and PS: Did I leave you wondering what the #1 Customer Service Rule is? Trusting Relationships! Customers that know without a doubt that you will do the right thing, and always be up front and honest even (especially) when the stakes are high. Stay tuned for more blogs on tips for high-value service.
Parone Group is a support system for executives and their teams. From creating superior service and a high-value culture to connecting you to resources for various business needs, we partner with you to determine very precisely what you want and need vs. what you have.
Next, we identify and walk you through the processes, tools, and resources required to pull it all together and work with you as much or little as you need or request.
Consider Parone Group your one stop shop. We save valuable time and provide the solutions, resources, and support that help maximize performance & profitability.
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