Stop Being so Nice
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Customer service tips when
people are stressed
admit it - when it comes to dealing with customers who are stressed,
are easier than others. A masseuse working in a resort spa will have
pleasant customers than a lost luggage agent at a busy
airport. If your customers are
sitting in a chair at
your hair salon, they’re likely to be more relaxed than if they were
an examination chair in a dental office.
That’s why so
many customer service training programs fall short of desired
results. Over the last decade
there’s been a dearth of
frontline training that focuses on enhancing customer
experience. The premise is that we are now in the
experience economy. Supposedly,
our goal as service providers is
to be friendly and upbeat. That way, we’ll apparently make it more than
a cup of coffee; now it’s an experience. Unfortunately,
What if your
customers are doing business with you more out of
necessity than desire?
if your customers are tired, rushed, or angry? When that’s the case,
perkiness is likely to be perceived as annoying.
That’s why, when I speak at conferences and do training programs for
encourage employees to go beyond friendliness to create
trust. Especially with customers
who are tired,
rushed or upset.
Little Miss Personality
Picture this… a
receptionist at a walk-in medical clinic greets new arrivals with a
upbeat, “Hi, how are you today?”
Obviously, people enter a clinic because something is
question forces the incoming patient to
reply in one of three ways: Option A) The patient essentially lies, and
responds with, “Fine.” In which case the customer gets the impression
receptionist must be blissfully ignorant of why people visit a clinic.
B) The patient responds tersely, “Not good!” Here, the receptionist
think she should look for a job where there aren’t so many cranky
Finally, Option C) The new arrival explains at length their medical
everything they’ve tried to alleviate their suffering.
That means the patient has to repeat their
story to the next health care provider - and the next.
Not much fun for the patient who was simply
answering a direct question.
perkiness is sometimes perceived as annoying.”
- the receptionist’s face shows genuine concern and compassion as the
approaches. She makes direct eye contact and gently says, “Good
Then she raises her eyebrows waiting for the patient to volunteer what
them in. Result? Less time, the
receptionist feels better
about her job and the customer gets the impression the receptionist is
to patient needs. Quite
when the employee focuses more on building trust than being perky.
time a young software specialist at a phone-in help-desk receives calls
customers with computer problems.
Attempting to be friendly and disarming, he addresses male
various points of the conversation as ‘buddy, ‘bro’, or ‘dude’.
problem with these overly familiar
terms is the customer who phones-in with a computer problem likely
about the software or the company that services it.
He’s frustrated. He does not want to be buds
with the people who have anything
to with the darn computer. He’s
like the systems rep is too casual and wonders if they are actually
The frustrated customer is now becoming annoyed.
- the help desk employee considers his role as being a Trusted
Advisor. He isn’t the customer’s pal.
Nor is he a mere minion in a huge faceless bureaucracy. Nor is
he the customer’s door mat. This
the computer specialist introduces himself at the beginning if the call
his first and last name. This implies that he considers himself to be a
professional, and he’s fine with being held accountable. He doesn’t use
familiar terms (buddy etc), nor does he use terms that are too formal;
like sir or m’ame. He
customers’ names when addressing them.
With this approach, the customer feels like he’s getting
service from an accountable professional. The customer gets respect and
it in return. He
feels better about the
company as a whole. And in turn the help desk rep deals with more civil
customers who genuinely appreciate his expertise. Everyone wins.
customer service is not always
about being friendly. It is always about creating
trust. The good
news is by adjusting a few words and phrases, you can generate
improvements in customer loyalty.
isn’t complicated. That’s why I call this approach, Influence
About the Author
is based on the bestselling book,
Influence with Ease®
customer service strategist and certified professional speaker Jeff
obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for
team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com
or call toll
free 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288).
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-02-07 14:40:20 in Marketing Articles