I’m sure you’ve heard the classic golden rule of “treat others how you want to be treated.” The problem is we are all our own unique creatures, and as individuals, we have different ways we like to be treated. Just because you like to be treated one way doesn’t mean your customer will appreciate being treated in that manner.
I have a friend who is a quick thinking, direct, and to the point type of person, and he likes to have his problem solved with just the necessary details and, most importantly, the solution. No chitchat. No pleasantries. Just get it done and let him be on his way.
On the other hand, another friend is the type of person who likes a little chitchat. He likes to feel the person cares about his problem and truly wants to help him. Even if it takes a little more time, he is going to be a happy customer only if the customer service representative takes the time to listen and solves his problem while taking the time to get to know him a little bit. He wants to hang up the phone thinking “Wow. That person really cared about me and my problem.”
When a customer service professional is like my first friend and the customer is like the second, often times, even if the problem is solved, a customer satisfaction survey may come across with poor scores.
In order to treat people like they want to be treated, you have to work a little harder and go the extra mile to quickly figure out what type of service they want.
Here are a few tips on how you can treat others the way they want to be treated:
- Use their name. This really applies to customer service in general. Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” When you use a person’s name, it get’s their attention. Consciously and subconsciously, it makes them feel good.
- Pay attention to how fast or slow they talk and match it. If you are a fast talker and your customer is more laid back and speaks much slower, you will overwhelm and frustrate them quickly. On the flip side if you talk slow and your talking to some one who is very fast paced, you will also cause frustration. Learn to speed up or slow down according to your customer.
- Listen to your customer. Use phrases like “Just to make sure I heard you correctly…” or “Thank you for that information. Just to make sure I have it right…” and paraphrase back what they have told you.
- Take notes, especially if you are talking to someone who is direct and wants to get in and out. They will get frustrated to have to repeat themselves. Take good notes as they are giving you information and verify when necessary. No matter what type of customer you are talking to, being able to repeat back and verify info with them that they have already given you will improve their experience.
- Be kind. While this seems obvious, I have spoken to many customer service people who were very transactional and sometimes down right rude. I assure you this will lead to poor survey scores! The phrase “kill them with kindness” works great when you have that testy person on the phone or in front of you that has already decided you can’t help them. Take ownership of caring about them and their problem, be kind, and do everything you can to help them.
Treating others the way they want to be treated may sound like an obvious way of providing customer service. However, in this day and age, it simply doesn’t always happen. It’s up to you as a customer service professional to provide the service that particular customer needs and wants, knowing that the next customer you talk to may have very different wants and needs.
As a leader, it’s up to you to teach your team how to deal with different types of customers to ensure they are going above and beyond to give a fantastic customer experience.
Treating customers the way they want to be treated directly impacts the customer experience and your bottom line. I will leave you with a couple statistics from Zendesk:
- There are 85% of people who would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience.
- There are 82% of people who have stopped doing business with a company due to bad customer service.
When you treat people the way they want to be treated, you will enjoy higher customer satisfaction, stickier customers, and increased revenue.