Customer Service – Making it Work – In Person and Virtually

It’s a proven fact, that a happy, satisfied customer gives referrals and stays loyal. Making customer service part of your day, both in person and virtually is a systematic process that provides measurable results.

Here are a few “tricks of the trade” that could be considered. A face to face meeting requires body language that is open and welcoming, try using words and tone that reflect what the customer wants to hear. If you’re not able to meet face to face, recognize it’s still your job to keep the customer happy. Keep a mirror near your phone and start each conversation with a smile in that mirror – it will be reflected in your voice. If you need to communicate in writing, use words like, “I understand” – that lets the customer know you care. Share the positive relationship you have with the customer first; then move on to the problem and possible solution.  Always tell your customer what you CAN do for them. Don’t begin your conversation by telling them what you CAN’T do. Allow irate customers to vent. Do not interrupt them or start to speak until they have finished having their say. Diffuse their anger by saying “I’m sorry or “I apologize.” Use your customer’s name often during your conversation.

I was facilitating an event this past week and I used the term “Servant Leadership” in my presentation. I believe that this philosophy actually reflects on the importance of good customer service.

Servant leadership is a set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

Listening:

  • Traditionally requires good communication skills as well as the competence to make decisions
  • Motivated to listen actively to their customers and to their peers
  • Pays attention to what remains unspoken
  • Rely on their inner voice in order to find out what the customer requires

Empathy:

  • Understands and empathizes with clients and customers
  • Assures everyone benefits from respect and appreciation
  • Seen as a special type of leader, which generates a competitive advantage for the company they represent

Awareness:

  • Generates awareness for circumstances that need a more integrated, holistic approach
  • Relates to customers with a better understanding of ethics and values

Persuasion:

  • Doesn’t take advantage of position to coerce compliance; convinces the customer they have a solution that works

Conceptualization:

  • Thinks beyond today; has the ability to see beyond the limits of the customer service role

 Foresight:

  • Has the ability to foresee the likely outcome of a situation
  • Enables the achievement of a better understanding of current circumstances
  • Helps identify and use what been learned in the future

Stewardship:

  • CEOs, staff and trustees have the task of holding their organization in trust for the greater good of society
  • Seen as an extension of that stewardship, with a role to serve others with openness and persuasion.

Commitment to the growth:

  • Recognizes that people have an intrinsic value beyond contributions as customers and clients
  • Nurtures personal and professional growth of the team
  • Encourage ideas from everyone in the organization
  • Recognizes winning relationships within the organization are reflected outward

Building community:

  • Identifies the importance of building a strong community within the organization for peers and customers

This philosophy has been expressed in many ways and has been applied in many contexts. Some of the most well-known advocates of the philosophy include Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey and M. Scott Peck,

Learn more about Servant Leadership as it relates to Customer Service, watch this video.

messer_donnaDonna Messer a Networking & Social Media Expert and the Ultimate Authority on Building Relationships to Produce Measurable Results. She will also be leading an afternoon workshop at NLOWE’s 2013 Annual Conference entitled, “Customer Service – Making it Work – in Person and Virtually.”  You can “Like” Donna on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, connect with her on Linkedin, follow her Blog, or check out her website.

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