By P Chong Monday, 25 January 2010
“How may I help you?” sounds so beautiful when you are greeted also with a smile each time you step into an establishment. But these days such greetings are hardly any. You are often left to your own devices or be confronted on the phone with a voice with impersonal instructions, often confusing as to what numbered button to press. As a shopper, customer or client, you are but a statistical digit.
When I was managing a fledging life insurance agency district in the 1970s, I had always insisted on “qualitative & quantitative” service. This made us apart from our bigger competitors . . . and that difference showed and the difference grew! Customer service, as with most large enterprises, department stores & others, is often deemed as a separate department. It is not. It is an attitude!
This indeed is a verified truism. It’s attitude more than aptitude that scales the altitude. As much as we try to complicate what great service is . . . it’s really very simple. Only fools like to complicate matter in order to justify their failure in its observation. Another favourite of mine is “Simplicity Sells . . . Complexity Repels”. All that is needed is to give more than what the customer expects. It sounds simple but not easy to execute. Thererin lies the big difference.
Today, I’d like to share the 10 phrases taken from “Walk the Talk” as an illuminating illustration of how uncomplicated it is to make customers feel loved. People don’t care how much you know, (or what you sell, or what type of service you provide) until they know how much you care!
The 10 most important words:
“I apologise for our mistake. Let me make it right.” When something goes wrong, most people merely want to be heard and acknowledged. So listen, apologise, then ask what you can do to make it right.
The 9 most important words:
“Thank you for your business. Please come back again.” Repeat customers cost less than new customers and are often more loyal.
The 8 most important words:
“I’m not sure, but I will find out.” It’s ok if you don’t know the answer; it’s not ok to make the customer keep searching for it. That’s your job.
The 7 most important words:
“What else can I do for you?” Be prepared to go the extra mile, there is less competition there.
The 6 most important words:
“What is most convenient for you?” Your customers will be pleasantly surprised when you ask what’s convenient for them.
The 5 most important words:
“How may I serve you?” This question reinforces your role in the relationship. Play that role the best you can.
The 4 most important words:
“How did we do?” Feedback is critical! Your customers have a unique perspective and they appreciate being asked.
The 3 most important words:
“Glad you’re here!” Customers who feel welcome spend more time, more money and are more likely to return.
The 2 most important words:
“Thank you.” Basic manners… but how often do you get thanked when you’re the customer?
The MOST important word:
“Yes.” Become a yes person.