There are so many pieces of information and instruction guides on how to give good customer service but there is also a huge amount of learning in how to receive customer service:
because, if we understand how we can act in order to receive better treatment from other people we can also learn to give better treatment to other people!
So here goes:
- When in a tricky situation or facing a customer server who is not giving you great service, stop and consider: what is my own personal purpose in this situation?
- Now this sounds like a silly ‘manager speak’ type of question, but it is essential: are you there to have an argument to score points (assuming you’re not in the Monty Python sketch!), or are you there to have a good experience and move your life forward in as pleasant a way as possible?
- Because it’s essential to have this thought pattern, otherwise there is a huge risk of giving in to our basic tendencies and going ‘fight or flight’, whereby we either have an argument or storm out and complain behind the person or organisation’s back: and neither of those will make our day more pleasant, get us the results we want, or help the person who is not giving us a very good experience at the time: a true lose lose lose outcome.
- Remember your real needs and their real needs: all humans do what they do because of emotional drivers: we are all trying to make our lives easier or better, we all like positive attention, and we all like to find people we like and trust.
- The person who is messing up this current experience wants this as much as you do … they are a human being sharing this earth the same as you are, and it really isn’t too much to ask is it to treat them as such?
- It is also worth remembering at this stage that there is always a reason why people give bad service or are surly, angry, upset or difficult: that reason is probably not you, it is probably caused by something else in their life: they may have a difficult boss they may have had a difficult upbringing, they may have just a collection of negative mind sets, they may be untrained, they may have any sort of issue that you have absolutely no idea what it is: the one thing that is for certain is they are not (unless they are a psychopath) intentionally trying to make your life difficult. There is always a reason for their behaviour.
- So, when you’ve got a grip of yourself and thought through these two things, what do you do? And I would suggest is the best thing to do is to take some small positive action to become a catalyst for positive change: the best sort of positive action is asking a question. It’s really important to ask a great question and to do it in a bright kind friendly compassionate way. It’s amazing how by taking this small action and approach you can transform almost any situation into a positive one. Questions that have worked for me in the past have included one’s like:
- It looks like you’re having a really busy day is that the case?
- It looks like your job can be busy and stressful at times how do you cope with that?
- I’m sure you’re not trying to be rude, so shall we start again?
- It sounds like this is a very difficult thing for you, what can I do to help you help me?
So, you can see, it’s a statement of the obvious (said in a kind considerate and positive way but also stating a firm opinion that things are right or as they should be). Confirming that you are certain that they are not trying to do this on purpose, and then followed by a question like ‘what shall we do next?’
- Assess the outcomes. This type of action is quite hard to do, because we get hi-jacked by the reptilian part of our brain which makes us want to go ‘fight or flight’: we just want to shout and scream or run away. So, in order to help you get a grip of yourself (and, in case you haven’t realised it that is what this is all about) it’s a good idea to keep a note of where you’ve done this successful and to review that constantly.
- I find it general that people do not take enough positive notes of positive outcomes and end up focusing far too much on problems in life.
- The old rule applies: what you focus on expands……….so it would be a really good idea to try and focus more on good actions that you have taken that have produced good outcomes as a general rule, rather than give into this situation where you are being offered bad service and a bad experience and go fight or flight and let it ruin your day and dominate your conversation for the next few hours or days. Why choose to have a miserable day when you can transform both yours and someone else’s into a positive one with a few simple steps?
So there you have it, easier said than done, but I’m sure you will agree probably very worthwhile and very constructive in all circumstances. If you do this well the outcome will be a win win win:
- You’ll get a win because you will get better service and experience
- They will get a win because you will have been a catalyst for pleasure in their day
- And everybody will get a win because you will be able to do business with each other more efficiently and co-operatively.
Well, I would suggest the simplest point to take away from this is that giving customer service is just a mirror image of getting customer service: your customers will always be ignorant, difficult, demanding, and ignorant……but they will always be your customers: say you need to follow the same 4 steps.
- Step number 1 remember what you’re really there for
- Step number 2 remember they are not trying to make your life difficult: there is a reason for their behaviour and your job here is to turn it from a problem into an opportunity for both of you
- Step number 3 take a positive action based on getting a grip of yourself in step 1 or 2
- Step number 4 keep a note of positive actions and outcomes so you can spread good practice encourage yourself and generally develop yourself your team and your organisation in positive ways going forward.
Of course, that’s merely the bones, but I think it makes a great discussion point, so please forward this unto your friends and colleagues at work and get them to discuss these ideas with you or separately.
And if you would like further help in the form of free documents (including “The seven deadly sins of service and what to do about them”) or would like coaching or training on customer service and building sales through service, please do contact us.
Thank you very much for reading and we hope this has been helpful.