I’m all about reducing the number of clicks to access information electronically – that’s why I choose “e” for bank balances, weather forecasts, sports updates and more. However, as much as I might not want to admit it, nothing beats one-on-one service delivered sincerely, swiftly and with a smile.
If your business is like many in today’s world, there needs to be a blend of electronic and personal communication. Anyone can get basic information with the click of a button, what they can’t always get is information that is tailored to fit their needs. If a customer foregoes the “e” route and decide to pick up the phone, you need to be ready to deliver on this expectation.
The best rule of thumb is to make sure your procedures mirror a contemporary set of proven personal communication skills. You can start by checking your customer service standards. Have you made sure you’re keeping your processes up to date? Are you asking your clients relevant questions and developing a rapport?
Here are some examples of communications that have not been updated.
Buying windshield wipers at an auto parts store:
“Hi, I need wipers for my car.”
“OK – What make, model? What year? What engine? – I have several for you to choose from…the cheapest is…”
I don’t think many people walk in to a store and say, “I’m serial number Chrysler 124785GR, and by the way, I really want to put the cheapest wipers on my minivan right before I take my family on vacation.”
Making lodging reservations for my family vacation:
“Hello, I’d like to make a reservation.”
“What’s your frequent stay number?”
“I don’t know.”
“That’s okay, what’s your zip code?”
I want to say, “I am not a number, I have a name!”
What ever happened to, “Welcome, I can help you – we will get you exactly what you need.”
Here is a good 4 step guideline when reviewing your customer communication processes:
- Did we form a relationship, personalize and develop trust?
- Did we become an expert in what the customer really needs to be successful? (If you did, now you can ask for the numbers!)
- Have we offered a solution using the appropriate delivery method and key information the customer needs to be successful?
- Do you know where you stand at the end of the interaction?
Truth be told, numbers are important for speed and accuracy – just don’t forget to make the most of the many opportunities you have to make or renew relationships with your most precious asset; your customer.