One Of The Good Ones

As customers we only want 3 fundamental things from any sales or customer service interaction with staff for us to feel good about the experience and to hopefully get what we want.

1) to be heard

2) to be understood

3) to be cared for

Within the first 30secs to a minute of any interaction, we very quickly form an opinion of the person who serves us based on their ability to demonstrate in words, body language and their actions that these three 3 things have occurred.

All of us prior to walking into a store or picking up the telephone, have at least slight apprehension about what may happen. We are influenced heavily by our desire to have things kept simple and for it to be easy to get our issue or need resolved… the first time.

The vast majority of our customer experiences are poor to average at best, so it is our previous experiences that automatically puts us psychologically on the back-foot. We hold our breath and cross our fingers, hoping for but not expecting to get “one of the good ones”. You know the type. They are attentive, confident and eager to help. They have a palpable energy and style and seem to naturally build rapport and just ‘get it’.

It is true that these type of staff do exist in most businesses, but we also know that they are in the minority for most companies. When we do find them, they trigger instant relief in us because we sense that this experience should be OK, somewhat better than expected and might actually be great.

So if you are on the frontline of sales or customer service for your company, the question you have to ask yourself is, are you “one of the good ones?”. Do you trigger relief in your customers at the start of your conversations and interactions, or does that apprehension remain (or grow worse) based on how you interact with them? If you didn’t quickly and confidently response ‘yes’ then guess what? You don’t, or at least, not as often as you should. If you have to think about it too much, then you already know the answer.

With this knowledge of a typical customer’s psychology, the aim therefore for any staff member at the start of their customer conversations is to focus on how quickly they can trigger relief in the customer. When anxiety or apprehension is removed, it is replaced by relief. Then the customer can relax and trust and confidence starts to build. Why does this matter? Because we buy from people we like and from people we trust. We not only buy their products and services, but we also buy their ideas, their advice and their recommendations.

Without trust you have nothing, because even if what you provide as service is correct and appropriate, doubts will remain with your customer and they’ll probably seek reassurance from other channels or other staff. This means rework and additional cost.

The question then arises around what are the techniques to learn and master that can trigger relief and establish the trust required as the foundation for success?

Stay tuned for a companion article coming soon that will reveal the practical steps that frontline staff (and their managers) can learn, practice and apply in their own style for customers to perceive them as “one of the good ones”.

cheers

Simon.

You can ask me any questions you may have about sales, service and all things customer experience on twitter via #cxconversations or contact me directly via simon.blair@fivedegrees.com.au