Customer experience – beyond authenticity

We’ve looked at the need for authenticity in our previous article: http://www.fmonline.co.uk/article/article/customer-experience-authenticity/.

Here we look at the other qualities that make the mix for great customer service.

“We were born with one mouth and two ears for a reason.” This is the age-old adage used in many a context but true to core for a good customer service representative.

A customer wants to feel like they are more than a distraction to someone, they want to feel valued, respected, cared for and dare we say it ‘feel loved’.

Remove the stereotypical requirements of men and women in relationships and look at the constants, think about every time you hear a friend, relative or even your partner complaining about a relationship – the most common complaint is often that they never listen. This is also true of customer complaints. Regardless of the type of business or area of commerce, customers who experience a bad journey will often say they feel like they haven’t been listened to.

How do you show you’re listening? There are these little gems called “Verbal Nods”; that’s things like your uh-huh’s and your yes’s – these are great when you’re dealing with a customer on the phone. Face to face you have your nods and these are literally what they say they are; a head nod, a facial expression or simply maintaining eye contact. All of these let the customer know they have your entire focus, you’re listening to them, and you are there to help them.

Many projects fail because we do too much talking and not enough listening. It’s vital for anyone dealing with customers to use their ears and mouth – we have two ears for a reason. We need to listen more, talk less

This brings us nicely to the next key attribute – the ability to talk.

Talking is one of a few methods that we use to communicate and one that we must get right. Many companies now train people how to talk to their customers, they look at areas such as pace, pitch and tone, and the great old “No Jargon” or “Plain English” approach.

But let’s go back to basics. Why do you talk to someone? Well it’s simple; you’re trying to deliver a message. How you talk to someone is the driver behind how the conversation will go and someone who has a great talking style will be able to control a conversation just by their pace, pitch and tone with content coming as a secondary.

Talk too fast and you come across as impatient and inconvenienced, you can end up making the customer/client feel like a burden. Talk too slow and you come across bored and disinterested, the customer will soon become disengaged and as a result the relationship is likely to be harmed. Talk with too high a pitch and most will be irritated by it, talk with too low a pitch…well President Obama, who talks with a relatively low pitch, was recently voted as having the most attractive voice by women! Tone is what indicates your stance, and this is the biggest of all three that will steer the conversation. This is also the part of vocal communication your brain listens to intently as a primal instinct is to detect if someone is a friend or foe and aside from body language, what they say and how they say it is the secondary indicator.

Having the skills and the understanding of how we process conversation is something as facilities professionals we need to think about and help our teams understand. It will help our teams think about what they need to do to make sure the customer journey works, whether customers are employees, clients/customers or guests, and it will give us a good platform to create great customer service. All we need to know on top of this is how the business wants to treat employees and customers – and this goes back to the values and culture of the organisation.

Jane Streat, Head of Client Services at Lexington Reception Services

Find out more about Lexington by viewing their company profile, here.



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