Customer Care: A Harmless Harmful Response
by Kate Nasser |
I frequently write about certain words or responses that can ruin an interaction or quickly destroy the quality of the customer care you provide. In this post, I address the seemingly harmless yet harmful practice of telling a customer where you’d rather be.
The Brief Story
A heating repair technician visits a customer for a yearly preventive furnace cleaning. When the technician is done, the customer pays him and says “Have a nice day.” The technician’s response: “It’s never a nice day when I have to work. I’d rather be fishing.”
On the surface, we might think it’s a very harmless response expressing a shared human desire to be relaxing instead of working. We tell ourselves that even customers would say this.
When we step back and let it echo in our ears, it rings out as an emotionally unintelligent response that tells the customers we don’t care! Customers do business with those that show them interest, care, and skill. They do business with those they like and trust.
As leaders we most likely wouldn’t hire people who stated they would rather be doing something other than interviewing with us. Why would the customers embrace and be loyal to a company whose employees didn’t want to work with them?
Other Harmless Harmful Responses
What Do You Think of These?
You’re a good customer. We have many who complain.
Oh he doesn’t know anything; he’s a trainee (referring to a colleague).
It’s too bad you weren’t here yesterday. We had a sale.
My office manager IS in the office. She’s just avoiding the phone.
From Harmful to Harmonious
What if we captured every moment of connection as a loyalty builder? The human spirit is drawn to be with those who show great interest in connecting and delivering on their needs. Trust builds from those repeated care-filled moments.
In order of the the examples above, turn harmful replies into harmonious bonds:
- It’s great to see you. Your furnace is all set for the winter. Call if you need us. You have a great day too.
- We are thrilled that you like our service. Please let us know your feedback on anything so we can continue to meet your needs.
- I am training my colleague so we will be even stronger as a team.
- Would you like to receive alerts on our next sale?
- Very sorry you couldn’t get through to us. I am very happy to assist you. What can I do for you?
Let’s imagine and capture the tremendous power of saying: “I love my work and am very happy to be speaking with you.” I have had customers at different times say to me: “Wow you must have had terrible stress getting here in this bad weather. I bet you wish you were home.” My answer was, is, and always will be: The best part is being here with you.
Every moment with our customers is a moment of loyalty building care — whether they are happy at the start or not. We must invite them to a banquet of excellent service and care with every word we speak.
From the heart never fails. Our professional people-skills keep the doors of customer care filled with current and new customers who value that big difference between us and those who would rather be fishing!
Question: Is there another harmless harmful response that you would add to this list and replace with something better?
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.