Customer Cues: Adapt to These Customer Needs | #CX #CustServ

To deliver great customer service and customer experience, pick up on customer customer cues and adapt to customer needs. Customer cues are the messages that customers give you through their tone of voice, body language, pace of speech, and responses to your questions.

Too often customer service agents try to create one way of interacting with customers. It feels easier. Yet it can be disastrous. People are different and have different needs. Watch for the following customer cues and adapt to these customer needs.



Customer Cues: Image is an ear trumpet near an ear.

Customer Cues: Adapt to These Customer Needs. Image by Jim Linwood via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Jim Linwood via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Customer Cues: Adapt to These Customer Needs

A True Story

Can you imagine a patient, expressive, caring customer service professional delivering bad service and a frustrating customer experience? Most people would say no. Yet the one word missing from the glowing adjectives is adaptable.

I was in the returns line in a clothing store. It wasn’t moving very fast. The customer service clerk working with the customer was pleasant, patient, expressive, etc… Yet she was chatty and the customer wasn’t. She asked the customer, “How is your day going?” And as she talked to the customer, she stopped working on the customer’s return. The customer replied, “busy.” And what did the customer service clerk do? Did she pick up on the cue and finish the customer’s return? NO!

She said to the customer, “Oh yes life is busy nowadays isn’t it? The customer gave no further reply. You could see how frustrated the customer was with the pace of the service. Lesson: Pick up on customer cues and adapt to customer needs to deliver great service.

Pick Up On & Adapt to These Customer Needs

  1. Urgency. This tops the list because when customers feel urgency and service agents don’t show it, the customer experience is maddening. Adapt to this customer need. Cut down on chatter and get busy to meet the customer request. Remember, some customers love chatter but other’s don’t.

  2. Physical space. In face-to-face service, remember that some people want more space between you and them. One of the most important customer cues is physical distance. If they back up or pull away, you are too close. Back up and adapt to their need for space.

  3. And These Needs Matter Too

  4. Empathy and attention. The need for empathy is especially true if your organization messed up the service already. The customer continues to complain while you begin to solve the problem. This is a cue. They want empathy for what they went through as well as attention to fixing it. Give them both.

  5. More details/less details. Some customers like all the details of the solution and some want few or none. Listen to how the customer reacts when you start with all the details. If they jump in and say that they just want it fixed, then cut down on the detailed explanation and get to the point.

  6. Understandable words. Almost every organization has jargon that the customers don’t understand. When you see or hear that the customer doesn’t understand what you are saying, check your jargon. Use common words instead. Don’t just repeat the jargon over and over. They won’t understand it any better the second or third time!




Customer Cues: Image is my quote "Adapt to Close the Gap"

Customer Cues: Adapt to These Customer Needs.



Customer Cues Summary

Each time you interact with a customer in sales or service, listen to their words and tone of voice. If you are highly expressive and they are matter-of-fact, don’t shove sugar down their throat. Likewise, if you are matter-of-fact and they want more interaction with you, adapt.



With practice, you will get very good at adapting to customer cues. Moreover, you will deliver outstanding customer service and customer experience each and every time.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Essential People Skills Mindset: Adapt to Close the Gap
Spot & Adapt Easily to These 4 Social Style Personality Types

©2020 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. 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 interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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