Customer Service: Turn Sudden Relationships into Bonds | #custserv #cx
by Kate Nasser | 5 Comments »
Customer Service: Turn Sudden Relationships Into Bonds w/ 8 People Skills Steps
Customer service in most cases is a case of sudden relationship between the customer and the customer service rep. Often it is a startling sudden relationship in tough moments. Compare this to the advantages of longer term relationships in account based sales. This comparison sheds light on the challenges that customer service reps and technical support analysts face on every contact.
Customer Service: Challenges of Sudden Relationships
- No previous or existing rapport for the interaction
- Little or no prior knowledge of expectations
- No history of results to establish respect
- Little trust or confidence to smooth the way
Longer term relationships develop and enjoy:
- Understanding developed from observing people’s patterns of behavior
- History of results that develop a working comfort between account reps and customers
- Events over time that build openness, respect, and trust
Because the sudden relationships of customer service lack the longer term bonds of understanding and trust, the customer service reps, agents, and technical support analysts must quickly adapt to each customer.
They are developing a relationship, solving a problem, and building trust all at the same time. They cannot blurt out whatever they want to say. It is too startling to customers.
Instead, the best customer service reps and technical support analysts turn sudden relationships into bonds.
Here are the 8 people skills steps they take:
- Greet courteously with the respect of formality and the sincerity of some informality.
- Create quick connection by spotting the customer’s personality type and adapting to it.
- Capture attention by detecting the customer’s listening style and using it.
- Make it easy to communicate by using the customer’s jargon and language.
- Close the gap by paraphrasing the customer’s perspective.
- Smooth the emotion by caring without taking anger personally.
- Show urgency appropriate to the situation.
- Deliver help and solutions.
Customer service reps and technical support reps can turn sudden relationships with customers into bonds of satisfaction, loyalty, and referrals when they make the moment easy, productive, and memorable. Great people skills empower them to do just that.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
RELATED VIDEO: Learn How to Spot & Adapt to Personality Types w/ Kate Nasser
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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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excellent! TSR’s often only hear from customers when there are issues (and shorten tempers) and this serves as an excellent reminder to us to re-enforce the “basics”
Keep up the great work!
Isn’t it the truth Skip. It’s great to create and keep the bonds when there are no problems!
Thanks for your perspective.
Thinking back on my best customer service interactions, they fit the 8 people-skills you list above. When it’s easy to talk to the person on the phone, it’s amazing how better customer service is. I think you definitely hit the nail on the head in that one of the big difficulties in customer support is to connect with customers in such a short time. It definitely takes skill, practice, and patience to get it right.
However, it seems CSR’s confuse building a bond, with building a friendship. The person builds the bond which lives with the brand.
CSR’s need to accept that sometimes, that deep bond (in the moment) is all it can ever be, but that doesn’t make it any less important. The CSR ‘is’ the Brand, so they are still building a bond for their Brand…. and ultimately, that’s who the customer came to build a relationship with.
It’s probably the reason it’s so tough for some CSR’s. They think their fleeting interaction is inconsequential, but it’s not.
I went on to write a post about it and referenced your article http://servicewithpurpose.squarespace.com/blog/2011/8/30/building-a-bond-not-a-friendship-9-steps-to-better-customer.html