Sales & Customer Service Success: “Get” Your Customers
by Kate Nasser | 7 Comments »
As companies try to standardize customer service, customers continue to want just the opposite. Customers are most comfortable when the sales team, contact center, customer service center, customer care team, or technical support department truly understands them (i.e. “gets them”)!
Think about it. When you meet someone with whom you share similar mores, accents, cultural beliefs, and outlook, how do you feel? Happier? More trusting? Drawn to them? Witness BP’s action this week to install an American CEO to deal with the crisis in the Gulf. Already we hear comments from the Gulf: “An American in the Gulf intimately understands the real needs of Gulf residents.” Frequently, I am asked to teach customer service/sales to Canadian companies with a large number of American customers. Who better to teach them how to succeed with Americans than an American?
Comfort and Trust in Similarity
Pundits and critics will debate whether this desire for similarity is good or bad. Admittedly, when taken to extremes it can lead to groupthink, discrimination, and plagues like racism. In moderation, it is a positive human desire for bonding and connection. For sales and customer service, showing your customers that you truly understand them produces positive results. Why? It reduces fear, builds trust, and makes interaction much easier. This is a key component. From the customer’s perspective, less to explain means less chance for misunderstanding.
“Get Me” Don’t “Imitate Me”
I am not speaking about the weird attempts of some off-shored call centers to bond with American customers by giving the reps Americanized names. It was laughable because the strong difference in accents made the names sound very fake. Rather contact call centers, customer care teams, customer service centers, technical support departments and sales teams with a true understanding of intercultural differences win big.
For example, here in the USA there are vast regional differences across the nation that impact customers’ buying decisions and their expectations in customer service. Even American based sales and service teams need to learn the regional differences to win over American customers that are from other regions of the USA.
Resources for Intercultural Learning
If you truly want customer loyalty for sales and service, show your customers you “get them”.
- You can build intercultural awareness by exposing your reps and sales force to social media streams.
- With rare exceptions, the Internet puts worldwide news events at your disposal for learning cultural perspectives and preferences.
- Provide intercultural training on that specific country or region. Communicaid Group Ltd and other firms deliver country specific cultural learning for your sales and service success.
- If you are doing business with Americans, learn the regional differences in the USA with the DVD “Customer Service USA – What They Expect Coast to Coast & Everywhere in Between”. (Click for preview.)
How else have you learned about cultural differences to show your customers that you “get them”?
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, teaches, consults, speaks, and coaches, on bridging the gap of diversity for success in customer service, teamwork, sales, and leadership. See additional footage about personality differences on this site Http://Katenasser.com
Very well put as always.
I also like Dan’s comment above that, in order to ‘get’ someone, that doesn’t mean you have to be the same kind of person.
Since every customer is different, maybe an avenue for further research might be training courses to enable customer service people to ‘get’ their customers. This might involve listening to how they speak for attitudes, finding out where customers come from, what they do, how old they are etc.
Best wishes and keep up the great work as always.
Agree completely with your idea Liam — in fact my customer care and teamwork workshops do exactly that. It’s all about bridging the gap of diversity with sincere commitment to making things work.
Thanks for your contribution!
Hi Kate :),
What can I say.., when I meet new different people, first I make an analyze of them having a natural behavior. After that , I speak “their language”. Not imitate them but being close to them. Listen and enjoy discovering new personalities around me.
***Smiling and being sincerely interested on the each person with whom you interact!
All the best!
What a timely post. With so much diversity in the workplace, it is becoming a requirement for many employees to truly “get” the other. What I have noticed while taking courses at my University is to appreciate others for who they are. This is a skill that requires practice and patience. Appreciating others for who they are, their unique abilities, and their true authentic self will allow you to embrace differences. It’s time to leave the ethnocentrism behind.
You have done it again. Wonderful post.
Exactly Brock — for teamwork it’s about appreciating others for who they are and mixing that blend for progress toward the goal and best results in the end. In customer service, it’s about appreciating everything about your customer and adapting to it.
Many thanks for your contribution.
Hello Kate! Loved this post. “Getting” people is a key in both life and business. Empowering people to feel good in their own skin is so important. Look forward to reading more insight from your end. Delighted to be connected with you.
Thank you, Meghan
Good to bring this up and put it in writing….too many people continue to avoid the issue. They get lost in their world and fail to explore/learn about the rest of the world. Anyone who has traveled in the US extensively willl quickly agree the regions and culture are different.
Time to view every customers as individuals with different needs. How do we handle that? Keep asking questions–make the person feel significant or important.