Sales & Customer Service Success: “Get” Your Customers
by Kate Nasser |
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