Here are three things you (and your team) can do today to improve the customer service in your business. They don’t cost any money, they don’t take much time, and you already have all the resources you need to do them.
1. Ask more questions.
The more you encourage your customers to talk about themselves, the happier they will be. Ask more questions by being curious during client conversations and sending regular customer surveys to ask for their feedback. End each interaction by asking them how satisfied they are with the experience.
If you have spoken with a call center in the past decade, you’ve heard them end the call by asking, “Was I able to help with everything you needed today?” They are giving you a chance to talk about whether or not your needs were met. And the research shows that whether or not your needs were fully met doesn’t matter (much). Just the nature of their asking and you talking about yourself will have a positive impact on your experience.
Harvard researchers used fMRI machines to discover that the areas of the brain activated when participants were asked to talk about themselves are “generally associated with reward, and have been linked to the pleasurable feelings and motivational states associated with stimuli such as sex, cocaine, and good food.”
“Disclosing private information to others can increase interpersonal liking and aid in the formation of new social bonds—outcomes that influence everything from physical survival to subjective happiness.” (source)
In short, it feels good to talk about ourselves, it increases our ability to connect with others, and it can even affect our overall happiness.
2. Make it personal.
Many of us have been conditioned while at work to keep it professional. As a result, our work cultures often discourage vulnerability, authenticity, and fun.
Professionalism has its place. It’s great for establishing oneself as an expert. It’s a great reminder to avoid making your personal problems your customer’s problems. And professionalism is a fine mindset for ensuring your customer’s needs are being considered at all times.
Beyond that, being professional is overrated. It’s a barrier to everything that connects us with our clients.
People want to do business with people, not robots (well…yet). If we expect people to know us, like us, trust us, and buy stuff from us we have to share our authentic selves. Conversely, customers in a high-touch service business want you to really know them.
So, start by getting personal with your customers. Ask them about parts of their lives you don’t know about. Share stories about yourself that give them insight into what motivates and inspires you. Make it personal on your social media by sharing stories of your team and your customers that go beyond the superficial.
Turn off your work persona, get real with your customers, and have some gosh darn fun!
3. Be responsive.
The average attention span of humans is short and getting shorter. Experts disagree on the exact amount of time, but it’s in the range of seconds, not minutes, that humans can stay focused on a specific task. Honestly, we’re not much better than goldfish.
Combine our short attention spans with the immediate gratification culture energized by social media and the expectations of responsive communication are extraordinary.
There are countless ways your business can improve its responsiveness to customer communications (stay tuned for a future blog article on the topic), but here is a great place to start today.
Respond to all customer contact in 24 hours or less. Challenge yourself (and your team) to never leave an email, or voicemail, or tweet, or Facebook post, or Yelp review unanswered for more than 24 hours. If that’s a lofty challenge for you, think of it like a goal. See how responsive you can be.
If you are already nailing it in this department, try to step up your game. Can you do 12 hours or less?
What are the customer service challenges in you business?
How do you engage your customers in a way that builds better relationships?
Leave your thoughts below or email me directly, michael(at)markfisherfitness.com.