Today I thought  I would like to talk about Customer Service.

How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer?  What, to you, is a new customer – a one off or someone who then comes back to you again and again?

How much would it cost you to retain that new customer?

Would having a happy customer be good for your business?

Would you like a happy customer refer other customers to you?  Is this something you would value?

Imagine the consequences if you treated your friends and family like you treat your customers – what could happen, what would happen and what currently happens?

What is a customer to you?  What is a happy customer?

Once upon a time everyone who had a phone in Australia was a customer of what is now Telstra – there was no opposition.  How much attention do you think Telstra gave those customers?  After all, where else were they going to go?

Now there is a lot more competition in the telecommunication industry.  What do you think Telstra has to offer that sets them apart from the others?  What do they offer to attract their customers?  From my observations, it seems they have greater coverage and, in some cases, more sophisticated technology.  Is this what attracts customers to their door?  When the competition acquires the same bells and whistles, what then?

So what is “customer service”?  To me, customer service is meeting the customers’ needs.  Excellent customer service is meeting and exceeding those customers’ needs.

And how do we do that and at the same time maintaining our sanity?

Well, let’s find out what the customer wants and what are his needs.  Let’s ask him – and listen, I mean really listen to what he says.  It may be that we are not able to meet those needs and wouldn’t it be easier to let him know up front and then we could both go about our business, or perhaps we know someone else who may be able to assist.

How many times have you asked someone what they wanted and they told you what they don’t want?  Great, but they haven’t answered the question.

Many people are so entrenched with the negative, they don’t get the value of having a positive mindset.  There are also the “Moving Away From” people and the “Moving Toward” people.  So the Moving Away From people tell you what they don’t want and the Moving Toward people tell you what they do want.

It’s always possible the person who told you what he doesn’t want has only ever focussed on what he doesn’t want and may not really know what he does want.  Maybe you need to rephrase the question.  At least now you know this could be a Moving Away From person.

Perhaps you could say, well, Fred, if you didn’t have (whatever he said he didn’t want), what would you have, what would that give you?

Of course the Moving Toward person is comparatively easier – he just tells you.

Then what?  You might need to give some consideration to what he said and work out how you can serve his needs.

And where do you start?

Most people like to be acknowledged.  It feels nice, it leaves them with a feeling that they count, like they are valued.  When someone refers to you by name, they have obviously remembered you.  When they ask you another conversational question, it confirms they value you and remember your situation.  Give it a go and see what happens when you extend that courtesy to someone.

My sister used to have a pharmacy and part of her staff training included greeting people when they came in the door and asking how they could help the customer.  This one little step set her apart from the other pharmacies in that town and she did very well.  It was all because she showed the customers she cared.

Listening to what the customer tells you is something we can all work on.  Listening to how the customer processes his world and then reflecting it back to him shows you understand, you are like him and people like people who are like them.  Get to know the customer’s world and then respect that world.  This will often mean setting your own stuff aside and opening your mind to possibilities.

So what if you did set your judgements aside, what if you asked a few questions to really understand where the customer was coming from and then really followed through with your promises – what could happen, what would happen?

You might remember we talked earlier about the Principles for Success and the need to be specific about your desired outcome.   If you are not sure what the customer wants or needs (or he is not sure about what he actually wants or needs) you may have to coach him a little to find out so you can then serve his needs.

Communicating effectively is one of the most powerful things a leader can do – it promotes trust and can be extremely rewarding.

Call me to arrange an appointment to take your results to the next level and remember every champion deserves a great coach – why not you?

Talk soon.

Marg