Cultivate Your Clients with Outstanding Customer Service

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Customer Service can make or break your business.  If it’s poor, you WILL lose customers.  It it’s exceptional, your business will flourish.  Today I’m sharing tips on my third C of Customer Service…

Cultivate. 

What exactly do I mean by Cultivate???

In customer service, cultivate is understanding your client and delivering a mutually acceptable solution. That’s the key – DELIVER THE SOLUTION!   After listening to your customer, being present, identifying with their problem and internalizing it, now it’s time to apply the solution.

You have a clear goal of what needs to be resolved so finish the job and make it happen. 

At the end of the call or visit, do a short recap of what you have discussed, what approach you are suggesting, and any follow up on your part or your customer’s part. Be specific about how you will follow up, what you will do, and what your customer can expect.

Remember, not everyone is the same so not all solutions will make each customer happy.  Sometimes, even if the same issue arises, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board for a new resolution.  Just continue to use the same tools that you’ve already learned: listen without judging, identify your client’s problem, and offer a solution that is mutually acceptable.  Practice these three tips and eventually it will become a natural part of your process.  Just like a basketball player stands at the free throw line and throws the ball over and over again until it becomes habit, so will you practice listening, identifying and solving until it becomes habit.

It’s not easy.  I believe good Customer Service takes constant work and energy, but the payoff can be huge.  Keep practicing, keep smiling and keep listening. 

And if you missed the first two Cs of Customer Service, Clarity and Character, just scroll back to my last two blog posts and you can get caught up.

Next week I’ll share some techniques on how to take care of yourself in the process.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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The Three C’s of Customer Service

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Last week I told a true story of the worst example of customer service I have seen in a long time.  While my friends and I were dining outside on a lovely summer evening, the lights strung above our heads came crashing down, spewing broken glass and sparks everywhere.  Literally – on our heads!!!  The owner came out and was more interested in moving the chairs, never even asking if anyone was hurt.

So this week, I’d like to share with you three key points on GOOD customer service.  These are techniques you can use in a number of ways – with your client, your spouse, your children – in all areas of your life. So here goes:

I have found that Clarity, Character and Cultivate are used in every form of great customer service. Let’s talk about the first.

Clarity:  It’s taking the time to find out what the real problem is; knowing that your goal is to solve that problem.  There is one word, and one word only, that will help you get the greatest clarity on your situation at hand.  LISTEN.

In this day of instant everything, we are all tempted to multitask. There is so much we need to keep up with – emails, texts, social media.  Heck, if you walk away from your computer to get a cup of coffee, you come back to 50 new emails you have to deal with.  So it’s very tempting to look at those emails while you are talking to a client on the phone.  But if you are distracted, you are not totally absorbing what they are saying, or listening to the key words that can uncover what their real problem is.

There’s actually a name for the highest level of listening.  It’s called Empathetic Listening and it’s the hardest level to achieve.  To be successful at this, you must teach yourself to treat every call as though it’s the first time you’ve heard this problem, even though you may have heard it many times before.  See the situation through the eyes of your client.  How can you do this?  I’m glad you asked…

You can accomplish this by:

Asking open ended question

Practice patience

Repeat back what the client said

One way to force yourself to listen is to take notes.  Writing versus typing helps you remember the situation better and gives you more clarity.  It will help you to truly listen to your client .  I know this sounds crazy, but give it a try.  See if it helps you listen better and gain more clarity so you can deliver extraordinary customer service.

Well, it seems like we’ve run out of time on this blog post, so I’ll save Character and Cultivate for next week.  In the meantime, practice clarity.  Let me know how that works for you.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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5 Networking Questions that Actually Work!

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In my blog last week, I shared a unique way to look at face-to-face networking, especially if you are a bit introverted or on the shy side.  The key is to think of networking as simply starting a conversation, that’s all.  You’re not trying to make a sale, interest people in your idea, or land your dream job.  Your only goal is to start a conversation. 

But how can you reach out to people and engage them in a conversation that will help you determine if they are a good fit for you?

Well, here are five specific questions to help you get started.  Five questions that can help you in any networking situation:

  1. Start a conversation with “Where are you from?”  This can trigger a number of different responses.  They could talk about the company they represent, where they grew up or where they currently live.  It is a great start to a conversation because it can be answered in a number of different ways.
  2. When they tell you what they do, ask: “Describe your typical day to me.”  So many times people use industry jargon and you have no idea what they are talking about.  This is a simple way to understand what they do on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Instead of asking “What do you do?” ask “Where do you work?”  It’s a simplier question to ask because people may be more comfortable talking about their company instead of themselves. 
  4. “How did you come up with that idea?”  This is especially good for people who are self-employed.  There is usually a good story behind starting your own business.
  5. Find something in common that you can share with them in your opening conversation.  For instance, “I see that you belong to the chamber.  So do I.

These are just a few examples for getting a conversation started.  Pick and choose the ones that work for you.  Once you ask the question, your next goal is to LISTEN.  Only in listening can you determine if this person is a good match for your service or product.  Only by listening can you decide if you want to follow up with a second meeting.

I’m curious which question works best for you.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know.

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