With the phone ringing and the line increasing, your first thought may be to process the transactions as quickly as possible. Be polite, but focused on the job. That must be what the customer wants, right? Actually, that can be very wrong.
Accuracy and efficiency are expected. Answering questions and completing transactions are the minimum. That doesn’t make you stand out from the competition. It doesn’t make the customer feel special. They want to be noticed, recognized and appreciated. They want your undivided attention.
Here are five steps to help you build a relationship that will pay huge dividends.
Greet me. Yes, a personal greeting is required, not just raised eyebrows and a nod. “May I help me?” “Good morning! How can I help you this morning?” Eye contact is required. It does not, however, constitute a greeting in and of itself. Turn your entire body toward the customer. It’s a great first impression every time!
Value me. Whether I’m inquiring about a $60,000 automobile or my monthly prescriptions, how do I know that you think I’m important? Yes, you have to learn my name and how to pronounce it. While waiting, I observed how you interacted with others. You smiled. You laughed. You asked about their day. Make me feel important. Be excited that I came in!
Ask me. I don’t always know what I want (or need). You are a wealth of information.Don’t stop with a greeting. Carefully probe to determine my wants and needs. Remember the five W’s and an H. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? When you take the time to explain how your products and services benefit me, I make better choices. When I feel good about my decisions, I become a walking billboard for your company.
Listen to me. Stop. You cannot listen while counting money. You cannot listen while reading history notes. You cannot listen while checking documents. Be still and focus on my words, my facial expressions, the tone of my voice and my body language. I’m trying to tell you how to help me. Don’t get stuck on one point, interrupt or get defensive. Be in the moment!
Invite me back. Instead of looking behind me at the next customer, look me in the eye and thank me for my business. I can see you are busy. I might walk out thinking I was an interruption to your day, unless you do something. A sincere thank you will let me know my questions and my business are welcome any time.
Sales or service, front line or leadership, focus your attention on the person in front of you. You will nurture a relationship that can bring you business and referrals for a lifetime.