In this era of digitization, customers have choices. They can switch their loyalties in seconds. Would your organization like to improve customer satisfaction index? Retain your loyal customers & gain new customers?
Then it’s time for your customer interfacing staff to enhance their behavioural skills.
Following is a four-pointer road map for earning emotional bond with customers:
1. Active Listening
Put yourself in the guest’s shoes. How do you feel? How would you want the problem to be solved? How would you want to be treated? Would you like to expect average, good or exceptional service?
According to Zenger & Folkman (Harvard Business Review, July 14, 2016) “just plain listening like remain quiet, nod, m-mm is not enough. Recent research which they have conducted suggests that these behaviours fall short of describing good listening skills. Good listening was consistently seen as a two way dialog, rather than a one way ‘Speaker versus hearer’ interaction. The best conversations were active”
If you are not listening to the customers, you cannot answer the question. That means you should practice to ask the right questions.
Ask open ended questions which should address what, who, when, where, why and how?
These questions give more information for understanding & solving a guests problem.
· How may I assist you Sir / Ma’am.
· Tell me more about….
· Clarify again…..
2. Right body language (Facial expressions / Gestures)
“The words may tell a story but the body tells the whole story”-unknown.
Express yourself effectively with right facial expressions / gestures with customers, as they can read you, before you speak. Tone of your voice should be friendly even if they provoke you.
Make sure you communicate your intended message as effectively as possible. For example, when your frontline staff conveys “please wait for a while we resolve the issue” without empathetic tone of voice and a friendly facial expression, you as a customer just don’t believe the words.
Consequently, in service industry awareness about matching the body language with your words is the key to bond with customers.
3. Speaking effectively
Etiquettes / use of right words / sentences / tone of voice
Customers encountering painful or pleasurable experiences depend on your ability to communicate effectively. Do you speak the right words with proper etiquettes, use the right pronunciation and friendly tone of voice with customers?
Do you address their emotions first, before resolving their issue?
Become a better communicator with:
· Organizing your thoughts before speaking
· Practicing how to speak with right tone of voice and etiquettes with empathic and friendly tone of voice.
Customers’ expectations are changing rapidly as they are getting exposure to new & innovative experiences by different industries. They sometimes become judgemental & disappointed with your services. Yet, a small change in your spoken communication can enhance the customer happiness index.
4. Diplomatic assertiveness
“The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behaviour affect the rights and well-being of others” – Sharon Anthony Bower
There is a thin line between aggressiveness & assertiveness. The service industry demands diplomatic assertiveness. There will be times, when your processes won’t allow you to say yes to a customer, the only remedy would be how can you convince him without being rude and conveying the message as politely as possible.
Using the right words / sentences assertively with right tone of voice is a win – win formula for both the organization & you.
In today’s era, its end to end customer journey which a customer expects instead of only the touch points. As Steve Jobs rightly said “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”