Everything you do … and fail to do … and everything you say … and fail to say … is important to your customers.
The other day my wife and I were about to go through the drive-in at a local Chick-Fil-A restaurant when I noticed the car in front of me. It was a delivery car for one of Chick-Fil-A’s competitors, a national sub sandwich chain. It was a bit startling.
I was immediately struck by the realization that…
1. Your customers or potential customers are always watching you.
Oh sure, you may think you work a 9 to 5 job, but in reality you’re always on duty … promoting your company or dissing your company by the behaviors you exhibit or the words you say. People are watching you. And you may not even know it.
For example, two weeks ago, I went to one of the big-box office supply stores to buy some printing supplies. Although there were seven employees in the store, no one welcomed me and none of them offered to help me. Each of the employees was “too busy” to lower him or herself to the task of serving a customer. One of the employees was filing documents, two were texting, and four were chatting. After a few minutes of trying to find what I wanted to buy without any help from the customer service staff, I figured to heck with it and left the store. I drove down the street to their competitor and spent several hundred dollars.
Their loss of business is one issue. But even more devastating, not one of the employees realized how they sent their business out the door on that occasion … and several more potential occasions in the future. They lost money, reputation, repeat business, and word-of-mouth advertising … because they forgot that their prospects and customers were always watching them.
What about you? What are you and your unconscious behaviors saying about your company? Are they saying, “I work for a great company, and you the customer would do well to patronize us?” Or are you and your behaviors … like the sub sandwich driver … saying, “I’d shop somewhere else if I get the chance?”
No matter what job you hold … and no matter what time of day it is … you are in the customer service business. To become a Customer Service Champion, I certainly recommend my book on “The Service Payoff: How Customer Service Champions Outserve And Outlast The Competition.”
Once you realize you’re always being watched, at the very least…
2. You need to get in the habit of welcoming every prospect and customer.
That will take a little bit of preparation. You will need to arrive a few minutes early for your shift, get all your equipment and materials up and ready to go, and leave your personal problems at home. After all, your employer pays you to be at your very best, and your customers expect your best as well. And quite simply, you can’t do that if you rush into work at the last minute and have your mind preoccupied with your family problems.
Then, when a prospect or customer comes into view, SMILE. Broadcast your welcome with a warm smile that says, “I acknowledge your presence … I’m glad you’re here … You’re important to me … And I want to be of service.”
Add a few words of welcome as well. In an alert, caring, and professional way, say something like, “Good morning … I’m glad you called … or … How can I help you?”
And say it with enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter how you feel or how difficult your job happens to be. The customer doesn’t care, and he shouldn’t have to care. He’s there to get his needs met in the most positive way possible, and it’s your job to provide that positive experience. Remember, your prospects and customers are always watching you … and they’re always talking about you.
Finally, for today’s purposes…
3. Welcome complaints
I know. I know. This might sound crazy to some of you. After all, who enjoys hearing someone complain? We all want “nice” customers.
But look at this way. A complaining customer is giving you a gift. She’s giving you a chance to fix whatever did not work for her, and she’s giving you a chance to keep her business.
So as silly as it sounds, sometimes you don’t want “nice” customers. As I write in my book “The Service Payoff,” you don’t really want a bunch of “nice, non-complaining customers.”
The Nice, Non-Complaining Customer
(The thought inside your customer’s head)
You know me; I’m a nice person. When I get lousy service, I never complain. I never kick; I never criticize, and I wouldn’t dream of making a scene.
I’m one of those “nice” customers. And I’ll tell you what else I am. I’m the customer who doesn’t come back. I take whatever you hand out, because I know I’m not coming back. I could tell you off and feel better, but in the long run, it’s better to just leave quietly.
You see, a “nice” customer like me, multiplied by others like me, can bring a business to its knees. There are plenty of us. When we get pushed far enough, we go to your competitor.
You’re being watched. Make sure your prospects and customers see something they want to see.
When your customers “watch” you, what message do they see you sending? And is that the message you want to send?