Imagine you are sitting down for a meal. You are now on your fifth bite and the server comes over for the third time asking, “How is everything?”. You can’t even tell them you’re fine because you still have food in your mouth. Now picture you are window shopping at the mall and browsing around. The salesperson approaches and asks, “Can I help you find anything today?”. You politely smile replying, “No thank you, I am just browsing today.” Now, instead of giving you your space, they continue to trail you, pushing that sale. What is your reaction? Has your meal now become the best culinary experience you have ever had? Now that you have your own personal shopper, are you inspired to blow your budget and buy the entire store? Let me guess, probably not, and you might even think it’s annoying!
The definition of customer service is, “the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.” The trap we all fall into is that we focus on the service and the product, and we forget to focus on what is important, the customer. Speaking from personal experience, you get to know the customers that want to be handed the product and be left alone, and then you have the customer that wants to tell you what they had for breakfast this morning and what their third cousin twice removed is up to in Florida this summer. But that is my very point, get to know your customer!
The true key to good customer service is building a good relationship. You need to be able to read the feedback coming to you. Is it negative? Positive? If you are talking to them, do they look uncomfortable? Are they pulling back? Maybe you need to take that step back and give them their space. Customer service is not universal, you need to find out what your customer considers to be good customer service and let it come naturally to fit the individual.
A business can offer discounts and promotions and a good salesperson, who knows everything about their product and can sell anything to anyone once. But will this bring them back? Building relationships for repeat business only happens through truly listening, dealing with the complaints, and being helpful even when there is no immediate gain. This is what customer service is all about, sending that customer home happy enough to want to return and to want to spread that positive review about your services to others. Who knows, perhaps the person your initial customer made a rave review to will come and try your products and become repeat customers themselves.
So, ask yourself, was my focus on the product or the customer? If you don’t keep this in mind, then you probably won’t be selling this person anything else. Don’t be afraid to create that bond and truly listen to what someone is looking for.