What is the difference between mediocre customer service and great customer service?
This question has been asked and discussed ad nauseum over the years and when broaching the subject of customer service with employees, quite often you can see their eyes glaze over, their minds wander and their hearing suddenly becomes impaired. Customer service has somehow become a swear word for so many people.
So how do you avoid your employees turning into robots that present fake smiles and rehearsed sales pitches to your customers? How do you wake up them up to out-perform your competition?
Well, firstly the term customer service has gotta go! Let’s call it customer networking from now on? The objective behind this change is to equal the playing field. There is a very confusing cliche “the customer is always right”, which causes people to automatically create an employee-customer hierarchy with the customer naturally receiving a more superior status than the employee. This is a recipe for disaster and automatically places your employees on the back foot. If their mindset is not right and they engage with customers with an inferiority complex, the customer’s experience will either be mediocre or a disaster, but never great.
Secondly, start apply networking principles to customer service training. This will help to create a balance between employee and customer relations, where they interact on an equal level.
Carol Ross, a career coach talks about 8 principles of networking in her article 8 Principles of Networking Naturally.
How could these networking principles be applied to customer networking?
Principle # 1: Successful networkers are relationship-based, not transaction-based.
People buy from people they like. So teach you