As you read this, you may think this article could fall under the heading of sales tactics. I respectfully disagree. This is all about customer service, as it focuses on the way you engage your customers to make them feel comfortable about wanting to do more business with you. And, while the examples I’m using may be retail based, realize that these tactics work with any business in any industry. It can be B2C or B2B, these tactics work.
- Engage with a strong welcome. Be it on the phone or in person, this greeting makes your customer feel comfortable and appreciated. This “first impression” sets the tone for whatever interaction is to follow.
- Follow up the greeting with an open ended question. Follow up with a question that is specific to the reason the customer is calling or shopping with you. Don’t ask a yes or no question, such as “Can I help you?” Instead, ask an open-ended question such as, “What are you looking for today?” The best response will give you specific information about why the customer is doing business with you.
- Ask why. Once you understand what the customer wants, ask why. Why does the customer need your help or your product? Knowing this may reveal other opportunities for you to help or upsell the customer.
- Upsell: And, speaking of upselling, do so if appropriate. For example, if a customer is at an Ace Hardware store buying a can of paint, it is perfectly logical, and many times appreciated by the customer, to ask if he or she needs brushes or other items to complete a paint project. Imagine the customer getting home and realizing that he forgot to get brushes. Not “upselling” the customer when appropriate is really bad customer service.
- Ask what else. Don’t finish the customer interaction without asking what else the customer may be looking for – or what other area of help they may need. This may be something completely unrelated to the purchase they are about to make or the reason for their original call. This may reveal other opportunities.
BONUS: Say, “Thank you!” Don’t forget, as this may be one of the most important tactics. Show appreciation and send them out with a strong last impression, which is just as important, if not more so, than the first impression.
In the end, this is all about engagement. This is anything but passive. It means having the right people who are properly trained and motivated to engage with the customer and deliver a strong customer experience.
NOTE: This article is based on one of the tactics from Shep Hyken’s upcoming book Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet, which appears in stores everywhere in September 2013. Preorder the book and get valuable extras at www.AmazeEveryCustomer.com.
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)