Customer Service with HEART
Serving customers is one of the most challenging jobs out there. You need to be a good listener, an effective communicator, a calm conflict mediator, and an analytical problem solver all rolled into one. You must be very organized and have infinite patience. Plus you need to wear a sunny disposition even on days when you don't feel like it.
Many have endeavored to capture the key ingredients in customer service, so I have decided to throw my hat into the ring as well.
I call my approach Customer Service With HEART:
H = Help and Hear - You are there to Help the customer. Plain and simple. And the first (and most important) thing you do is listen. Hear the customer fully before responding. This may be the toughest part of listening. We have to make the choice to listen, especially when we are busy, preoccupied, stressed, and distracted. When you focus on the Other, pay attention to What is being said, as well as What is not being said. This includes the non-verbal signs the person is displaying, plus their feelings and tone of voice.
E = Empathy - The customer has come to you with a need, a question, a problem. Empathize with their feelings and point of view. Empathy doesn't mean agreement. It means trying to see (and feel) what the Other Person is going through.
A = Assess the situation - Analyze what the customer is saying. Ask questions to find out: What is the problem? What does he/she need from me? Apologize as necessary.
R = Respond - Once you get what the customer needs, Respond so they know the action you are going to take. Let them know what to expect next.
T = Take action - Do what you said you would do. Then, if the situation calls for it, follow up later to see where things stand.
Serving others well is hard work. It's stressful. It's tiring. After a full shift of serving customers, you will need to relax and recharge afterward.
The great thinker Albert Einstein once said, "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
When you think about it, your work in customer service is vital to your organization. To the customer, You Are the Company. You can make (or break) their day, in seconds.
Often, what the customer is after is an answer, or a solution, or a sense of direction. You could be the answer to their prayers.
Truly, serving others is one of the most important jobs there is.
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Wednesday August 22, 2012