Video: Friendly Customer Service
Customer Service Skills
Here’s something you don’t often hear under the category of good customer service skills: not everybody wants friendly customer service. I know, it's a bizarre thing to say, right? How can that possible qualify as good customer service skills?
Let me give you an actual example. If I asked you what would be the ideal customer service skills when you go to the grocery store, do you want people that are friendly, they build a relationship with you? Do you want people that don't really speak to you and just get right to the point and ring you out? Do you want people that are technically expert, they know where everything is, but they're not super friendly? Or do you want people that proceed very linearly, step by step by step?
Most people, when you ask them which set of customer service skills they would prefer, are just going to generally say, "I'd take the friendly. That's a good thing to have, right? I want to build a little relationship, have a nice a conversation. That would be a good thing. Those are the best customer service skills." Most people say that.
Except now, let me change the question a little bit. Let me not ask you which kind of customer service skills is the best and instead ask, imagine you're going to the grocery store but it's not middle of the day, it's not Saturday or Sunday. You're going at 11:00 at night. You've gotten home from work, had a long day, put your pajamas on. You're chilling back and watching a little TV. You're getting ready to go up to bed. It's cold and rainy outside, and all of a sudden you realize you're out of coffee, which means your morning is going to be a nightmare. You say, "Uh, great. I’ve got to run to the grocery store." You run out, throw a hat on, put shoes on, run into the grocery store, grab the coffee, walk up to the checkout person. Now what kind of customer service do you want? Do you still want warm and friendly, or do you want that person that's the not going to engage in a lot of conversation, get right to the point, maybe even be a little bit rushed, like okay, let's hurry this along?
Most people in that case actually take "I want the rushed service. I want to be out of here as quick as is humanly possible." 11:00 at night when it’s rainy and cold and you're in your pajamas with a hat and sneakers on getting coffee to prep for the morning is probably the wrong time to have the super warm, friendly customer service.
Now, not every organization is going to be selling stuff at a grocery store at 11:00 at night to people that are in a bad mood. But, all of us are going to have customers and clients in different psychological states and we need to adjust our customer service skills accordingly. One of the things we have to do is understand what is the psychological and emotional state of my customer and client. Because somebody that is super happy and upbeat at one point, they might become tense and irritated say two days before a big deadline.
It's important to think about these things. The more you understand the psychology of your customers and how that changes throughout their interactions, the easier it's going to be for you to build a relationship. Ironically, sometimes building a relationship and meeting a customer’s needs means that you dial back on some of the super chatty, friendly stuff and get right to the point and deliver exactly what they need.