Customer Service

Talking to a customer is like being on stage

photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/slimjim/2169745303/
photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/slimjim/2169745303/

If you’ve spent any time talking to customers, you’ll know what I mean when I say that talking to a customer feels like being on stage. When you pick up the phone or walk into the room with a customer, you know that you need to put on a “good face”, be careful what you say, and to present the best version of yourself so that you can help them solve their problems.

Customers expect that you will know them, that you will know how to solve their problem, and that you will do a great job while pleasantly maintaining a conversation. Sometimes, this is very easy – and other times, incredibly hard. And the best customer advocates instantly hone in on the tone of the customer’s voice, the specific problem that they are trying to solve, and are able to combine the solution to the problem and a great attitude to make that solution feel to the customer like it’s customized just for them. It’s an art, really.

Comparing customer service to being on stage is an apt comparison because things don’t always go right in the wings. Sometimes the understudy needs to take on a starring role. Other times, people might forget their lines. And the show must go on.

There are a few things that help when you’re talking to customers to make this easier. Everyone who talks to customers should be able to make a 30 second pitch for what makes your company different or better in your space, and to expand upon that pitch when people have questions. Make that pitch about 50 times, and it will feel familiar. Having a formal call flow, written as a flow chart or as a list of steps or checklist, helps as well. When you’re flustered by a customer who’s having a bad day, the last thing you need is to not know the next talking point you’re going to share.

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