Uncommon Thoughts —
I want you as a service professional to think about some of the situations where you said things to clients when you really weren’t thinking. Thinking before talking is one of the most uncommon skills that people possess in this new era of tweets, likes and posts. Unfortunately, chances are pretty good that if you actually put thought into what you said you would regret it. You may have even unknowingly driven customers into frustration to the point where they silently decided to not do business with you again.
Think about the words and phrases you commonly use and determine whether your choice of communication is focused on what is good for you or if it was truly focused on what was good for them. What have you said that could have been improved?
The following represents some of the most common blunders that create a barrier to great customer service and eventually will harm your sales results as well:
1. “I recommend that you purchase…(Fill in the blank)”
What’s wrong: Ummm look dummy. Of course YOU would recommend that I should purchase what you sell. This is a big conflict of interest since the client thinks that you are recommending it because YOU are the one benefiting from the purchase and not them. Give a reason WHY they should purchase.
What’s better: “I want to show you some ways to give your family better (comfort, safety, convenience) with these solutions I’ve worked up. Just choose the solution that’s right for you and your family.”
2. “We don’t do that kind of work.”
What’s wrong: This is the ultimate service cop out. Who cares if you really don’t do that type of work? A client is asking you because they thought you were smart enough to help them. Declining to help is the way to be known as the “anti-service guy.”
What’s better: “I know someone who can help. Let me call them for you and introduce them to you.” OR maybe… “Let me talk to my boss and see if he knows someone who can help you. I’ll call you back with the answer to that by the end of today.”
3. “Let me schedule this for tomorrow.”
What’s wrong: This indicates you are a clock watching, can’t wait to get home, uncommitted worker who is not sensitive to the client’s needs to DO IT NOW! Scheduling the job to be completed later gives the clients the idea that if this company is not dedicated to service, I should keep looking for someone who is.
What’s better: “Let me get this job started so we can work on completing this as soon as possible.” If I could put three words in LARGE letters in everybody’s shop it would be the words… DO IT NOW or the competition will. Of course if you do it now you must charge accordingly
4. “Let me see if we’ll be back in this area next week.”
What’s wrong: You are showing that you care more about your convenience than you do about the person who is paying the bill. You are choosing when it will be easy for YOU to get this done and NOT them.
What’s better: “What day and time would be most convenient for you to get this delivered to you.”
5. “Could you tell me your name again?”
What’s wrong: This shows that either you are not a good listener or that you never cared to remember the name of your client who is paying you to do service. What’s wrong? Clients aren’t people important enough to remember?
What’s better: “John could I ask you to spell your last name?” Even if you didn’t know their name you aren’t revealing this in your question. How to spell the name means that you know it but you just want to get the spelling correct.
6. “I’m sorry I’m late it was the dispatcher’s fault.”
What’s wrong: Throwing your teammate under the bus show’s that you have no concern over trashing your co-worker. Clients can connect the dots. If he doesn’t care about his fellow employees, he probably doesn’t care about me as well.
What’s better: “John, I’m glad I finally made it here. It took a little longer than I wanted because I was helping another client like you by solving an important issue for the (safety of comfort) of their family. “
7. “That’s against our policy.”
What’s wrong: By saying this it shows the client that your entire company is hopeless. You are essentially telling them that by design we think about ourselves and not our clients. We actually design policies to screw you over not benefit you.
What’s better: “You know Karen, you bring up an interesting idea. Let me see how close I can come to fulfilling what you want me to do. What I CAN do is…” Always tell you client what you can do and not what you can’t. Make an attempt to move your company as close as you can to what your client wants.
SUGGESTION: Use this list at your next customer service meeting and see if you can’t inspire your team to use more productive verbal skills to become a service champion. Challenge your team to come up with other phrases that clients detest and work on crafting a better response to make a client smile.
Joe Crisara, a worldwide sales and service educator, has a style that has you feeling like he is a member of your family or someone you met before. His down-to-earth, direct and impassioned approach combines 31 years of contracting experience with strong expertise in sales best practices. Contact Joe at Joe@contractorselling.com to get more info. Visit his website at www.contractorselling.com.