As a kid growing up in Brooklyn New York I spent countless hours with my best friend. We were neighbors and always together. Whether going to the movies, playing ball or doing other “kid stuff”, we had great times together.
Moving forward many years I sat down today to write a new article on what makes great customer service. As I listed specific characteristics I realized how much in common they have with a good friend, a BFF (best friend forever).
A Warm Smile
Your eyes widen, your stress and anxiety lessens and your day seems a little brighter. That’s what your BFF’s smile does for you. The world is a better place because of him/her.
When we enter a business nothing starts the interaction off better than a warm welcome –
“Good afternoon, welcome to ___________, how may I help you today?” Follow next with a sincere smile and you are off to a great customer service start. Great businesses hire for personality first and train for the job skills second.
Best friends don’t lie. Truth is the measure of trust between two people that care about each other. Click To Tweet
Great businesses don’t lie to their customers either. They sell products/services that work as intended with no hidden surprises. When something goes wrong they face up to it and make it right.
Show Empathy, a Good Listener
Best friends “feel the pain” when one is sad, hurt or in trouble. They quickly understand the situation, show compassion and do their best to ease the discomfort.
A great customer service representative doesn’t have to be told when the customer was wronged, they realize it immediately. They use LEAP (Listen, Empathize, Apologize, and Problem Solve) to correct the customer’s issue right away.
Give the Benefit of the Doubt
BFF’s don’t second-guess one another. They take the other at his/her word – no handshake or contract is needed. They have full faith that each will do as they say and will complete the task to the best of their ability.
Customers do the same with the businesses they frequent. They don’t assume anything will go wrong. Delivery will be on Wednesday? No need to think otherwise. Dinner reservation is for 7pm? I know my table will be ready. Great businesses deliver on their promise to provide great customer service.
Best friends wouldn’t think of undercutting or shortchanging the other. You just don’t do that to your BFF.
An honorable business that respects their customers acts the same. They don’t use substitutions, nor lower quality ingredients and never use “bait & switch” tactics. How else can you provide great service if your product doesn’t match your word?
You Know What to Expect
You can count on your BFF when needed, no question she’ll be there. You can tell what dress she’ll wear to the dance and what power-tie he’ll have on for the big job interview. Your friend is the model of consistency and security. No surprises there…
► Like this post? Join the team and subscribe today!
As a customer you expect the same from the businesses you frequent. You want the same shopping hours, same quality of product, similar pricing structure and you love dealing with the long term employees you have become “friends” with over the years.
That is part of your customer-first appeal. Your motto: “To do what’s in the best interest of the customer”.
You Show Appreciation
You can always count on getting a card or phone call from your BFF on your birthday or other special occasion. The regular communication confirms your relationship as mutually beneficial and valuable. You treasure these moments.
“Thank you for your business” cards, frequent shopper discounts, special membership days, behind-the-scene tours and customer appreciation days are some of the many ways a business shows how much they value your business. This continues each day after by providing you with great service.
Acceptance of Change
Life is a journey and so is a friendship. Tastes in music, dress and appearance will outwardly change your friend as you know him/her. That doesn’t mean the person “inside” has changed or their beliefs have morphed away from what originally attracted you to each other. This is the next phase in their life and you accept this as any great friend will.
I have heard customers complain about the new carpet or wall coverings of their favorite business and loudly show their disappointment. The product hasn’t changed, the service hasn’t changed nor has the management. Only the superficial trinkets that make up the décor have been upgraded, as is needed from time to time.
This is no reason to complain or become resistance to change. I bet if they didn’t make renovations you would complain about their failure to reinvest in the business, correct?
This leads to the last item…
During the course of a friendship not all is perfect. Words are said or actions taken that put stress on the relationship. But, when a friendship is valued, you see through difficult times toward the moment when all is right – and you jointly work to get there.
It works the same in business. There will be times when service falters or expectations aren’t met. Does that mean you stop doing business with that company? For some the answer is yes. But for most this is a minor setback that is quickly mended.
A valued relationship takes time and is worth the effort because great service is just as special as your BFF.
image courtesy of viralnova.com/best-friends, with some help from me…