The customer role is a difficult one to excel in.
You may not have seriously analyzed the customer identity you adopt as you walk into a business establishment. However, the opportunities to positively influence others unveil themselves as you meditate on what a good customer looks and acts like.
The exchange of fiscal resources for any service or product understandably breeds an expectation of good customer service. In a perfect world, spending money would be enough of a price to pay for being treated in a hospitable manner in any professional establishment. In the world managed by human beings, that’s not always the case.
This article is about simple methods you can employ to excel in your role as a customer in life.
The act of making those who serve you seem more skilled than they actually are, is the backbone of the methods mentioned below. First, examples of methods to do so will be explored. Next, the effects those actions have on the various parties around you will be laid out.
A Notch Above What They’re Used To: Communicate With Professionalism and Respect
A common bias people fall victim to is one of believing the work they do to be more important than it actually is. You’ve likely noticed times when this bias goes unchecked in certain individuals working objectively trivial jobs. A server at a restaurant can exhibit an exuberant sense of pride whilst speaking with you, and the clerk at your local gas station may have been upset at customers not showing them respect as you simply sought to pay for gas.
You can play to this desire for importance in the individuals who provide a service. An effective method in satiating this desire is to behave as if you’re dealing with someone more important than they objectively are in the setting they find themselves in. Use this “notch above” rule of thumb to treat the people who service your needs a notch above what they typically get and deserve from customers.
For instance, treat your waiter at the local breakfast spot as if they’re a waiter at a Michelin star restaurant.
Get into a mode of embellishing the importance of the professionals who service your consumer needs.
A typical embellishment of this sort will encompass your willingness to be attentive, to mind your manners, and to respect the dialogue which these individuals convey.
Perceive the people who work to serve your needs as knowledgeable and deserving of better positions and roles. You’ll notice this perception bleed into your actions with individuals who are assigned to serve your needs. Grant them the authority they are often stripped of by the people they come into contact with every day.
Be Supportive of the Customer Service Tricks and Methods Being Employed on You
A common experience with an establishment’s customer service methods is to find yourself being asked if you’re enjoying your meal while you’re busy chewing your food. This rather innocent inquiry into your level of enjoyment often comes during inconvenient times. Some people take such an interruption to heart and aren’t supportive of the servers who simply seek to ensure your customer needs are met.
There are many similar methods taught in any given employee’s customer service guidebook or class. There are countless rules of thumb for good customer service. You may find these methods to be cheap and inauthentic due to their lack of being personalized to you. However, playing along with these methods and tricks seems to do well in ensuring a good customer experience.
Remember, the customer service methods being employed on you serve to also bring comfort to those employing those methods. If placing ourselves in the position of the waiter inquiring into a customer’s meal, or the customer service staff greeting visitors at the door, having our method be validated by the customer would feel good. We would feel to be following the steps expected of us to follow, and would be seeing real world results.
The customer who thereby supports us in our task to do our job well will be likelier to be favored in their customer “journey.” They would extend their hand to form a symbiotic business relationship for the short time they visit a restaurant or browse a store.
A customer’s willingness to play along – so to speak – will present opportunities for customer service representatives to further employ methods which increase in how personalized they are to the customer.
Personalize Your Gratitude for the Work They’re Normally Expected to Complete
The theme of positively breaking through the crust of normalcy is a recurring one in this article. The people who are tasked to deliver customer service at an establishment you find yourself a customer in have likely grown rigid in their expectations. They see similar patterns in customer behavior on a regular basis. They’re used to customers falling into the various categories of agreeableness and openness.
Separating out the individual delivering a service from the establishment they work in is a good habit to develop in terms of breaking rigid expectations.
Trivial things like genuinely thanking a servant for patiently waiting for your lengthy order at a restaurant fall into this category. Though you may feel that acknowledging the things these individuals are expected to do is undeserved, you’d be ignorant of general human desires.
People like it when their hard work is acknowledged, and they like it even more when the work they’re expected to complete is thanked nonetheless.
Being expected to complete a task bears no effect on whether one should be thanked for completing that expected task.
The tendency to allow the expectation of good customer service to suppress good customer manners is frequent and expected. Customer service representatives expect to interact with customers who allow their expectation of good customer service to manifest itself in thankless / ungrateful ways. By betting on that being the case, you can easily crack a customer service representative’s routine ways of dealing with customers. They’ll be more likely to return the unexpected, yet positive, favor.
Form a Team: Solve Problems Together; Don’t Just Complain About Them
Customer service is judged on how it holds up when things go wrong. It is easy to perform good customer service when the product being sold performs, and the service a business delivers impresses. It is when a customer doesn’t feel satisfied with a product or service that a business’s customer service practices gets tested.
The shaky grounds of things not going to plan for you as a consumer will place you in a position to be at the whim of varying customer service reps and managers. Remember, it is in your best interest to receive good customer service. Dialogue fueled by negative, blunt, disappointed feelings does not seem aligned with the goal of ensuring you receive good customer service.
The people helping you solve an issue with a product or service would be on a mission to solve a problem. Whilst attempting to solve whatever problem it is that you have, customer service reps will also be tasked at making you feel at ease by apologizing and attempting to soothe your troubles.
A major reason for their attempts to soothe your emotions will be to ensure the highest chances of having your problem / issue solved. Nobody likes to solve issues with angry people pestering them and breathing down their necks. In this equation, you’ll either be a distraction in relation to their attempts to solve a faceless problem, or you’ll be an entity which supports the trek toward a solution.
Do your best to be seen as someone who is on the same team, and has the same goals, as the customer service reps who attempt to solve your problem..
Though this step would require effort on your part, the goal of helping yourself receive good customer service takes precedent at the end of the day. It seems that relieving some pressure off a customer service rep’s shoulders serves to help them solve the problem at hand with more accuracy and speed. By being upset and attempting to increase the pressure under which they work, the issues you experience take a backseat to the antics which you exhibit. You, as a customer, thereby become the main issue for the service rep in question rather than the problem which brought you to customer service in the first place.
Be a helping hand to customer service reps who solve your issues. Picture yourself being helpful onlooker; who hands a carpenter the hammer when his hands are full and who holds the ladder sturdy on the ground.
Provide customer service agents the information they need to do their job in a direct, efficient, and calm manner. Ask questions which show you trying to get a grasp of the issue at hand. Inquire into the difficulties they face in solving the issue, and become the customer they open up to most during their day.
The goal is to make them feel comfortable around you, and develop enough of a comradery so that they develop an actual desire to help you rather than simply needing to because it’s their job.
If things aren’t going according to plan, don’t throw your hands up and raise your voice. Drastic communication methods simply force the people you talk to to double down on their position. Be lenient with the messengers delivering bad news.
Inquire into details as to why they can’t help you achieve whatever goal it is you wanted to achieve. Ask about the future steps, if any, you need to take to solve the issue in the manner that you want to solve it. Allow the individuals you speak with to not feel as if they’ve failed someone by leaving you with at least something of value (information).
Acting upset when something didn’t go your way limits how much a customer service rep can do for you after their delivery of bad news.
The Effect of Your Acts on the Establishment and Customers Around You
Enticing a customer service representative to feel an increased sense of importance can have downstream effects.
A broad sense of competition is ignited by less effort than you may think. Your habit of rewarding and improving the customer service you receive from the representatives tasked with delivering it has a capacity to create competitive desires in their colleagues taking note.
Those colleagues will be less likely to notice the subtle things you’re doing to influence your own customer service representative to improve their attitude toward you. To them, the acts of this one representative are what will be evident. An individual’s colleagues will see them going above and beyond for you, and will notice the positive business interactions that interaction results in.
They’ll notice the professional and positive relationship that you play a role in breeding with those tasked at servicing your needs. They’ll notice the calm, collected, and collaborative manner by which your customer service rep solves any issues and problems in your situation. The staff at an establishment will go on to observe how personalized your relationship is with their colleague serving your needs.
In essence, you’ll not only make a certain staff member at the establishment you visit feel more skilled than they are, they’ll look like it to.
The effects of them looking skilled at servicing customer needs shouldn’t be underestimated in their downstream effects.
The customers around you will fall victim to the same process adjusted to fit their own vantage point.
A positive customer interaction is, for some reason, interesting to onlookers.
Seeing a bank teller smiling from ear to ear, cracking jokes, and wishing the person in front of you in line a great day impacts the way you go on to interact with that same teller. You’ll likely be motivated to replicate their interaction with the customer before you.
The customers watching your performance in communicating with a customer service representative of any kind will be motivated to replicate the positivity. You’d have performed well in their minds. Perhaps due to the sheer desire to not disappoint themselves and those around them, they’ll be more likely to adjust the way they interact with staff.
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