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The Art of Connection

I think we can all agree that the secret to serving customers has gone beyond the delivery of quality service with a smile. The old adage “The Customer Is Always Right” doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.  Despite the years and money we have all spent on learning how to improve customer service, the end results are less than stellar.  Think of how rarely you receive good customer service these days. So rare, that when you see it you tell everyone you know.

Why is that?

Why is it that with more knowledge and information than ever before, our customer service skills are still lacking?

Because everybody is focusing on policies instead of connection. Service is not mechanical. It’s not about doing a certain thing at a certain time. It’s not even about having the right magical phrases to say when you answer the phone. While those are important, they aren’t the key to good customer service.

Connection is key.

What is Connection?

For starters, it’s an attitude first. You can’t care about your customer until you care about your customer. No amount of good customer service tips will make up for an employee who doesn’t care about the customer. Smiling and asking if you can help me, doesn’t matter if I’m overhearing you gripe about the last customer you served.  Even if you’re doing and saying all the right things, I can feel when your heart isn’t in it.

So let’s get their heart in it.

Heart = Emotion

Employees must be engaged in their customers on a personal level. That’s what connection is. It’s personal.

How do we do that?

  1. We connect the employees to the value they bring.  We don’t tell them to do better because we told them to. We show them how much of a difference they are making in the lives of the people they serve. Then they stand taller, walk prouder, and feel more appreciated.
  2. We connect the employees to the brand in a way that’s personal.  We show the employees how what they are offering adds value to the lives of the people they serve. They aren’t just mopping a table in a restaurant, they are creating a remarkable world class experience for the diner. Even the guy with the dish rag cleaning the table can make an impact on the most important diners.
  3. We connect the employees to the customers on a personal level. We keep the employee in touch with the customers as real people with real problems.  When we see our customers on a human level, it changes the way we serve them.

All of this can (and should) be done through story. Story is the connecting bridge.

How Well Do You Know Your Customer?

To serve your customer well is to know your customer well.

How well do you know the people you serve? Do you have any idea of what they face in their lives? Where they live? Where they work? What their struggles are?

The better you know your customer, the more value you’ll find in serving them, and the more valuable they will feel.

If you have never done it, take the time to create a customer profile. You might have to guess at some of the answers, or even go find out. But take the time to see life from where they sit.

If you’re not sure what questions to ask, I have created an extremely detailed Buyer Profile in my new book The Story Formula™   which also walks you through creating your Seller Profile, and Product Profile. Knowing all three are the magic sauce to serving your customer with excellence, no matter what your industry.

At the end of the day, customer service is about people connecting to people. Having the desire and motive to always be looking at the ordinary moments to create extraordinary moments with our customers. Not only do we improve the bottom line in the process, our work takes on a new meaning, for while we are serving others, we are being served right back.

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