Several years ago, I walked into my eye doctor’s office. Since I wear contact lenses, I need to replenish my lens supply every six months. On that day, I was the only person in the office as I walked up to the receptionist. She was busily typing on her computer. She did not acknowledge my presence. I waited a minute or two before clearing my throat to get her attention. I finally got an “I’ll be with you in a minute” without even looking up from her computer. After waiting a few more minutes, I left the office and found a new eye doctor that day.
Indifference or Involved?
It was obvious that this employee was either having a really bad day, or had never received any training on how to interact with a customer. When determining why a customer chooses to take their business elsewhere, sixty-eight percent do so because of an attitude of indifference from an employee or leader.
I realize that not every place of employment is a party every day, but you have a choice of how you behave and the attitude you display to your customers. When you drive into work, imagine locking your personal problems in the car when you shut the door. Even if you have a boss who does not demonstrate great customer service and a positive attitude, it is never an excuse for you to do the same. In those circumstances, It is even more important for you to be a great representative of your company and create an exceptional customer experience.
Walk a mile….
A great way to elevate your behavior, even if you might be dealing with a difficult situation, is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. You have the opportunity to determine what that your customer thinks about your entire organization. A good customer interaction may lead to a lot of future business. But, you never know what kind of day your customer may be having. You have the potential to help them turn a bad day into a good one by treating them with respect.
You Are the Company
Don’t think for a minute that you must have an important title to have an influence on your customers. A front-line employee can have just as big of an influence on the customer experience as a member of the executive team. Since many executives don’t have regular contact with customers, it is the front-line team member who usually makes or breaks an organization’s reputation.
If occasionally you have a bad attitude, and it happens to be reflected in your actions, you could be the reason that a customer takes their business to your competitor. On the flip side, people who have a positive attitude are infectious. And, people want to be around them and do business with them. Focus on the bookends of a customer interaction: how you greet them and how you complete the interaction. Start with a smile and end with a thank you, even if they did not spend money with you.
Remember this: “How others behave is a statement of their character. How you respond to their behavior is a statement of yours.”
Next week we will deal with Customer Turnoff #8: “Lack of Follow Up.”