Customer service and the most basic tips necessary for succeeding in it.

Customer service should never really be anything less than your #1 priority in any service related industry.  Customer Service is a skill that every single industry uses, whether you know it or not.  And if this is an area that you don’t focus on, you should most certainly start.  This rings truer than ever for small businesses looking to become a leader in their niche.  You need something that sets you apart from your competitors, and customer service is an area that’s cheap to implement, and rewards your company with repeat customers and word-of-mouth marketing.  Aside from business growth, you build meaningful relationships with your customers.

Customer service here at Travis Wade Consulting

I’m a major ambassador of customer service.  In the technology industry, this can be a hard-to-come-by skill.  One of my most primal joys out of this business, is seeing people smile.  When people smile while working with me and afterwards as well, I know I’ve out-done expectations and delivered a truly exceptional experience.  When I work with anyone, there are some major areas that I practice and make second nature.  I’ll go over the major ones below and talk briefly about each one.  

The art of greetings and farewells

This is something that I, personally outside of my business, find to be lacking in a lot of businesses.  This is such an easy skill that goes a long way.  A customer’s first interaction with a company can typically be it’s people.  And if that first interaction required the customer’s initiation, that sets a bar right away usually that leaves customers feeling that they’re not your most important focus.

Something as simple as, “Hi, how are you today?” goes miles for you.  Followed with a, “What can I help you with today?”.  Of course, this varies greatly with the industry and business you’re in.  But the idea remains the same.  Even with ending a conversation, the ending is another way that your customer will remember you by.  “Thank you for your time today and hope that you have a wonderful rest of your day!” or “It was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to our next meeting!” are both excellent closures.

Smile More

One of the most contagious traits you can carry with any interaction you have with another person is the simple art of smiling.  When you’re speaking with someone, giving subtle signs that indicate you’re enjoying the conversation helps the other party feel more comfortable with you.  After all, whether you know it or not, both of you will enjoy the interaction that much more if there are some smiles involved.

So start smiling!

Shake hands and mean it

Shaking hands is a must have art of meeting new people and on-going meet ups and greetings.  When shaking someone’s hand (and this is true for both men and women in business), mean it.  A firm handshake shows confidence and that you’re sound in your approach. For all of us, we subconsciously and instantly judge someone based on their handshake.  Take a look at it this way, say you walk into a business ready to talk about a project that’s upcoming.  Do you want that first interaction to be with a handshake that’s insignificant?  Or do you want to instantly feel trust with the person you’re meeting with before any discussions are had?  Think about it.  Nobody wants to shake hands with a fish.

Have Empathy

There are times where you’ll be working with someone who is looking to you for help with an issue.  You can help tremendously by showing that you care about their problem.  Many times, you will have some experience in your own life, whether personal or professional, that you can relate to.  Even if you can’t relate, try to put yourself in their position, and understand the level of frustration that the individual may be experiencing.  This gives you a great stand point on how to approach a solution, and a direction for how to respond.  You want to be the figure of comfort, ensuring that your customer understands that you’re there to help in whatever way that you can.  If you can’t offer a solution, be willing to suggest where they can go and offer assistance for getting in touch.  Customers read this as a sign that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to help someone that’s in their best interest.