Our customers come to us for our knowledge, for expertise. They want our help in accomplishing something (or maybe preventing something).
But some employees take this to mean the customer's opinion does not matter. They go directly into “arrogant expert mode" and act like the customer has no useful information to contribute.
As a customer there are few things that irritate me more than an arrogant, know-it-all sales or service person trying to tell me what to do without first listening to what I have to say. This is one of the fastest ways to drive customers out the door and straight into the welcoming arms of your competition.
Customers are more informed than ever before. They know WHAT they want. Our job is to help them figure out HOW to get it. That requires both their knowledge and our expertise.
An effective way to do this is by asking the “w" questions: who, what, why, when, where and their cousin, how.
Another way is by listening well. Use these tips to help:
1. Focus on them by giving them your complete attention.
2. Pace yourself by listening at the speed they're talking.
3. Use nonverbal and audible cues to show you're listening.
4. Be open to their ideas and opinions.
5. Let them vent (if they're upset).
6. Clarify by asking questions and confirming.
7. Let them finish before you start talking.
Then use what they tell you as you help them get what they want. Do this consistently and you'll see your customer loyalty increase more than ever.
Kevin Stirtz is the “Amazing Service Guy". He is a customer service speaker and trainer who helps companies increase revenue and profits by delivering Amazing Service. Kevin has been quoted in such major media as BusinessWeek, the Boston Globe, Smart Money and the Chicago Sun Times. Get a free copy of his Amazing Service Toolkit at http://amazingserviceguy.com