By Micah Solomon Entrepreneurs

It’s entirely possible to vaporize your competition, one customer service interaction at a time. It’s a simple concept, but a profoundly effective strategy. Here’s how to go about it, based on the instructions I give my own clients as a customer service consultant and customer experience advisor.

Give recognition to your customers each time you come in contact with them. For a new customer, the type of recognition they are looking for is simply, “I see you and I value you.” For a repeat customer, this should be expanded to “I remember you and I’m welcoming you (you, personally) back.” 

Give each customer something extra–the right something extra–when possible. Sometimes this will be a sweeping gesture, what I call a “wow experience.” Other times this will be something smaller: for example, an offer to hold the customer’s item while they do more shopping, or to take it for them to the car. And sometimes, it can be nothing more than respecting the cues they’re giving off that say they’re in a hurry.  (In such a case, the “extra” may, ironically, appear like you’re doing less; you’ll be dispensing with the niceties to rush them through this time, because you’ve noticed that crazed look in the customer’s eyes, and it’s alerted you to the fact that the last thing they have time for this afternoon is for you to slow them down in the interest of providing “wow.”)

photo credit: Getty
Photo credit Getty

Get employee language awareness up to speed. An employee whose heart is filled with kindness can unwittingly convey the opposite if that employee isn’t sufficiently language-aware. I suggest you create an in-house lexicon (phrasebook) of better and worse phrases to use with customers; this is one of the early steps I myself take when consulting on a customer service initiative. [You may enjoy this Forbes article of mine on language usage in customer service and what I call “language engineering.”]

Create an explicit company commitment to your kindness model.  By this I mean a brief and memorable statement that clarifies and solidifies your commitment, like Mayo Clinic’s “The Needs of the Patient Come First,” and then publicize it in multiple ways throughout your organization. 

Micah Solomon is a Customer service consultant, keynote speaker.

This article was first published in Entrepreneurs

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