Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Seeing service through your customers' eyes, part of Customer Service Foundations.
Providing outstanding customer service requires us to see things from the customers' perspective. This isn't always easy to do. It's natural for customers and customer service employees to see things a bit differently. Here's a real-life example. A customer called the technical support hotline for a major software company. He was stressed out because he needed to use the software for a client meeting that just started in just 30 minutes. But he couldn't get it to work properly. The employee who answered the phone took call after call like this one each day.
Most of the problems were easy for her to solve because of her in-depth knowledge of her company's products. Her job was to help resolve each customer's problem as quickly as possible. Fortunately for this customer, she picked up on his anxiety and understood he didn't just need to find a solution to his problem, he needed to feel confident that everything would work properly when he met with his client. She stayed on the phone a few extra minutes to walk him through the software. This actually helped prevent a few other problems that would've come up during his client meeting. The technical support rep fixed the customer's problem, relieved his anxiety, and helped prevent future problems by adopting the customer's perspective.
She never would have done this if she'd only focused on solving the first problem and then hanging up quickly to get to her next call. The customer would have been embarrassed when another problem occurred during his client meeting. He would have had to make another call to technical support. He might have even griped about his experience on social media and then taken his business to a competitor. Viewing things from the customer's perspective isn't always easy. Here's a puzzle that can help us understand why. You can try to solve the puzzle on the screen or download the worksheet and try it on paper. To solve this puzzle, try to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines.
The catch is you can't lift your finger off the screen, or if you're using the worksheet, you can't lift your pen off the paper. It may be helpful to push pause to give yourself a moment to try to solve it. Most people, including me, have a hard time solving the puzzle on their first try. The secret to solving the nine dot puzzle is to literally think outside the box. Like this. Most people see a box that isn't really there when they try to solve the puzzle. It's natural for our brain to play this little trick on our perception. The same thing can happen when we're serving customers.
We often seen things from a certain perspective realizing there are other ways to look at it. There's an exercise you can try to help you look outside the box and see things from the customer's perspective. You can use the downloadable worksheet or just use pen and paper. I'll use the software company employee as an example to illustrate how this exercise works. The first step is to make a list of your major job responsibilities. Here's what the technical support employees list might look like. Help customers solve problems with the software.
Educate customers on ways to prevent problems from occurring. Use customer feedback to identify bugs in the software. The next step is to try to imagine those same job duties from your customers' perspective. How do your customers view what you do for them? Here's what the technical support employees list might look like. Help customers get back to work quickly when a problem occurs. Educate customers on ways to maximize the software's capabilities without causing problems. Instill confidence so customers know they can count on the software to help them.
This activity can help broaden your view of the service you provide. Your job duties remain the same, but how you perform those duties might change once you look at them through your customer's eyes. The technical support employees example shows that this approach can create happier customers and even prevent more problems from occurring.
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- What is outstanding customer service?
- Identifying your customer
- Creating a customer service vision
- Enhancing likability in person, over the phone, and via email
- Actively listening to customers
- Going the extra mile
- Taking ownership of problems
- Diffusing angry customers
- Using data to evaluate and improve your customer service<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.