Do you have a dog? Even if you haven’t you will still be able to picture this next scene. You come home from work, you’re tired, hungry, you’ve been stuck in traffic or you’ve been penned into a train carriage like a sardine! Your dog has been at home for the whole day, waiting for you! Now, what’s the first thing that most dogs will do as you walk through the door? That’s right, they provide you with the warmest welcome imaginable! They wag their tale, they smile at you in their own little dog way and they jump up and lick your face. Dogs provide you with the warmest welcome possible. They don’t have a degree in psychology, they don’t understand how the brain works, dogs just naturally provide people with a “Warm Welcome” and we can learn a lot from our four-legged friend when it comes to creating good positive first impressions, and getting the Customer Experience off to a good start.
Now, we’re not saying that you should be jumping up and licking clients’ faces when you meet them for the first time, nor would we expect you to run around and get all excited in their presence, that would be taking things a little bit too far! Too often is it the case though that in “Customer Service” based situations the “Welcome” that you receive is beyond bad!
Some research suggests that it takes between 4-7 seconds to create a “First Impression!” In fact, we create 80% of our opinions about someone in the first 20 seconds of meeting them. In a recent radio chat show it said that during an interview “We get or we don’t get the job based on the first 12 words that we say!” So, those first few seconds during any interaction are crucial to the outcome.
So here are 3 tips that will help you to make sure that you get things off to a good start:-
1. Have a meaningful smile on your face – A smile can go such a long way to affecting your tone of voice and how people feel when interacting with you. A smile is contagious, if you smile people smile back. When you’re on the phone, you know when someone is smiling, or not, as the case may be. So a smile can be seen and heard. A genuine smile can be seen in the eyes and not just the mouth and so it’s very easy to see if you are faking it.
2. Keep eye contact and stay “Present” in the conversation. We live in a world where we are constantly being distracted by things, so when providing the very best start to a customer interaction really home in on what the customer is saying. Keep eye contact, use verbal nods, lean in to demonstrate your interest and continue to smile throughout. By doing this it will help with the next tip!
3. Acknowledge exactly what people say. If someone asks you for something then make sure that they know that you have heard them, by either repeating it back or using a phrase like, “That’s certainly something that I can help you with.” Research carried out by Dan Pink with waiters and waitresses confirmed that those who repeated a customer’s order back to them “word for word” saw an increase in tips by 70%! Even if you pick up on just one of the things that a customer shares with you as part of their request it will be far better than not doing it at all.
So there’s three simple tips that will help you to get off to a good start when interacting with your customers. If you do these it will make the interaction feel easy for the customer, more about “Being Easy” in our next lesson.
Something for you to have a think about, as humans we are good at holding moods! Often we can carry a mood from one interaction to another. This is not fair on the customers who we are interacting with nor do they get the level of service that they expect and deserve. Dogs on the other hand do not hold moods, they pick themselves up and quickly move on and so must we. “I know that if I was to put my dog and my wife in the boot of the car and leave them there for 3 hours, when I return, one of them will be pleased to see me.” Paul McGee
Enjoy being more dog like in your next customer interaction! Woof! Woof!