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Two phrases to enhance trust

Humility vid 2Some people assume the best way to impress others is to say the right things. Ironically, people are more drawn to you when you’re seen less as a smooth talker, and more as a strong listener. In this video on humility and listening skills, you’ll discover two phrases that help prove to others that you are indeed worthy of their trust.

Three words to calm customers and boost your business

Here’s a simple way to create a more positive impression the next time a customer or co-worker requests something, Don’t respond with the typical: Ok, I’ll handle it, I’ll deal with it, etc. Instead, tell the person you’ll take care of it. Consider the difference… while each phrase indicates you’ll comply, with the preferred wording you also convey that you’ll do so with caring. Telling someone you’ll deal with an issue makes it sound like an ordeal. Saying instead you’ll take care of something implies you’re a guardian who will guide the request to completion. You can use this same phrase to offer additional services: “Would it be helpful if we also took care of this other issue for you?” Those three words – take care of - make it easier for customers to feel good about doing more business with you.

They’re Everyone’s Customer

Ignoring customersA client of mine, a senior manager of a mid-sized company, explained to me, “Many employees are fixated on their own jobs and not focused enough on the customer.” As an example he shared, “A customer may walk from the equipment yard to the showroom, to the repair shop; passing within eyeshot of a dozen employees. If they aren’t directly in sales for that specific area, they seem to believe it’s not their job to talk to that customer or offer to help.” Later, in my seminar for all staff, we talked about when customers defect because they feel ignored, how it impacts everyone’s job security. The lesson is there’s no room for anyone adopting the attitude of, “It’s not my customer.” Or, “It’s not my problem if another department drops the ball.” Instead, people who phone-in or visit are everyone’s customer.

How to compete with a Screen

ScreensAt a recent speaking engagement in Toronto I witnessed something disturbing at Pearson International Airport that has implications for everyone who interacts with customers. In several waiting areas and restaurants, there are now touchpads offering internet access and video games STATIONED IN FRONT OF EVERY SEAT. That means if you want to chat with a travelling companion or family member you have to compete for their attention with a screen stationed at their fingertips. I saw an excited toddler taking uneasy steps next to her mom who was too focused on the screen to take notice. While I appreciate the marvels of technology (which I’m using to send you this tip) there are unintended consequences.

Aside from the assault on our humanity as fallout from our inexorable compulsion to look at shiny bright screens, pay attention to these two trends in your business: 1. Customer attention spans are shortening.  2. Our verbal communication skills are atrophying. That means when talking with customers, your messaging needs to be compelling and efficient. Chances are, unless you equip your team members with training on how to do just that, their ability to engage with customers – and build loyalty – will wane.

 

It’s NOT about what the customer asks for

Understand needsWhen you think about it, the only way a customer or coworker is going to think of you as a Trusted Advisor, is if they believe that you understand not only their immediate need, but that you also get what they’re ultimately looking to achieve. People who just focus on the customer’s request become transaction oriented. That’s a problem because there’s low perceived value in processing transactions.

On the other hand, when you talk with people about what they are ultimately hoping to achieve, you demonstrate that you’re thinking not just tactically; but strategically. Clarifying strategic intent proves that you are thinking at a higher level than sometimes your customers themselves. That goes a long way towards you being valued as a trusted advisor. For examples of how you can apply this, check out my new on-line course, the Trusted Advisor Transformation. Courtesy reminder - introductory pricing of this course expires Dec 3rd.

Inform without Arguing

Inform wo ArguingAs you’ve no doubt observed, the customer is not always right. However, the customer is always the customer. So, when customers sometimes have their facts wrong you need to be able to correct them without being argumentative. That’s when Ron Willingham’s popular feel, felt, found formula is so effective. The way it works is when a customer says something you disagree with, you reply along the lines of, “I understand how you feel. Other customers have felt the same way. And what they eventually found was (based on this new fact or information that you’re introducing)…” Essentially, you’re starting your response by validating their concerns and showing empathy. That demonstrates to customers that you’re not becoming defensive or dismissive. Then, you introduce new information the customer may not be aware of. We can indeed reduce customer conflicts. The trick is to disagree without being disagreeable.

The Language of Trust

PirateYou've no doubt noticed that in certain workplaces the language tends to be... salty. Typical places you hear the banter become blue are dockyards, construction sites, and of course the House of Commons. In my summer jobs as a youth working as a labourer and truck driver in the oilpatch, I noticed that profanity became such a common habit (including for me I have to admit) that lots of guys just used the F-word as a universal adjective because it was easier than thinking of something more descriptive. That's the problem.  These days swearing is so common it comes across as lazy language. Swearing around customers and coworkers says a lot: we are oblivious to the other person's possible sensibilities, we aren't intelligent enough to choose a more appropriate word, and we don't exactly exude class. Becoming a trusted advisor is also about what you chose not to say.

 

Was this helpful?   For additional information on this topic:  Influence and Persuasion Skills 

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Jeff Mowatt is a customer service speaker, customer service trainer, award-winning speaker, and best selling author. To inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit www.JeffMowatt.com

In Praise of Quieter Communications

In a world of TV ads that blare, emails that SHOUT IN ALL CAPS, and employees who talk when they should listen, consider the advantages of making your customer communications quieter. Here are four touch points I share in my seminars when a strong/silent approach will differentiate you positively in your customers’ hearts and wallets.

To read the complete article click: “In Praise of Quieter Communications”

Wishy-Washy or in Command?

Whether you’re coaching a team at a soccer practice, or discussing a proposal in a meeting, there are times when you are expected to take control. Compare two presenters reviewing a project with her team. First presenter: “Ok, that’s if for page 5. Would you kindly turn to page 6 please?” Second presenter: “Ok, that’s it for page 5. Please turn to page 6.” The second presenter, while still being polite, sounds more decisive, in control, and instills more confidence. I believe most of the time, we should ask – not tell. However, on those occasions when you are expected to, go ahead and take command.

Leaders Speak Last in Meetings

If you’ve ever watched a great leader in a meeting you may notice a subtle technique that runs contrary to common behavior. Rather than dominating the discussion on each agenda item (a temptation for ego-driven, insecure people with a title), the savvy leader merely introduces a subject, then listens for input. She observes how each member of her team contributes, debates, reasons and interacts. Then, she announces her decision; acknowledging the comments and arguments of those who’ve contributed. She’s thereby perceived to be decisive, inclusive and a powerful leader. When it comes to meetings, smart leaders have the last word.

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