by Jayne Kowal in eZineArticles.com 5/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
It is not enough to have Business Goals & Strategies related to providing an excellent customer service experience. It isn’t even enough to have a philosophy of “Service excellence”. While these are foundations, service is about interactions & execution, every employee is responsible for how they manage interactions with customers (both internal & external) and this includes identifying needs. Identifying a Customer’s need occurs through Active Listening & Effective Communication + overcoming the Challenges.
ACTIVE LISTENING is “listening with all three ears”. To be effective, you need to hear what is being said with 2 ears and understand the emotions with the 3rd. Emotion is interpreted through tone, voice inflection, body language & your own intuition (gut feeling). Active listening contains three concepts: words, tone of voice & body language (55% of communication comes from our body language).
Here are some Examples of using active listening to identify needs…
1) A live “confused” customer doesn’t seem to understand about your Service Options (i.e., setup, membership options, coverage, etc). Their need = help – identified through their body language).
2) You have been dealing with an “upset” customer over the phone. The customer seemed happy, but after hanging up, you feel like they may not be 100% satisfied Their need = further follow up, identified through your intuition)
3) A “normal” customer always wants to talk. He is always cheerful, uses open gestures, smiles, yet needs nothing specifically. He asks you a lot of questions and is eager to share personally relevant information about himself. Their need = value as a person, identified by the body language, tone of voice & words)
The key to communication is simple, clear, positive & enthusiastic. Customers choose to use your business because they have needs (i.e., they need an answer, information, support or advice, someone to talk to, a way of increasing their physical activity, a pass or membership, financial security, etc). You find out what a customer needs by asking and then actively listening to their response. Your goal is to understand three things:
1) What they want, 2) When they want it. 3) How they plan to use it.
Customers are not always able to articulate what they need. By asking key questions and probing for more information you can define their need.
Remember, ALL customers need to feel valued.
1. Blockages. What gets in the way of your ability to Actively Listen ? Identify the biggest barrier and create a way to significantly reduce or eliminate.
2. How can you convey the Value of your Product ? Once you have accurately assessed a Customer’s Needs, your next step in the process of engagement is to efficiently & effectively meet their needs. This means doing it “right” & doing the “right thing”.
(Challenges continued in Premium Content + more subjects)