Are you a customer? The answer is obvious, but you might not think about yourself and your colleagues as each other’s internal customers. That’s right. We are even customers within our organizations. So, great customer service not only helps you with the customers that pay the bills and keep the lights on, great customer service can help your organization function at a higher level.
[The following is a brief excerpt from a new white paper. If you want to read the entire paper, just fill out this form and click “submit” for an immediate download.]
Communication can be simply deﬁned as, “The act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else.”
Data indicates employees spend 80% of their time communicating – that explains why organizations around the country are allocating funds to teach their staff how to communicate more effectively.
Since the inception of business, customer service has fallen into three categories: passive, average and proactive.
- Passive and average people wait for things to happen, and, in general, do the bare minimum.
- Proactive people make things happen and create positive situations.
Proactive people are naturally inquisitive. They use their personality.
Email communication is a fundamental component of everyday business. Email is ubiquitous and we easily forget that it has only been with us since the mid-90s. Before email existed, customer service and business communication was dominated by telephone calls, letters, faxes or face to face interaction. In a relatively short time period, email soared in popularity for both customer service and internal employee communication.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Life is a series of roles.” What does that mean exactly? It means we act and speak in different ways when we face different situations. We speak one way to our family and another way to our friends and still another way to our coworkers. We speak in yet another way to customers and it’s an important subject we’re going to look at.
Do you remember the old adage, “Actions speak louder than words”? That saying rings true, because it is. What we do tells our customers and our prospective customers a lot more about our company and values than anything we can ever say. In a great online article at Inc., Why the Best Companies Always Have the Best Customer Service, the author, Chris Haroun, offers examples of four companies known for great customer service: Apple, Amazon, Costco and SalesForce.
When you take the “friendly” out of Business Friendly, the only thing you have left is business – business as usual. And we all know that’s just not good enough.
You may be asking yourself, “What exactly is Business Friendly customer service?” We define it as the middle ground between being too cold, impersonal and uncaring, and the other extreme of being too familiar.
Open-ended and Closed-ended Questions
“The key to wisdom is knowing all the right questions.” —John A. Simone, Sr., Writer
We each ask dozens of questions every day, but how many of us have given any thought to questions as a topic? They’re important communication tools, so we decided to study them.
Writing is part of almost everyone’s work day. It’s a task that is harder for some and easier for others, but everyone can improve their business writing skills. Proficient writing takes practice and as with any skill “practice makes perfect.” The best communications stand out because they are clear, concise and effective.
Irate, rude, unhappy and sometimes abrasive customers can drain you emotionally.
Do any of these challenging customer interactions sound familiar?
- “The information you sent me is wrong! What’s the matter with you people? Can’t you read?”
- “My bill isn’t RIGHT! And this is NOT the first time, either! You all NEVER get anything right!”
- “I WANT MY MONEY BACK, AND I WANT IT NOW!