When Customers Ignore You
5 Business building tips that cost nothing

Remember the days when people noticed good customer service, talked about
it, and most importantly – rewarded you for it? Happy customers would return
and spread the word. In today’s fast paced world however, people are so
rushed moving to the next thing, or so distracted their mobile devices, that
good customer service is overlooked. Fortunately, as I share in my seminars,
there are several easy things you can do that will enhance your service and
boost your business which your customers will actually notice. Best of all,
they cost you nothing. Here are five for starters…

Be the voice of reason

Here’s an insider secret I discovered when clients started bringing me in to
assess and offer feedback on their call centres. You can generally tell
within 10 seconds whether the service rep will calm the customer or irritate
them. It’s not what the employee says – it’s the sound of their voice when
they say it. Employees who have thin or high voices, mumble, or add useless
words (ya know, kinda, sorta, fer sure) garner less respect from customers
than those who are more articulate. Conversely, when you lower your tone and
enunciate – by crispening-up your consonants and rounding-out your vowels –
you’ll be perceived as more reasonable and intelligent. By watching your
language you’ll transition in the customer’s mind from being merely a clerk
or order taker into becoming a Trusted Advisor.

Show-off your homework

Today’s customers are so busy trying to juggle the demands of work, home,
family, finances, and errands, that they are amazed when someone goes to the
trouble to do some homework and find out about them. So, before a client
meeting, spend a few minutes doing a web search on the customer and the
company. Start the conversation with a few comments along the lines of, “I
read that you have…” “I noticed on your website…” It’s a wonderful way
of demonstrating your intelligence while focusing on the customer. In the
customer’s mind that makes you brilliant.

Listen loudly

Customers are impressed by your knowledge; not your product knowledge per se
– that’s taken for granted. Customers are more impressed by your knowledge
of their unique individual needs. Today’s customers are assaulted by
information coming at them: tweets, emails, sound bites, and micro-ads. That
means you’ll be noticed more if you if you’re a good listener rather than a
smooth talker. It’s not enough to just listen to customer needs and then
offer solutions. You need to be perceived as listening. Fortunately, this is
as easy as saying two words after your customer explains their needs:
“Sounds like…” Starting your comments with sounds like forces you to
paraphrase your understanding of their needs. It’s also a great lead-in to
expressing empathy, as in, “It sounds like you’ve had a frustrating time
trying to fix this.” You’ll be seen as someone who truly gets your customer.
That’s listening loudly. And customers do notice.

Make time shrink

Imagine a customer or co-worker asks you to send them information that might
normally be sent the next day. You could say, “I won’t be able to send it to
you until tomorrow.” Or perhaps, “I’ll send it first thing in the morning.”
Contrast those responses with, “You’ll receive it within 24 hours.” The 24
hour statement sounds like a stronger commitment because it’s specific. And
it sounds faster because you’re talking hours not days. By changing your
wording you appear to make time shrink. Customers will take notice.

Close the loop

In attempting to grow our business we are often so focused on gaining more
customers that we neglect those we already have. Case in point is when we
deliver a product or service without any follow-up. Closing the loop can be
as simple as leaving a 20 second voice mail message with the customer
stating that you’re making a courtesy check-in call to ensure that
everything’s OK with their purchase. Heck – forget 20 seconds – next time a
co-worker sends you an email request, once you’ve completed it, take five
seconds and reply to their email with one word. “Done”. Again, you will be

Bottom line… These tips for getting noticed by customers and coworkers
simply require a few adjustments to the way employees communicate. It isn’t
complicated. Which is why I call this approach to enhancing internal and
external customer service Influence with Ease©.

This article is based on the book, Influence with Ease by customer service
strategist and certified professional speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your
own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit
www.jeffmowatt.com or call toll free 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288).