My entire work history has been, in one way or another, customer-oriented. From food service, to retail, to the financial industry, I have interacted and taught interaction. One of the most difficult obstacles I have faced in both teaching and doing is communicating effectively. As an advocate for technological advancement, I just don’t get how some people just don’t get it. Working in a retail environment and trying to explain the latest product features to someone from a different generation can be a challenge even to the most patient people. There are some, however, who know what you are talking about and understand that we live in the 21st century; I would like to thank them for keeping up with the inevitable technological evolution. Here are three tips to help avoid unnecessary frustration and create a positive experience for yourself, and more importantly, the customer.
1. “The customer is always right… even when they are not”
No matter how frustrated you get or how many times you have explained the same thing. Stay patient and listen. Are they asking questions? Are they taking charge of the conversation? Many times the customer may be embarrassed that they don’t know something and will avoid asking questions. On this note, if you do not know, don’t pretend to know, and offer a solution of “learning together.” They will have a much better experience, and most likely a purchase, if you learn with them and show them how to use something. Some of the older generations are avid readers; let them know about what resources are available to them. If possible, print them some information; which leads me to my next point.
2. “Know your business and its resources”
One of my favorite tools is my company’s internal website. It is a vast collection of information on what we offer, what the benefits are, and even step-by-step instructions on how to process these requests. From here, I also have access to printouts for customers who prefer to take in the information on their own time. If your company does not have a resource like this, get one, and if you do, make sure your employees know it is there for them! It is a huge help.
3. “Stay calm and be happy!”
Why are we here? This is not a deep philosophical question, the answer is simple, the customer. In many situations, no customers means no work! Stay calm and patient with every customer, they are keeping you in business. No matter how little you perceive their impact to be on the business, if you are cross or rude to every “small” customer you run a risk of pushing away a lot of your business. Do you know why? That “small” customer will tell their two friends, who will tell their two friends, you get the picture. Be happy and appreciative of every customer and it will pay off.
Most of this seems like common sense right? The answer is yes, to most; however, I am saying it for a reason. I have noticed employees, and I am guilty of it myself, get frustrated and impatient with customers who require a little more attention. Follow these three tips and you will have happier customers and a happier self.
Brian Vote is new to the financial service industry and has been in his current position as a Management Trainee at New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union since July of 2012. Brian's previous professional experience comes from retail and retail management. He holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing Management from the Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico.