The Six Pillars Of Great Customer Service
I have developed a customer service training system called The Six Pillars of Great Customer Service which is the foundation for my overall marketing program called The Buyosphere. (Click this sentence to learn more about The Buyosphere.)
Simply put, in order to create the most effective interaction between an employee and a customer, these six elements, or pillars, must be present.
The Six Pillars of Great Customer Service include:
Employees are taught to smile, at a minimum, at the beginning and end of every interaction with customers. Smiling in the middle is also encouraged.
Employees are taught to open up a conversation with a customer with a warm, friendly and inviting salutation, like “Hi!” for example. That greeting is followed with an open-ended question: a question that requires something other than a yes or no answer. “What can I help you with?” is a good example.
A secondary part of the greeting is the Introduction. It is the time when the employee introduces themself by name and asks the customer for their name – then uses it throughout the conversation.
There are two levels of engagement. First, there’s the professional. Employees are taught to engage the customer about what they’re looking for, about what problem they need solved. Employees are taught to “ask the extra question.” That means that they will continue to fact-find, to ask additional questions that can help shed light on what can best fulfill the customer’s needs.
The second level of engagement is the personal. Employees are encouraged to ask questions about the customer’s personal life: “Where are you from?” “What brought you out today?” “What plans do you have this weekend?”
These questions are designed to knock down the walls that occur between two people who have never met each other. They establish a deeper level of trust with the customer, they help form a bond between the customer and the employee, by showing that the employee has a true interest in them.
Employees are taught to thank the customer, by name, and to shake the customer’s hand. Hearing our name stimulates our endorphins, as does having someone touch our skin. These two elements combined can leave a lasting impression on the customer.
5. Follow up
Employees are taught to gather contact information from the customer, so that the customer can be sent information that might benefit them: coupons, notification of sales, reminders of approaching scheduled service dates, promotional offers, giveaways, tips – you name it.
If the first four pillars have been established, then a higher level of trust has been created between the employee and the customer, and implementing the fifth pillar becomes much easier.
6. Serve chocolate
This could be the first pillar. If everything a company does is about making their customers (and employees) happy, then start with a huge bowl of chocolate on the customer counter. Chocolate starts a chemical reaction in our brain that releases natural opiates, creating an overall sense of well-being and happiness.
Scientists don’t know why chocolate does this, exactly. Does it matter? :)
Smile, greet, engage, thank, follow up and serve chocolate: These Six Pillars of Great Customer Service that I teach as part of The Buyosphere, are the foundation upon which customer and employee happiness, satisfaction and loyalty, and company revenue growth and longevity, can be built.
Shop happy. Serve happy. Be happy. For the greater good of us all.
Jonnie Wright is a customer service evaluator and trainer, professional secret shopper, marketing strategist and host of The Unsecret Shopper Radio Show, Saturday mornings 8-9am, on 1350, KRNT.
Click to email Jonnie (email@example.com)