Good customer service it starts with understanding customers buy from people, not brands. So, when a customer walks into a butcher’s shop to purchase a pork chop, what they’re really shopping for is a human connection.
The great news is that if a customer finds this connection in your business, that same customer will be eager to return again for more of the same.
Establishing a human (or personal) connection with customers comes from successfully connecting with them on an emotional level. This involves feeling empathy for customers during your customer conversations and expressing concern for them in your actions. Achieving a personal connection with customers is easier when you focus on what your customers think, want and feel, and when you put your customers first.
In 2009, a Genesys Global Survey exploring The Cost of Poor Customer Service found that by far the most requested improvement from customers was “Better Human Service.”
Creating a human connection with customers will also influence their overall impression and experience of your business. It’s interesting to note, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (Source: McKinsey, 2006) and that 55% of Australians would try a new brand or company for a better service experience (Source: Australian Data in the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 2011).
Four Ways for You to Get Personal with Customers today:
- See Customers As Individuals.
- Whether you connect with customers face-to-face, online or over the phone, customers will be reluctant to purchase from you if they sense you’re selling them a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to see every customer is an individual. The sooner you acknowledge this and start to deliver individual, personalised service to each customer the sooner you’ll see a significant increase in your sales.
- Ask Questions to Discover What Customers Really Need.
- By asking targeted questions in a conversational style, it’s easy to quickly and efficiently discover what your customer really needs from you and your business. It’s your role as a sensational service provider to establish a comfortable rapport with customers so they feel happy and willing to share key information with you.
- The further you can successfully ‘drill down’ to discover what’s really driving their purchase, the greater your chances of delivering a highly personal product your customer won’t hesitate to purchase.
- Actively Listen to Customers.
- It’s common for customers to reveal clues about what they really want during conversations with service staff. Unfortunately though, these vital clues can be lost if service staff don’t bother to listen carefully. Make the effort to actively listen to your customers and use the information they give you—however subtle—to help determine the most appropriate product or service for their needs. When you get the product right, it confirms to the customer you’ve been paying attention and are invested in providing a solution that’s personal to them.
- Highlight the Personal Benefits of a Product or Service.
- One of the best ways to ensure customers feel completely satisfied with their purchase is to share the personal benefits of the product or service during your customer conversations. A customer may show interest in a product’s features (such as extended battery life or colour range) but what a customer really wants to know is how the product will personally benefit them. So, if a customer mentions they’re shopping for a blender to create quick and easy breakfast options, then highlighting a product’s ‘Five second smoothie’ function and its ‘rinse and go’ cleaning system will instantly make the product appealing—and personal—to the customer.
Delivering a product or service that demonstrates you’ve understood a customer’s individual needs will instantly confirm to a customer they’re in safe hands and have found that human-to-human connection they’ve been searching for.
Getting personal with customers provides a fantastic opportunity for service staff to deliver inspired, personal solutions to customer problems and to serve up memorable interactions that customers will want to share with others.
And do you know what else? Experiencing that human connection gives customers such a satisfying buzz that it won’t be long before they return for more!
If you would like to learn more about creating a human connection in your business, we have lots of tips in ‘Turning Customer Service Into a Competitive Advantage’.
This core module is included when you purchase the ‘Essential Service Skills’ online learning program. In this module, you’ll discover the two intertwined components that keep customers coming back. And we give you tips on how to optimise your customer experience in-store, online and on the phone.
It is a bit of a ‘thunderbolt’ moment!