Great Customer Service Training
Customer Service: Don't Take It Personally

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Getting yourself into the right frame of mind each day before you encounter the customer can be tough - because you have other stuff going on in your head apart from your (external or internal) customers. But it is, without question the right thing to do, and will on balance pay handsome dividends. But not always. This is because the customer can mess it up for us in double quick time. The customer never psyches themselves up to encounter you in the same way that you do to encounter them. It doesn't occur to them, because they (unlike you) have other priorities. In the customer's mind you've been up all night, waiting for them to make their entrance so that you can grovel in their presence and serve them to their hearts content. Do not feel despondent if the customer doesn't delight at your service. They don't have to - they are the customer. They expected it - and rightly so.

You, on the other hand, are supplying the service. You sit with the overhead, the stock, staff - you name it. The customer ambles in and assumes the role of high court judge, poking about here and there, making snide comments, and offering unsolicited opinions before generously rewarding you with a 7 out of 10. It's all a bit disheartening, really, particularly the rude ones with the old money who never earned it themselves in the first place, or the overly charming ones who owe you money because you were daft enough to extend them credit.

So, as any self respecting person learned in the school playground, you give them a bit of lip, throw in some sarcasm and put them in their place. And kiss your customer goodbye. They know you are not the only one selling pressed carrot & apple juice with a twinge of ginger - everyone does that now! So they have choices. You, on the other hand have made your bed. That, simplistically is why so many people don't develop a great service ethic. It's too disappointing. A bit like throwing goodwill into a bottomless pit. It feels like one is taking a personal risk. It's too much effort, made more difficult by too many idiot customers out there with inflated expectations.

Therein lies that customer service opportunity. Our human vulnerability causes us to miss the world's greatest business opportunity: Brilliant Customer Service! The more rude and unpleasant customers there are out there, the more misunderstanding and conflict will arise, and the greater the perceptions of poor service. The question is, what if you were the exception?

What if you and all the people that work with you realized that grumpy people don't have it in for you, they're grumpy with most other folk too. What if we understood, consciously, that some folk are rude today and polite tomorrow - especially when they realize how amazing you are.

What if we understood one of the best kept customer service training secrets in the world - that the customer's experience is in your hands, and that you strongly influence how they will feel about your business after they have left? What if we understood that we have the personal power to influence them to be nice?

People can be weird. A lot of them look weird too, like an advertisement of intent - just so you can see them coming. Change "people" to "customers". It doesn't matter what they look like or who they appear to be. The nicer you are, the nicer they get. The nastier you are, the ruder they will become. The power is really in your hands, because it's very difficult to withstand a barrage of genuine niceness for longer than a minute or 2. Being human, customers normally cave in and become their nice selves again.

Talking of weird, here's the strangest thing. Sometimes we discover that our first impressions of someone were wrong. Because you made the effort they turned out to be really, really nice. And then, perhaps they could became your biggest and best customer of all time and spent lots and lots of money with you and be happy.

All because you made the decision to be nice, and then acted on it. Think about that.

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