Trying to keep everyone happy doesn’t always workout as planned, especially when it comes to delivering the best customer service around. But all hope is not lost – there are savvy skills to gain insights into what the consumer wants, and how your team can best deliver it.
Here, BARE International shares an article by
‘Who hasn’t wished that they could read a customer’s mind? The good news is that, whatever your product, research tells us there are six basic things most customers want: individuality, understanding, kindness, to be their ideal selves, transparency and truth. The trick is that while most customers share these six wants, they don’t all want to receive them in the same way.
Identifying who a customer is and how they want to interact with you can sound like a tall order, so to make things easier, here’s a four-category breakdown based on the levels of emotional connection and linearity that customers want:
- Analyticals: these customers want a service person with fluid technical expertise that provides facts and supporting evidence with no emotional handholding.
- Intuitives: these customers want a service person that gets directly to the bottom line and recognizes that a customer’s time is valuable.
- Functionals: these customers want a highly process-oriented and detailed service person that takes a step-by-step (A thru Z) approach.
- Personals: these customers want a service person that is friendly, warm and informal. They are looking to build a relationship.
You probably recognize some of your existing customers in these four categories. Maybe you know a Personals who requires you to block out your calendar when you meet because you know they are going to want chat. Or perhaps you’ve got an established relationship with an Analyticals who gets impatient unless you come loaded to a meeting with lots of numbers and facts.
It shouldn’t be hard to identify the customers you already know, but what if you’re interacting with a new customer? Here, you’ll want to look for verbal indicators that tell you something about who this person is. You can also take the online quiz “What’s Your Communication Style?” to learn your style.
Intuitives, for example, may sound impatient or rushed. They may speak fast and will probably try and dodge small talk. That’s not a bad thing, they’re telling you who they are, so listen and respond by getting right to the bottom line. Analyticals tend to be a bit suspicious and may ask questions such as “Are you sure that is the right price?” or “Did you ring up the coupon correctly?” Use the clues these customers are giving and provide lots of solid information to satisfy their suspicious nature. Functionals may ask you to backtrack or try to establish some order by asking “What happens next?” Take note of this and make sure to let these process-oriented customers know what is happening every step of the way. Personals are usually easy to identify. These are the customers who are chatty, use “feeling” words, and often require extra time.
One big point to note here is that using scripted questions like “How can I help you today?” or “How’s it going today?” typically fail to get real answers and can damage customer service interactions. If, for example, a customer is calling a tech support line, it’s already clear they are having problems. Asking how they are is an open invite to the customer to let you know just how stressed and unhappy they truly are. Wouldn’t you rather start the interaction on a positive and solutions forward note?
Studies show rapport building really only works when people are in a customer service situation by choice, and that makes sense. You’re going to have a much different mindset waiting on line at the bank to make a deposit, for example, then you will while waiting at the dentist for an emergency appointment because your tooth just broke.
Instead, start with an emotionally intelligent interaction framework of understanding that lets the customer know they will be deeply understood and listened to. Here’s a three-step approach that I suggest:
1. My job is to listen to you, gather some information and then help you _____ (e.g. diagnose the problem, fix the problem, etc.).
2. Let’s talk for a few minutes about _______.
3. Then we’ll see if there’s anything else you’d like to share. Then we’ll ______(e.g. do a test, move on, review, etc.) Does that sound ok?”
Step 1 provides transparency because you’re telling the customer ‘here’s the process and how we’re going to walk through it.’ This is the ideal language for the Functionals, Intuitives will love this as you’ve just reassured them that you’re not going to waste their time while Analyticals will be impressed with your scientific approach to providing assistance. Step 2 reassures the customer that all their information will be heard. This will soothe Personals who will feel safe knowing that there’s no rush while also assuring the no nonsense Intuitives that you are sensitive to the value of their time. Step 3 gives the customer a sense of control and reaffirms that you are there to understand their needs. Every customer will appreciate this.
Of course, a customer’s needs can change based on factors including level of urgency, internal political pressure, proximity to purchase time, needs outside normal operating parameters and pressure from the external world. These are all factors to which you’ll need to be sensitive.
Bottom line, the more we recognize that customers are individuals, the more likely we are to treat customers favorably and to build strong customer relationships. Understanding that customers are individuals, achieving a deep understanding with them, really getting into their issues and making them feel they’re getting truth and transparency from us goes a long way and gives us entry to the psychology of our customers. And the deeper we go; the more likely customers are to return to us and to tell others how great it is doing business with us.’
Link to the full article here.
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