Last week I wrote about a great example of customer service. Free pizza was involved. So, yum.
A friend who happens to own a business wrote to me about that post. He cautioned me about equating a shareworthy customer experience with giving something away for free, an action not always compatible with good business. He encouraged me and our team to tell stories that don’t give away something for free.
Good idea. Then this happened.
Last week, I had the opportunity to tour a housing complex in a city to which my husband and I will be relocating in the spring. The listing agent provided great customer service. There was no free pizza. But as I unpacked that experience, I found a few behaviors common to Shareworthy Service that don’t cost anything more than time and effort.
- Appear unhurried. The listing agent had a desk full of work and a lobby bustling with residents, but she gave us her time without giving the impression she had somewhere else to be.
- Remember names. This listing agent had given my husband a tour the week before. She remembered his name and his situation. That gave us confidence that we were more than just a potential sale (even if in reality, that’s exactly what we were!).
- Listen well. As we expressed some concerns, the listing agent picked up on the questions we were really asking. We asked “Is this primarily student housing?” She sensed we were really asking “Are we too old to live here?” And when she mentioned her 91 year old resident, she put our minds at ease!
- Limit interruptions. Though the phone was ringing and people were walking by asking questions, we remained the focus of her attention.
- Smile. Your customers deserve your best self. If you engage the customer on their terms with a smile, it means leaving your troubles or stresses out of the conversation. Our listing agent’s countenance was cheerful and happy, and she smiled naturally.
To deliver Shareworthy Service you must commit to being aware. To being fully present for your customer. To setting aside self as you serve.
And none of those things costs you a dime.
As a business owner, you must train and reward for these behaviors. You must create systems, policies and procedures that make it worth it for your employees to set aside their hurried, stress-filled lives to focus on your customers in a way that is Shareworthy. And it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you more, because we know there are things employees value more than money.
(If you are an business owner or manage people in any capacity, stop now and click on that link. It’s filled with smart Harvardy advice that will transform how you reward your employees.)
I’m curious, what makes you feel valued as a customer? So valued that you want to tell others about your experience? That’s what we call Shareworthy Service. Head on over to our Facebook page and tell us your story. We’ll be listening in an unhurried way with a smile on our collective faces!