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To have a quality staff that respects themselves, their management and their customers, it is imperative to have a good internal customer service program for everyone to follow:

1. CREATE EFFECTIVE FIRST IMPRESSIONS.  Because that first (and critical) impression is made in as little as seven seconds, it is imperative to immediately form a good first impression. Our posture, appearance, attitude and communication skills can create a professional, welcoming environment that encourages business…or it can repel people…even if our prices are the best.

Meet and Greet–where the most common mistakes are made in the customer service process. These first few moments set the tone for the entire interaction. By energetically and professionally welcoming your customer, you make successful customer interactions not only possible, but very likely. Customers want to be 1) recognized, 2) appreciated, and 3) treated with courtesy and understanding.  To accomplish this, you have to be at your best in the meet and greet stage of the service process AND know what your customers truly want!  You don’t want customers to get turned off in the first few moments of their interaction by someone making a negative impression so the customer chooses to take their business elsewhere.  A slovenly appearance, negative body language and annoyance lack of interest can send someone heading for the door. Be open, focused, well groomed and looking at the situation from their point of view.  Think about the characteristics that make you want to do business with someone.

Following are some relationship-damaging mistakes you want to avoid at all costs:

Ignoring waiting customers:  Sometimes we are short-staffed or too busy with current customers to help a waiting customer immediately; HOWEVER, never ignore a waiting customer. Establish eye contact, wave, or say something like “I’ll be right with you” to let the customer know that you are aware of them and will get to them as soon as you can.

Distractions:  It is easy to become distracted by other customers, other responsibilities, and the variety of other things going on at the same time. When customers see that you are distracted, they sense other priorities are more important.

Answering questions or taking calls while assisting a customer:  It is challenging to make every customer feel equally valued, and some customers try to push their way to the head of the line.  Don’t let these customers overstep earlier customers,  rather, say a few friendly words to the individual indicating that you will help them as soon as you are finished serving the current customer.

Giving a bored, indifferent greeting: Greet the customer with energy and be more creative than, “May I help you?” Make it a fun,  personal challenge to say something specific, which will make the greeting portion of the sales process more interesting and rewarding.  Get staff involved and create one specific one for your company.  “How can I help you with your computer selection today?” 

Although customers are all different, certain basic principles apply to nearly all of us, and you can safely assume that most customers are looking for the same things in their interactions with you as you would with them.

For more information on a seminars or personal coaching, contact Rita Rocker, National Speaker, Communications, Image and Presentations Coach, Transformation Academy, 402-968-3250 rita@transformationacademy.com, www.transformationacademy.