Is the customer always right? In a world where we are getting more and more customer-focused, the customer has been slowly and steadily gaining more and more power. But in a world where our clients are always holding the power, organizations have turned repeatedly to YES. Whatever they want, whatever the cost we are “Customer Service focused”.
Let me be the first to tell you, that’s not always a good business decision. Blindly groveling to their every whim and demand can skyrocket costs and keep you in an endless series of fire drills. This will cripple your team, cause burnout, dissatisfaction, and when the fire drill is your culture, your customers will eventually feel the heat.
So how can you still give great customer service and protect your business? By adding one simple word: “And”. That’s right, I’m going to the first principle of Improv comedy.
This does two critical things.
You get to say yes. Saying yes acknowledges their needs, it gives them comfort and confirmation. Your customers expect you to say yes.
The And allows you to put the choice back on the customer.
Yes, we can do that; And it’s going to cost more.
Yes, I can make that work; And I need to get approval from my manager.
Yes, I hear that this is a priority; And I’m going to need a minute to see how we can expedite your request.
A Yes without an And does not provide value. You have not qualified what that Yes is going to mean. If you’re always running around breaking your back for your customers, the customer expects that to be the norm. It sets their expectations for the next time, and whether or not it was a good business decision, you’re now stuck doing it forever.
The And provides even more value! The And allows you to make customers feel special. The And gives you a way out.
What does it take to effectively use the Yes/And with a client? Great leadership! It takes confidence and great communication skills to tactfully employ the Yes/And. Improvement is not a skill robots have, and if you treat your customer service team like machines you’re not going to see results. That means we’re going to have to develop, train and support our employees to be better communicators and build their confidence. That starts with leadership.
If you’re interested in bringing more leadership to your customer service team, contact Megan Robinson to learn more about the Emerging Leader Experience.