PHOENIX, Ariz., March 11, 2003 – Utilities that treat their customers better and put heart into client interactions will have a real competitive advantage in the future.
“The good news about putting heart into interactions with customers is that this is one of the easiest things for employees to do,” says David Saxby, president of Phoenix-based Measure-X, a company that specializes in helping utilities improve their customer service and sales. “That can have a very positive impact on customers.”
Saxby offers the following five suggestions on how utility employees can put heart into customer contact.
“- No 1. Communicate in a way that improves the customer’s comprehension of the message. “That helps build rapport with the customer and that’s one of the least expensive and most powerful skills employees can have,” Saxby says. “Fifty-five percent of what we communicate comes from body language, 38 percent comes from the tone of our voice and 7 percent comes from the words we say.”
“- No. 2. Personalize interactions. Everyone likes to hear the sound of their own name and using a customer’s name is an easy way to develop rapport, Saxby notes. “This technique also signals to your customer that you’re paying attention and that they are more than a number or just another caller,” he says.
“- No 3. Understand the customer’s need. Productive phone calls for both employees and customers occur when employees know how to ask appropriate questions to understand the client’s need or concern, Saxby says. “Asking open-ended questions that require the customer to provide more than a simple yes or no will help the employee determine the need and provide a solution,” he adds.
“- No. 4. Tell your customers you appreciate them. “The simple words ‘thank you’ are often overlooked in most customer interactions,” Saxby explains. “Each and every customer that interacts with your company should be hearing a sincere thank you from your employees, no matter what the reason for the call.”
“- No. 5. Encourage customers to call back. When ending a conversation, give your customer your name and encourage them to call you with any additional questions, Saxby suggests. Let customers know that you are there to serve them, he adds.
“The missing connection with your customers is simple – get connected to them,” Saxby says. “Put your heart into it and treat customers like they are humans. Let them know you hear what they’re saying, that you appreciate them and that you want to help them.”
Measure-X is a measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skills. For more information on Measure-X, call 888-644-5499 or visit its Web site at www.measure-x.com.