The 5 L’s Of Awesome Customer Service
I am a new father for the third time as of last Friday. I am pleased to announce that my wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy and both baby and mom are doing great. Along with a new baby comes the need to dust off the essential knowledge and skills for surviving the first three months — a period of time marked by less sleep, less social life and certainly long periods of crying and screaming.
This describes our first child prior to discovering the book, The Happiest Baby On The Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. In this book he outlines his five S’s which are Swaddle, Side/stomach laying, Shush, Swing and Suck (aka pacifier). The premise of his method is that many babies enter the world about three months too early and those least prepared to face the world are often the most difficult babies. His method essentially simulates the environment babies were used to in the womb.
Having now used this method on three babies of our own, my wife and I are convinced that it works and have recommended it to friends who approach us for advice. While I recognize that all babies are different, it’s at least worth a try if nothing else is working.
When customers call customer service for assistance, they are often new to your product or service and new to your policies and procedures as a company. If they face an impatient customer service representative, this very well could result in lost sleep and a significant amount of weeping for all parties involved.
I was hard-pressed to come up with a list of S words that drives home my point, but here are five L’s that will surely help your customers better acclimate to your company in a way that keeps them coming back.
1. Listen– From the get go, take a moment to really listen and hear what the customer has to say. Don’t merely listen for cues only to cut them off when you think you’ve heard enough. While you may know the right answer, if you cut the customer off and don’t hear them out, they may not feel like anyone truly heard them.
2. Live and Learn- The amazing thing about human beings is that everyone has a different perspective on life and a different way of doing things. It is critical that you learn where the customer is coming from. Understand how they are approaching your system and what their needs are. If you can, “live” in their shoes for a bit. By understanding them and their needs, you are so much better equipped to serve them.
3. Look- As you are working with the customer, look for any and all ways to make their experience a success. When you understand their needs, you can anticipate what they may need without them specifically asking you for it. This potentially prevents the inconvenience of having to call customer service multiple times.
4. Long-suffering- Webster’s dictionary defines this as “suffering for a long time without complaining.” I like this word so much better than patience. The business of serving people is often messy because people are messy. In an effort to listen and truly understand people, patience is required and can often be considered suffering.
5. Love- To serve another by doing the previous four L’s is truly to love them. Certainly other signs of affection are welcomed as well, including kind words or hand-written thank you notes.
I will never proclaim this list to be simple and easy to execute. I will however say that this formula has proven time and time to be effective with even the most difficult customers. When I approach my work and life with these five L’s, I find a tremendous sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.