Laurie McIntosh, editor, facilitator, and writer of Business Training works said ”You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work.” It is easy to become tired and let your customer service skills slip but the best and quickest way to get back your “customer service mojo” is to go back to the basics. It is easy to get stuck in a rut.
Basic skills are easy to remember with P.E.A.C.H.E.S.
Many artists in the Renaissance period symbolically used peaches to represent the heart and using P.E.A.C.H.E.S is a good way to remember to keep your heart in the interaction and give your customers the best treatment and more memorable experience.
- Plain and concise language – Keep your explanations simple and easy to understand. It is tempting to use technical jargon, acronyms, slang, and colloquialisms, but this is something to avoid. Some believe that using “big words” with their customers is going to make them sound smarter or more authoritative, while in reality, it can cause more confusion for the customer, and even a misunderstanding, that may cause issues down the road.
- Empathy (not sympathy)- The difference between empathy and sympathy is a small, but very important. Being empathetic allows you, the customer service representative, to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and understand where they are coming from while simultaneously helping you do your job and help protect the company’s interest.
- Active listening – When you are actively listening you are making your customers feel heard. Give your customer your undivided attention and show them that you are listening by repeating back what they say. For example; “Thank you Mrs. Customer, I understand that your problem is X, Y, and Z and I am happy to assist you further”
- Courtesy – Be polite and have respect for the person you are talking to. This goes double for the customer calling in already upset. When you speak respectfully to someone and use “please” and “thank you” they are more likely to respond accordingly. Courtesy goes a long way in making the experience a positive one.
- Humanize your customer – Remember that the customer is a human too and, therefore, is not perfect. Take each interaction as if it was your first. The customer does not care if they are the first person you spoke to or the 45th person. Remember that they are asking for your help for a reason. That reason, while you are assisting them, is the only thing that matters to you at that moment. It doesn’t matter if your lunch break is coming up or if this is the end of your day.
- Exercise patience – Be patient with the person you are assisting. You may know that the solution to the problem is an “easy one” (to you) but it might not be for your customer. They are asking for your expertise because they do not know. Remain patient if they do not understand what you are saying the first time. It is your job to be the expert. Show them that they were lucky to get you to help them.
- Say their name – Make sure you are pronouncing it correctly. Even if you have to double-check on how to pronounce it, they will appreciate the effort. They may even offer you an easier name to call them. If you need to, use a notepad to discreetly spell it out phonetically. Using a customer’s name multiple times, at minimum three times for an average interaction, communicates respect for that customer and lets them know that they are important.
There you have it, P.E.A.C.H.E.S. These back-to-basic techniques will provide a better experience for you and your customer and help keep your customers happy.
It’s easy after the 76th interaction of the day to feel like you are going through the motions, but remember, you could be the ONLY person that your customer is going to be talking to today, not 76. So make it a memorable experience for them, make them want to come back and get help from you, and make them happy that they chose to do business with your company