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To provide great customer service, the people who are communicating with the customers pretty much have to be able to do two things:
- Know what they are talking about
- Be nice
Of course, the company also needs to empower them to actually have the authority to be helpful, but those are two things they can control themselves. Even if they are hired by a company in a field new to them, they can learn about the products, the mission and everything else related to what they may need to know to provide the best customer service. The best of the best out there seek out information. Yup, companies offer training programs and some are better than others, but these helpful employees don’t just take on a victim mentality when training is bad or unclear. They want to learn more and they do figure out a way. Their interest and drive for more information ultimately helps their customers later on.
The best customer-centric people are also nice. They don’t yell. They don’t put people off. They find solutions. They know the rules well enough to figure out how to work within them to get things done. They know the importance of smiling to stay positive when a distressed customer needs something. They also know the importance of speedy response. On social medial, responding quickly is especially important, but let’s not forget about offline – where most of our lives happen.
The speed at which we respond on social media is also important
Some people have natural tendencies to be nicer than others. How do we find them and hire them for our organizations? Here are some ideas:
- Make it crystal clear in the job description that being nice is part of the culture – internally and externally. Being nice doesn’t mean being a pushover or never disagreeing either.
- Ask them about how they have worked through stressful situations. You’ll want the person who can stay calm and helpful, but also firm when things are stressful.
- Check their social media profiles. (Yes, if they are public, they are fair game.) It’s hard to see somebody being nice at work if they are not very nice on their Twitter account.
- Ask them about their general outlook on life. People with a positive, non-arrogant outlook and attitude may potentially be more suited for being nice to the customers.
- Find out if helping people comes natural to them. If something happens while they are waiting for their interview, for example, do they jump in to help?
Certainly, not everyone out there is nice or even wants to be. And it can also come down to the stories we tell ourselves and the ones our communities are playing back to us. If everyone has a bad attitude, of course, it’s so much easier to also have a bad attitude. When everyone makes it a point to be nice, friendly and helpful, many others will follow.
Of course, being nice alone isn’t enough. At the end of the day, customers want help getting some kind of problem fixed. So if companies have too many restrictive policies that prohibit nice employees from actually helping customers that won’t be enough either.
Hire nice people who know what they are talking about and give them the authority to help customers.