Did you know a genuine smile and a name can up your customer service game?

I love a good customer experience and know how critical good nonverbal and verbal communication are to creating that experience.  So many service providers miss the boat so-to-speak when it comes to truly delivering outstanding service.  How unfortunate.  Then, there are others who get it … and do it.

This past week, I was on vacation with my honey Rick and my Father.  We went on a cruise (my Dad’s first) and had a fabulous time.  Throughout the week my Dad kept commenting about how nice the people were.  He was referring to those who worked on the ship.  This got me thinking about customer service and communication.  What were the folks on the ship doing that was making our experience so great?

https://pixabay.com/en/smile-ball-yellow-837661/ONE.  Smiles.

Not just the phone-it-in kind, the genuine kind.  When we passed a “crew member” they would flash a genuine smile at us, communicating they were truly happy we were on the ship with them.  It made us feel important and welcomed.  What customer doesn’t want to feel those things?!  Notice however, the word genuine. Customers are smart and they know if the smile you put on is, well, a put on.  If you want to learn more about the benefits of smiling, check out this video: Ron Gutman’s TedTalk The Power of Smiling.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hello_my_name_is_sticker.svgTWO.  Names.

If we stepped outside of our room and our room steward saw us, he always greeted us with a “Hello, Mr. Ricky and Ms. Jeannette”.  Each night when we arrived at the dining room, the hostess said to my Father, “Welcome back, Alfred.  We are happy to see you again.”  Again, we felt important and welcomed; making our customer experience a great one.

There are a few things I would be remiss if I did not suggest when it comes to using names.

  1. To remember a customer’s name, say it back to them right away and then use association to store it in your brain.  For example, I met a couple on the ship with the names Loretta and Charles.  To remember Loretta’s name I pictured my Aunt who has the same name.  To remember Charles’s name, I sang the theme song from the sitcom Charles in Charge in my head (yes, I know that dates me, but it worked!)
  2. When you say a customer’s name, say it right.  In other words, pronounce it correctly.  If you aren’t sure how to pronounce it, tell them it is important to you to get their name right and you’d like them to teach you how to say it right.
  3. If you don’t think you will remember how to say it right, write it down phonetically so you can remember it.  Like this.  If your customer’s name is Lana, it could be pronounced two different ways:  Lah – nah or Lane -uh.  Spell it in a way that reminds you which one is the right one.

Now, take your customer service to the next level with smiles and names!