"Our grand-daughter is coming over later today. Is it safe for her to eat the grass?" asked my mother-in-law, just after their lawn was treated by David from Nutri-Lawn.
Not missing a beat, David asked if she is hairy and has four legs.
After he finished work, he left a small package with two dog biscuits and a note reading: "For your grand-daughter!"
It doesn't cost a lot of money to make a powerful impression with your customers. The carpet cleaner, even the drive-thru window attendant has handed over a biscuit for one of my four-legged friends. The difference here was that there was a side of repartee to go with that biscuit. It wasn't all just business; he was able to pick up on my mother-in-law's sense of humour and engage with her. This not only brightened her day, but caused this story to grow legs and start walking - she shared it with the rest of the family and her friends, and now I'm blogging about it! That's free advertising for Nutri-Lawn - all because of a few minutes of conversational play.
If you are an employer, how much leeway do your employees have to show their personal side? You know, the thing that actually differentiates them from a robot. If your employees are on the phone, is their time so tightly monitored that there is no room for some pleasantries? There is a fine line between wasting time and seeding the conversation to encourage the blossoming of a resolution to a problem or concern, or to further customer relations.
If your employees are so fearful of repercussions because they ventured into the human side of interaction, their ability to be creative and productive problem-solvers is reduced. They may miss vital information that more relaxed customers may provide to them or they could transfer their stress to the customer, which then does nothing to help the situation.
What seems like a short-cut, isn't. This could cost your company - lost time, missed information, customers, and possibly those employees you spent time and money training.
Learning and practicing stress techniques builds awareness. It strengthens the employees' ability to better read the customer, and to communicate in an effective manner.
If you're wondering, Holly, my dog, has since been over to enjoy the greener grass - both to play on and to eat.
You may enjoy Come Here, Go Away!, an article I wrote for Biznik about the message you send to your customers.