By Rosanne D’Ausilio
Last year CBS Sunday Morning had a segment on customer service. Presented was a typical actual scenario where an older woman went to the office of the company that had screwed up her phone service. She asked for a manager or supervisor, was told to sit down, and then two hours later was told that that person had left the office.
Does that sound familiar?
If I asked you to raise your hand if you have never had a bad customer service experience, would you have your hand up? I doubt it. I’d even bet money on it.
All of us have had an incident where we either were enraged, frustrated, incredulous, or downright amazed at the inefficiency, inadequacy, and ineptness of whomever we were interacting with.
Truth be told, customer service is not good regardless of the channel, and services tops the list in terms of customer dissatisfaction. In today’s world, your competition is merely a click away and customers are more fickle than ever before.
It’s reported that it takes 12 positive customer service experiences to make up for one negative experience (“Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner). Yet 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with your organization again.
When I was in school (I’m probably giving my age away here), we were taught the three Rs: Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic, and were also told that was all we needed to survive in the world.
That’s no longer true or appropriate. Today’s world needs more C.A.R.E.
What Is C.A.R.E.?
C stands for Communication. According to the American Management Association’s Critical Skills Survey over 2000 managers responded that more than half (51.4%) of their employees were only average in effective communications skills.
What is communication? Communication means that a message was sent, it was received, and it was understood. Words, after all, are only 7% of communication, tone of voice is 38%, and physiology is 55%. In other words, how we say what we say is significantly more important than what we say.
A stands for Acknowledgment. All we want is to be heard, and to be treated with dignity and respect. So before you can help me, I need to know that you heard what I said. This could be a simple, “If I understand what you are asking, you want…” or “Wow, you’re really upset. Thanks so much for calling. I’m going to do my best to assist you.” Or simply paraphrase what you heard.
You can either acknowledge the feelings behind what is being presented or the issue itself for a customer to feel heard.
R stands for Responsiveness. This simply means to focus on and address the issue presented, not to bring in any ancillary matters. A synonym for Responsiveness is Sensitivity — be sensitive to what is being said and how it is being presented.
E stands for Empathize. I must admit this is my favorite, and is what separates us humans from other species. To empathize is to put yourself in another person’s shoes, not wear the shoes, not make the other person right and you or your company wrong, but to see it from the customer’s point of view. They may even be wrong, but it’s their perception that needs to be honored.
Bottom line: Take C.A.R.E. of your customers — whether internal or external, current or potential, face to face or on the phone or in chat, wherever.
Why? Because people don’t care what you know – until they know you care.
Rosanne D’Auslio, Ph.D., President of Human Technologies Global, Inc., and known as “the practical champion of the human,” is an industrial psychologist, consultant, master trainer, bestselling author, executive coach, and customer service expert.