This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Jeremy Watkin shares a story demonstrating the importance of empowerment to great customer service. If you empower employees to come up with creative solutions to problems, you’ll be amazed at the results. – Shep Hyken My wife and I recently celebrated our 15th […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Jeremy Watkin shares a story demonstrating the importance of empowerment to great customer service. If you empower employees to come up with creative solutions to problems, you’ll be amazed at the results. – Shep Hyken
My wife and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, I stopped by the local grocery store, Fred Meyer, to pick up her favorite flowers: gerber daisies. They were actually the flowers we had at our wedding.
As I looked through the gerber daisies, I noticed that they had a wonderful selection that looked like they had just been cut. I selected two bunches, one red and one white. It was at that point that the nice lady in the flower area looked at them and said “Wow, those really are beautiful!”
She went on to talk about how gerber daisies in particular will tend to droop after a few days and how coiling a little piece of wire around the stem can prevent that and keep them looking fresh for longer. Then she said, “You know what? I’m going to give you a couple pieces of wire so when that happens, you’ll be able to wrap the stems.”
At the time I was grateful to her for taking the time to share that advice with me. Fast forward five days and a couple of the flowers finally drooped. I grabbed the wire, wrapped the stems, and sure enough, they still look great! Sure, cut flours eventually get old and die but I sure was happy to be able to enjoy them for a bit longer.
This speaks to a value that really marks a great customer service professional. I often call this empowerment where we take that little bit of extra time to educate the customer while we serve them. Another way to phrase this is: Answering the questions the customer didn’t even know to ask.
Think about that for a moment. If you work in technical support, perhaps customers need help connecting the product to the Internet. Take a few extra moments to highlight some resources they might want to refer to so they can use the product once it is connected to the Internet. Or perhaps you work in a restaurant where customers take orders to go. Take the extra few moments to offer cutlery, napkins or condiments to go with their meal.
As customer service professionals, we are the experts when it comes to our product or service. That’s not to say that customers aren’t or can’t be but after thousands of customer interactions, we get pretty good at understanding what customers need in order to have a great experience. Take the extra few moments to share your knowledge and expertise with them.
In the case of my flowers, the lady sharing her wisdom with me made a huge difference in my experience. In many cases, answering the questions the customer didn’t know to ask prevents the aggravation of having to contact support again. In all cases, it significantly increases the value of our product or service we provide.
Jeremy Watkin is the Head of Quality at FCR, the most respected outsource provider. He has more than 15 years of experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Customer Service Life. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: Customer Service Is Much More Than Rules And Policies — It’s A Philosophy
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