In April, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing John DiJulius, one of my favorite customer experience thought leaders, speak at the Multi-Unit Franchise conference. To begin, if you ever have the opportunity to see John DiJulius speak — do it! He has a great message, and his presentation is simply amazing.
During the presentation, DiJulius showed an incredible video that perfectly summed up one of the key messages I have always used in customer service training:
You never know what is going on with your customer or what path they took to get to you.
The person standing in front of you has a story. They have joys and stresses, successes and disappointments, triumphs and tragedies. They want you to solve a problem, to make their life a little easier and a little more enjoyable.
Ever since seeing DiJulius speak, we had been hoping to find the video to use for training; however, we had been unsuccesful until last week when I stumbled across a post from Kyle Lacey which discussed the video. It should come as no surprise; the video is a training video at Chik-Fil-A. Check it out:
In his post on the video, Understanding The Personal Story of the Customer, Kyle takes away a great message that our customers do want us to know about them — they want to be heard. This type of customer intelligence can be crucial in helping to shape a customer experience that resonates with each individual customer. But as laudable a goal as customer intelligence is, it is not an overnight process. (See John DiJulius’ excellent book, Secret Service, for an in-depth look at this concept.)
I would like to focus on another message in the video — one that can be utilized for immediate results.
When an upset customer stands before you, it is rarely personal. They came to you to make their life easier, and for some reason, they feel you made it worse. Helping team members understand that they do not know what is going with the customer — how rushed, or stressed or sick they might be — and that they should approach each interaction with that fact in mind is a crucial message to instill throughout any organization.
It might be tautological to say so, but service is about serving. Customer experience reps should seek first to understand, and then to embrace the idea that even when they can’t understand, they can still be understanding.
After all, we all have a story.
What were your reactions to the video? Were you ever the customer that needed to be understood, who got upset out of proportion to the offense because of what was going on elsewhere?
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.