Treat customers like a friend and they’ll tell their friends about it.
Everyone has had that kind of experience of customer service that they’ve come away feeling over the moon, they’ve been made to feel special, they feel compelled to leave positive feedback and they tell their friends about it. This not only makes for happy customers who can’t wait to return, but it also makes happy, empowered employees.
There are lots of different guides giving you the '5 steps to great customer service’ or ‘guaranteed ways to wow your customers’...which can be helpful and may offer something new. However, we've found the best way to really do something different with your customer engagement is through experience. Using drama enables employees to experience what it looks and feels like to really create a memorable experience for your customer. It also enables them to experience it from the customers point of view.
What makes a memorable customer service interaction?
Well, a good way of looking at this is just taking away the words customer service and reframing the question, “what makes a memorable interaction?” Think about the last time you saw a great friend of yours, what made that memorable? There are lots of similarities between the two or, at least, there should be.
Think about the way your friend listens to you: Not just waiting for their turn to speak but really listening, encouragingly. Think about their body language: Warm, open, genuine. Think about the way they empathise with what you are saying, they care. You are both relaxed and comfortable and engaged.
So often we are told great customer service is about looking and sounding the part, remaining professional and efficient at all times - all of these factors are important and do lead to a great experience. But the really memorable moments are created when we can recreate that way we behave towards friends. We listen, engage, open up and we care about the outcome for them. We make the experience personal and we make them feel special.
How can we achieve this?
So you could just try telling your employees to start treating customers like their friends... but it might not make that much of a difference. Well, how about showing them what it looks like or even giving them the chance to experience it themselves - from both the employee and customer perspective.
Give them a challenge, ask them to try to make friends with someone who serves them in their life outside of work (a barista, someone who works in their local, a taxi driver). See if they can engage with them as more than just a customer - perhaps you can see which of your staff can find the most interesting stranger's story, or what they enjoy most about their job. Anything to break down the customer/staff barrier and see what happens when we engage as friendly, helpful humans. You can then try this out in the training using drama exercises and role-play. (Tip: Don’t ask people to role-play on front of the whole group, nerves get in the way and it doesn’t benefit anyone. Role-play in smaller groups or even pairs works a lot better.) Playing around with this and finding something different in their behaviour, will instantly inform the way they behave and interact with customers on a daily basis.
Different Duck is a drama based training company specialising in unique customer interactions and engaging with consumers on a human-to-human level. We implement lasting change and instantly applicable ideas. It is run by drama makers who act, direct, write and produce work professionally –and creativity is the key to everything we do.