The key to providing world class customer service is being able to develop a rapport with your customers. Find out what they want from you, as well as what they think about you and your company. To do this you need to be able to communicate, and this means talking and listening.
At work, the average person spends 9% of his/her day writing, 16% reading, 30% speaking and 45% listening. Despite the fact that speaking and listening consume a whopping total of 75% of the work day, few people know how to do either effectively.
A study done at U.C.L.A. several years ago found that when you send a message to someone, the meaning is gleaned from three different sources. Twenty percent of the meaning comes from the words spoken, 25% from your tone of voice and attitude, and 55% from the clothes you wear and your body language. Yes, body language.
Body language is the single most important communication technique you should be aware of. You can learn the words and massage your attitude, but if you don’t use the right body language, the receiver will misinterpret what you are saying or think to himself, “what you said isn’t what I saw.”
The acronym that will help you better understand and improve your body language is SOFTEN.
The S stands for smile. When you meet someone for the first time, you make eleven impressions on them in just seven seconds. The first thing someone notices is whether you are friendly and empathetic, and this comes from seeing your smile. An inappropriate smile conveys just as bad a message as not smiling at all. Dr. David Lewis of the David Lewis Consultancy agency gives the following advice when meeting people with whom you are not very close but whom you wish to impress favorably. Use a relaxed smile with lips parted only slightly. At the same time, use a warm, steady gaze and allow your eyes to crinkle at the corners. To increase favor or cooperation, tilt your head sideways while smiling and making eye contact. Avoid a broad, open-mouthed smile that exposes your upper teeth. The smile is often faked and usually inspires distrust.
O is for an open stance. You can have your arms crossed and still maintain an open stance. Arm crossing means only that you are chilly or that your arms are tired. The proper stance is a way to generate receptivity, so pay attention. Women are more comfortable conversing face-to-face, while men prefer a side-by-side position that moves to a more frontal one. With this information in mind, never position yourself opposite an unfamiliar male, or beside an unknown female. Also, don’t remain standing when others are sitting unless you intend to signal dominance.
The F stands for a forward lean. This conveys a confident attitude. You are not resting back on your heels or putting your weight on one leg, rather, you are standing on the balls of your feet engaged in the conversation, using gestures and hand motions. If you are seated, you should be sitting up straight and paying attention, not leaning back in your chair trying to be “cool.”
T stands for territory. Proximity matters. The distance you stand or sit from someone sends powerful signals. We can feel very uncomfortable when somebody “invades” our space. The proper distance varies depending on personal preference and nationality. In America, there are three distances most people use whether they realize it or not.
The Business Distance is around 4 feet. When you meet someone and shake hands, and let go, you will both rock back a little and end up at about four feet. Most people, whether you know them or not, will be comfortable with this. The Social Distance is around three feet. You will know someone well before you talk this closely. The third distance is Intimate, which is about one arm’s length. To be this close, you are usually telling the person something in confidence or trying not to disturb others when you talk.
The most critical element in the SOFTEN formula is the E for Eye Contact. Have you ever heard this? “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Within seconds of making eye contact with another person, both of you will briefly lift your eyebrows. This is a non-verbal handshake and is done unconsciously. The key point in a conversation with a customer is the length of the eye contact. In the initial stage of meeting a person, hold eye contact for no more than three seconds, then break the gaze briefly. Holding eye contact for too long can signal hostility, disapproval or a wish for greater intimacy. Your customer will feel uncomfortable.
Even though you break the gaze every 3 to 5 seconds, it is essential you maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. This will help keep your mind from wandering and give the customer a positive opinion of you.
Have you ever wondered where you should look when you talk to people? Do you look them in the eyes, or one eye, or nose, or forehead or cheekbones? People wonder about this because they are not comfortable with eye contact. You should look at one eye at a time, switching to the other eye each time you break a gaze. The other person won’t notice, your eyes will look alive and you will pay more attention while listening.
Last but not least is the N which stands for Head Nodding. This body language movement is often misused. Remember the last time you were talking to somebody who was impatiently listening to you? How did you know they were getting impatient? Because they were nodding their head frequently as you talked so you would get the message to hurry up. They looked like one of those dogs with a “bobbing” head that some people have in the back window of their cars. A group in England studied head nodding and found that men and women nod differently. Men nod “big” nods while listening, giving the speaker the feeling that they approve of what is being said. Women have smaller nods with occasional pauses in nodding, giving the speaker the feeling that they want them to “keep talking, I’m listening.” Since women are known for their above average listening skills, the latter method was thought to be best.
The whole point of all of this information is that there is more to a message than just the words. You don’t have to be a body language expert, but if you are aware of the messages your body (or the other person’s body) is sending, you will have a greater advantage in any customer interaction.
Nothing, absolutely nothing will get people to like you as well as a sense of humor. English essayist, William Hayslet, pointed out in his classic essay, “On Wit and Humor,” that man is the only animal that laughs and weeps. He states that man is the only animal that is struck with the difference of what things are and what they ought to be
A sense of humor is like a Rolls Royce; everybody wants one but not everybody knows how to acquire one. Most of us know a funny joke when we hear one, but most of us don’t know what makes it funny. It either seems funny or it doesn’t.
My purpose is not to try to turn you into a standup comedian. Many times these people are not taken seriously and sometimes lack credibility. But when we understand humor better, we will be better able to see laughter in the world around us. We will then become known as a person with a great sense of humor.
Did you know there are only 5 jokes in the world, only 5 things that make people laugh? Some of you are thinking, you’re crazy, I can turn on cable TV every night and watch comedians spin jokes for hours. That’s true, but they are all variations of the same 5 jokes. To develop a sense of humor you need to know how to utilize these 5 principles:
1. Exaggeration – probably the first joke in the history of civilization. Johnny Carson had some of the most famous lines….”it was so cold that, or “it was so hot that…”
Most golfing stories are exaggeration jokes: ”Why did it take so long to play? Well Harry has a heart attack on the 5th hole and it was, hit the ball, drag Harry, hit the ball drag Harry and so on…”
Probably the first joke was: Org millions of years ago went hunting because he was sooooo hungry he could eat a brontosaurus burger.
2. A Pun, taking a word out of context, –Henny Youngman made this popular, “take my wife………PLEASE! Or, did you know they talked about Hondas in the Bible, “when the Disciples were in one Accord” THAT’S A PUN. It usually gets more of a groan than a laugh.
3. The third is the” Put Down.” Made famous in the past by comedy teams like Martin and Lewis, Abbott and Costello, Sonny and Cher, The Smothers Brothers and so on. Individual comedians do it today. One of the most famous is the guy who says this, “I don’t get no respect…”.Rodney Dangerfield.
And what about me, my baldness:. I always knew I would be bald, I always thought I would come out on top or, I don’t worry about being bald, I wear my hair departed on both sides.
4. Number four is silliness. Three Stooges, Marx Brothers or Monty Python. Examples like pie throwing, walking silly, or Groucho Marx saying “last night I killed an elephant in my pajamas….How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.”
5. The final category is the surprise joke or the “train wreck” with the element of surprise. Ex; “My wife and I NEVER have disagreements anymore. I raked her over the coals once and I didn’t see her for two weeks……after that I could see her a little out of my left eye.” They ARE ALL the same joke only the words are changed. Put your punch line as close to the end as possible.
Carlyle once wrote,” True humor springs not more from the head than from the heart.–It is not contempt; its essence is love.–It issues not in laughter, but in still smiles, which lie far deeper.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character it becomes your destiny.
Don’t forget to laugh!
Salesmen with the right attitude exceed their quotas:
Students with the right attitude make straight A’s:
Right attitudes pave the way for a really happy married life: Right attitudes make you effective in dealing with people: enable you to develop as a leader.
Right attitudes win for you in every situation.
How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. THEY REFLECT OUR THOUGHTS.
We read attitudes through expressions and voice tones and inflections.
In my opinion, there is one key ingredient a person can develop that will help their attitude grow in an upward direction; ENTHUSIASM. Be Enthusiastic!
The power of enthusiasm can sway the masses.
Here is an easy three step process that will help you develop the POWER of enthusiasm.
1. DIG INTO IT DEEPER – Do this little test. Think of two things in which you have little or no interest – certain kinds of music, sports, cards, etc. – Now ask yourself “How much do I really know about these things?” Odds are 100 to 1 that your answer is “not much”
I confess that for years I had absolutely no interest in ice hockey, even though I love sports. It was only after I talked with a couple of friends from the Northeast that could explain the rules that my thinking changed. Now that I understand it, I find it fascinating.
2. IN EVERYTHING YOU DO, LIFE IT UP – Enthusiasm, or lack of it, shows through in everything you do and say. LIFE UP your hand shaking. When you shake hands, shake! Make your hand clasp say “I’m glad to know you!”
Life up your smiles. Smile with your eyes. Nobody likes an artificial pasted-on rubbery smile. When you smile, smile! Show your teeth.
Life up your “thank you”. A routine automatic thank you is almost like saying “gleep, gleep”. It’s just an expression, it says nothing. It doesn’t accomplish anything. Make your thank you mean, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
3. BROADCAST GOOD NEWS – You and I have been in many situations when someone bursts in and says; “I’ve got good news.” Immediately this person gets 100 percent attention from everyone present. Good news does more than get attention; good news pleases people. Good news develops enthusiasm.
Some people say that it also promotes good digestion.
Transmit good news to your family or friends tell them the GOOD that happened today.
Ever notice how seldom children complain about the weather? They take the hot and cold weather in stride. Make it a habit to always speak favorably about the weather regardless of what the weather actually is. Complaining about the weather makes you more miserable and it spreads misery to others.
Broadcast good news about how you feel. Be a person that just radiates, “I feel great”. Just say “I feel great” at every opportunity and you will feel better. By the same token, tell people “I feel awful, just awful” and you will feel worse. HOW WE FEEL IS, IN LARGE PART, DETERMINED BY HOW WE THINK WE FEEL.
Other people want to be around alive, enthusiastic people. Being around complainers and negative people is an uncomfortable feeling. Give people encouragement at every opportunity. Talk about the positive. Listen to their problems. Be helpful. Win their support. Pat them on the back; tell them you believe in them.
Here is the ultimate positive attitude/enthusiasm test… When you leave someone; ask yourself does that person honestly feel better because they spoke with me?
Old habits are hard to break. But changed habits turn into actions that make new lifestyles. ANYTHING WORTH HAVING IS WORTH WORKING FOR!
Life doesn’t just happen to you. It’s all about choices and how you respond to every situation. If you are in the habit of continually making bad choices, disaster often occurs. Your everyday choices ultimately determine whether you end up living with abundance or living in poverty. However, life never completely closes the door to opportunity.
Your habits play a major role in how your future unfolds. This includes the habits you display to the business world every day, as well as the variety of behaviors that show up in your personal life.
Many of our habits, patterns, idiosyncrasies and quirks are invisible, causing renowned author Oliver Wendell Holmes to observe, “We all need an education in the obvious.” So let’s look more closely at the habits that are holding you back. You are probably conscious of a few right away. Here are some common ones I hear about daily.
Now check yourself out by making a list of all the habits that keep you unproductive. We are creatures of habit, most are good , some are bad. If you can get that concept through your brain you can be empowered to reach any goal you choose. It takes anywhere from 21 days to 6 months to change a
habit, it depends on what the habit is
Remember this-your outward behavior is the truth, whereas your inner perception of your behavior is often an illusion.
Thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to habits, habits leads to a lifestyle .