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PORTER: Customers always appreciate a little humility

One attitude trait in great customer service that usually does not get much attention these days is humility. Modesty. Simplicity. Genuineness. These are some of the components of humility.

While the top service leaders I see today regularly show customers traits like accountability and service passion, they never forget humility. These service leaders understand — and are clear — that the reason why we are all here is the customer.

In our fast-paced 24/7 world, I recommend that you pause to consider how you might be a little more humble in serving your customers.

Humility is one of seven traits I have found that make up top customer service leaders. Let’s take a look at the components of humility and some tips for getting better at it.

 

Be more modest

In today’s digital business marketplace, modesty is usually in short supply.

When’s the last time we did not hear about how great a particular service or product is? Or when we interact with customer service folks who often rely on scripted responses and not a real dialogue as they try to assist us with a problem?

In honing your modesty skills, be more unassuming. And although your products or services may be world class, try practicing a little moderation in your claims. It doesn’t cost you anything.

Finally, on the topic of modesty, when’s the last time you insisted on sharing credit for an accomplishment with a colleague? I have found you generate a lot of good will with customers when you do.

 

Practice simplicity

Simplicity is all about being straightforward and easy to understand. It’s also a key component of the humility trait.

How often have you gone online with a question or talked with a customer service person and found responses really difficult to understand? Or when you are gathering information on a new product you are looking at purchasing and found the text and information to be perhaps too technical and complicated?

You are not alone.

In practicing simplicity, try for clarity when dealing with customers. Businesses often assume a prospective or new customer is intimately familiar with their services when the opposite is true. Being especially clear will always get you high marks with customers.

 

Be genuine

How often have you spoken with a customer service professional and felt like you’ve just been on a reality or game show? Or when have you tried getting help with a serious product problem only to have to endure endless jokes and banter?

To show Humility, customers look for people to be genuine. They are looking for substance and authenticity, not a show.

As you try to be more genuine, just work at being yourself. Be real and try to be original.

As with modesty and simplicity, being genuine counts for a lot with customers when practicing humility.

As attitude becomes increasingly important in customer service as we move deeper into the digital and social media world, humility is an important trait to remember. And it’s an area in which we all can improve.

 

William Porter has published books on customer experience and employee engagement and speaks regularly at business schools. Contact him at bpwilliamaporter@gmail.com.

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