Customer Service -- Simply Be Of Service

Sounds simple doesn't it. Not so. Over the years I've offered and continue to offer exemplary customer service. Perhaps it's because of my many different cultural experiences, love of excellent service, or just the way I'm made. Actually, don't think it's the way I've been made. Rather, the way I've made myself to be. Years ago, when I was a young and naive lad, I landed a job at a not very classy menswear retailer in London's East End. Needless to say, in those days east London was far from posh. In fact, it was considered somewhat undesirable.

Anyway, I was a terrible salesperson. So much so, my manager threatened to fire me if I didn't improve my ability to sell. In short, I asked for some help from a nice enough older salesman. We decided he'd monitor my next attempt to make a sale. With that, a nicely turned out woman came in with what looked like her young teenage son. She asked to see a wool V neck sweater in maroon. With that, I pulled out the drawer that contained sweaters, selected the maroon version and just stood there. Then, the senior salesperson beckoned me with his forefinger. He suggested I offer this woman the other colors, which were navy and beige. She purchased the maroon and the navy. I was taken aback how simple selling is.

So anyone who says they can't sell is misleading themselves. We can all sell. In my case, it was understanding the difference between selling and providing excellent customer service. Simply by being of service to our customers we are selling, but with subtlety. Think when you last went shopping and were treated as well as you would like. It's usually a case of being taken care of. In essence, it's to do with enabling clients to purchase, not just selling to them. And of course, being of service. This means treating customers as you yourself would like to be treated. I ask myself, how hard can that be? Well, it would seem to be very challenging for many in retail.

For many Brits it's to do with being too self conscious. This means we tend to worry about being too pushy. This worry tends to restrict our ability to think laterally. Therefore, we almost disable our intuition from being able to help us. Often, when we are able to take notice of our feelings, we make decisions that seem to defy logic. For me, that's when my desire to be of service goes into overdrive. I guess it's to do with a strong desire to help, support and as I've said, to be of service to others. So when the opportunity arises to be of service, first, smile. Then, don't say "can I help you?" Just greet the individual with the time of day, that way they're likely to respond favourably. Whereas, the response to can I help you? is usually less favourable.

Some thoughts:

- Treat customers as you'd like to be treated

- Avoid asking questions that are likely to evoke a negative response

- Know that providing exemplary customer service, encourages more loyalty

- Being of service to others, raises our EQ (Emotional Intelligence)

- Never underestimate how offering excellent customer service can raise your profile

- Go the extra mile - it's the quietest part of the road

- Use empathy to build trust & generate rapport