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Some Kidding Aside – Customer Service Smart TALK

When I walked into the electronics store the other day, I noticed that the customer service rep was talking to someone on her cell phone. I waved hello to her but she turned away from me and continued talking on the phone. I didn’t saying anything to her, thinking that I’d just let her finish her conversation.

From what I was able to hear of the conversation, it certainly didn’t sound very earth-shattering.

“Saturday? Yeah, like, I guess so. I dunno. Like, whenever I get off work, I guess. Yeah, like, I need to call her. I know, right?”

After she saw that I wasn’t going to give up and go away, the sales clerk (and I use that term loosely) sighed heavily and announced to her friend that she had to, like, get off the phone and, like, go help a customer.

Ain’t it wonderful to be loved and appreciated?

One of the worst things that you can do to your business is have someone like this representing you.

Let me put it this way. Suppose your competition wanted to sabotage you, so they hired somebody to infiltrate your work force and destroy your business from within. What do you think that corporate saboteur might do to torpedo your company? My guess is that they would stand around talking on the phone or texting, while ignoring customers when they came into your business. Is there anything that they could do that would drive away customers more quickly? I think not.

On the other hand, if you can train your people to TALK, your business has a huge advantage. And by “TALK,” I mean,

T – Take initiative! Don’t wait for the customer to speak to you. How about greeting him first? And how about saying “hello“with a little enthusiasm (as in, I‘m grateful you’re here so that I can make a living and pay my bills), instead of treating them like an annoyance (I wish you would go away so I can, like, finish my conversation with Brittany). Throw a hello at ‘em. It doesn’t mater what it is–a buenos dias, a howdy, a hey-HEY-hey. Whatever! I don’t care what you say, just make an attempt. There is nothing that turns the customer off quicker than being ignored.

A – Ask questions. It’s not all about what you have to say. Yes, certainly find out what you can do to help the customer, but beyond that, ask them conversational questions. Let them know that you recognize them as not only a potential sale or problem to solve, but that you see them as a person. How are you today? How’s the weather outside? How ‘bout them Giants? Again, it’s not about the question. It’s about the person.

L – Listen. Yep, shutting your trap and hearing what the other person has to say is a big part of talking. You can’t respond to your customer without first hearing what they’re all about. You would be amazed at the information you can get just by being quiet and letting the other person ramble for a minute. At the very least, they’ll feel like you care and if they feel you care about them, then you are halfway home toward creating customer satisfaction.

K – Keep information from the conversation. Whenever possible, take just a moment to jot down a note or two from your interaction with the customer. In my office, we take notes during every phone conversation so the next time we interact with you, we know exactly where we were in the conversation. Nobody can remember every conversation they have with every customer, so it helps immensely to have a record, so that when your important client walks in the real or virtual door, you can respond as if you just spoke to them yesterday.

It’s not hard to create customer loyalty if you take the time to TALK!

© 2018 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site CharlesMarshallSpeaker or contact him via e-mail at

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