Mindfulness: The Next Level of Customer Service
There are many emerging trends in business; however, none have held the same buzz as mindfulness and emotional intelligence in recent years. Why? The ever-present evolution of business facets itself in different ways via industry, business size, and region but one thing that direct effects all companies are humans. As such, the need for emotional intelligence and mindfulness is universal regardless of the independent factors of various businesses.
Now, this movement has transcended businesses internally and extends into their customer base, again, regardless of their nuances and customer base differences. Customer service can no longer be only about attentiveness or active listening skills; in a customer-controlled market, they must be fully mindful of the customer or face the consequences of lost revenue and reputation (loyalty programs work because of the inter-customer trust, learn more here). How do you integrate mindfulness into customer service? Here are a few ways to incorporate mindfulness into your customer service success.
Be Present with Customers
While this is important for various aspects of your workday, it is never more critical than when you are working with customers handling issues, implementations, and product walkthroughs. It’s essential to be in the moment with the customer, not thinking about your next customer or internal meeting. Being present allows you to pick up on vocal cues, point out various areas of contention, and highlight the importance of issues to that customer.
Customers appreciate this because they feel understood on a higher level, and it personalizes the customer service approach that can so often make people feel like only numbers or names in a set script. Can’t do anything about what you hear? Make a note of it anyway. Chances are, they aren’t the only customer with that point of contention or need, and notes like these are invaluable to increasing your product capabilities and understanding its shortfalls to improve your overall customer experience.
Embrace Gratitude and Humility
It’s probably sure to say that 90-percent of the time when customers call, it’s about a problem and not praise. So, when customers do reach out following a successful experience with your company, you want to tell the world. And why shouldn’t you? It is, after all, a form of social proof. Before you even get to that stage, it’s essential to pause and accept the gratitude of your customer and then reciprocate. Your business couldn’t survive without customers, and likewise, they couldn’t have the success without your services. Meaning that while accepting gratitude, it is also important to impart that back onto the customer. A simple response such as, “Thank you, it’s customers like you that keep our company going. We are grateful that you are our customer,” can work wonders to improving customer service relations.
Now, back to that rave review, you want to shout from the rooftops—take another step back and see if it’s the best idea to share the customer service experience. Can you more effectively use the story as part of an additional reason why prospective customers should do business with you? While bragging can sometimes be difficult for people, as a business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of coming off sounding haughty, especially if this is in contrast to other messaging. Find the best place for your rave review from the customer and understand that not creating a highly-sharable snippet may be your best option. Showing the ability to be humble, using references and referrals at the right point of customer conversations and prospect conversions can be even more effective. The goal of this mindful humility is two-fold. First, you want to have your received praise backing up an actual tangible in the buyer’s journey. Secondly, you don’t want to join the hordes of competitors who are already singing their praises via every channel because you will just become another voice, drowned out by the constant self-promotion of businesses. Don’t confuse humility for not having pride in your company or brand, instead of store up the praise for release at the right time and keep your customers trusting your organization.
There will always be more work than can be accomplished in a day, taking 20 minutes of your day to pause and reflect isn’t going to make that much of a cut into your service quota, but it may make a big difference later on. The ability to pause is not only a cleansing experience at the end or the start of your day, but it also provides clarity to review what transpired during the workday or what is coming up. Pausing allows you to reset your brain and focus on the review of future or past incidents and will enable you to connect any threads that need attention. During these times, small items that didn’t call attention to themselves before can surface, allowing you to take advantage of the silence. If nothing else, it reminds yourself and organizations about the importance of reflecting and learning from experiences. Alongside the previous insight of being present, this can dramatically increase the customer service effectiveness of your organization.
You can be flexible with this pause as well, if needed. What’s important is that you take the time to pause and reflect. For some people, a change of scenery can increase their ability to think more clearly, so going for a quick walk might be the answer. Whatever it is, make sure that during this time, you’re connecting the experiences of the day and mindful of them.
Give Yourself Time
In addition to the pause to reflect, give yourself time. What do we mean here? After a call with a customer, take the time to make every note and input it into your CRM or customer service platform (like Sugar Serve). The reality is we often run from customer call to customer call, never fully capturing the information in our heads about a customer call, and when we do get there, the information is soon forgotten. Many may discount that something forgotten isn’t import, but anyone who has had to run to a store twice to buy something because they forgot the first time knows that this isn’t the case. In the same anecdote, people who write a list are less likely to forget what they went into a store to purchase. Taking even five minutes between two calls allows you to be more mindful of customer needs and highlights of your conversation.
Do you have what it takes to implement a more mindful approach to your customer service? Taking even one of these and integrating them into your customer service routine for yourself or your organization can make a big difference. Mindful customer service can increase your reputation with customers and open up doors that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
The most important aspect of mindfulness, throughout the above tips, is simple—be human. Humanity is the one aspect that connects us to one another and consumers to corporations. In the past, there has been a line of demarcation between personalization and business. Still, with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution and digital media, that line is no longer optional. In essence, mindfulness in customer service allows you to be more human-centric and appeal to your customers on a level, unlike anything else before.