In the last LinkedIn article I published, A Great Customer Experience!, I referenced being tied up in customer support calls for more than twelve hours over the course of four days. Here’s where I need to be very transparent… For years, my dad has told me that I would become more patient as I got older. To this point, only one of those two things has happened - and it hasn’t been an increase in patience! For me, fifteen minutes stuck on a customer support call is cruel and unusual punishment… After twelve hours, I wanted to fight someone! (Ok, I was ready for that after two hours…)
With that in mind, it gave me some perspective on just how important providing a great customer experience is in maintaining and strengthening relationships with the people we serve - whether they’re our direct customers or they’re members of the team we’re responsible for leading. And we have to be honest with ourselves; there are going to be times when things go wrong, where we drop the ball, and we’re going to need to accept responsibility so we can make amends and get on with our lives. In those cases, to turn even the worst of scenarios into something that could truly be considered a great customer experience, effective communication is critical! Having a solid foundational understanding of The Model of Human Behavior can make a world of difference in what we achieve.
Win, lose, or draw, I’m extremely Fast-Paced and very Task-Focused all the time. Throw some stress in the mix, any interest I may have had for joking around goes completely out the window. And while I usually pay pretty close attention to detail, that completely disappears when tension gets high. When Cindy and I teach this material to our clients’ team members, I often say that when I’m under pressure I’m going to get results fast regardless of whether anyone has fun, I hurt feelings, or it’s even correct… The key piece for me is getting results.
So picture yourself being the poor soul who’s stuck on the phone dealing with someone like me. Something in your system had created quite the crap storm, and you’re tasked with finding some sort of resolution. How do you go about?
Regardless of the person’s primary communication style, there’s no substitute for honesty. I also learned years ago that there’s only two times we should apologize in a stressful situation: when we messed up, and when we didn’t. That said, if you’re stuck handling an issue with a highly DRIVEN (likely DEFIANT) individual like I turned into a few times during those calls, do all you can to assure them that you’ll get results for them. I’m not suggesting you make promises that can’t be kept, as that will make things worse. Just know that person has little interest in knowing each individual step in the process of resolving the issue, they just want it done! You don’t need to engage in small talk or attempt to flatter them. And joking about it may push them over the edge.
When the Fast-Paced and Task-Oriented person knows you’re working as hard as you can and doing everything in your control to take care of their issue, they’re very likely to view even crappy situations as a great customer experience!
In the next message, we’ll take a look at how different this can be when we’re dealing with something who’s Fast-Paced but more People-Centered…
Before then though, did you know that you get immediate access to the bonus material from the 2019 Live2Lead speakers as soon as you’re registered for the 2020 LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg virtual event? With that already available, there’s no reason at all to wait...
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