On April 4, Kukui hosted a Shop Owners Success webinar featuring “15 Golden Nuggets of Customer Service Success” with Nancy Friedman, the “Telephone Doctor.”
Less than 20 seconds after a customer walks into a shop or calls to ask a question, they make a purchasing decision. Friedman, who has many clients in the automotive industry, shared tips on improving customer interactions to nail down the sale. Participants who took a short survey at the end of the course were eligible for an AMi credit.
Kukui’s Jimmy Lea shared Friedman’s credentials and a brief biography before introducing her. Friedman’s goal for the webinar was “to help you be more successful than you currently are.”
The first golden nugget was empathy compared to sympathy.
Friedman explained, “There’s a huge difference. If you’ve never gone through what someone else is talking about, there’s no way you can empathize with them; you simply can’t know how they feel if you haven’t been there. Sympathy is better than empathy.”
Take ownership of mistakes and faults, and then move on by fixing what can be rectified. During incoming calls, the introduction sets up the conversation. Friedman recommended a three-part greeting expressing gratitude for the call, identifying the company and stating the associate’s name to speed up the rapport-building process.
She warned, “Anything after our name erases our name. By ending with your name, most callers will greet you and provide their name. You are making a huge error if you don’t write their name down because one of the worst questions you can ask is a caller’s name after they’ve already provided it. Once they explain their problem, make sure to tell them they’ve called the right place.”
Useless words can offend customers. One common example is “No problem” in response to “Thank you.” Friedman suggested “Happy to do it” or the oldie-but-a-goody, “You’re welcome.” Telling a customer to calm down is also very counterproductive.
Friedman pointed out, “There’s never been an instance where telling a person to calm down has actually caused them to calm down!”