Anyone who has ever worked in a customer service role knows how difficult it is sometimes to converse with other people. In my many, or not so many, years in the world of adulthood, I have been that individual who has worked at a call centre making calls during supper time, at the front desk of a hotel in a land I’d never even visited before, taking orders and problem-solving for a wine club during the beloved-yet-tense December holiday season, and as the first person to greet you with “Hi!” at an amazing Speech Therapy clinic.
I admit that I have had my fair share of conversing with strangers, needing to build rapport, while still being efficient.
And while there are the days when a customer requires just that little bit more patience, understanding, and a good listening ear, I find that in general, meeting and greeting people on a daily basis can be both rewarding and sometimes even educational. Just these past few weeks I’ve learned about kids making snow angels and the best snow to do this in, St. Paddy’s Day nighttime celebrations, that the Raptors played in Detroit recently, and that as of mid-March we are officially in Spring.
I am no expert at the art of small talk so I am always grateful for blog posts that guide the way, and before speaking in a large crowd I generally need to take a deep, calming, breath and do a mental Wonder Woman pose to give myself courage. However, once the words find their way out they do thankfully tend to light their own path. Great customer service, I find, involves a lot of smiling, a lot of listening, a lot of empathy, a lot of backbone, and a lot of soul searching to find the right words to say in any given situation.
I read a blog post recently about how to use positive words, phrases, and statements to provide great customer service and to make a long-lasting and positive impact on our clients and/or customers. There were 25 words in the list. I took that list and grouped them according to my experience with how words impact not only the customer, but also the effect I need to convey as I communicate with clients on a daily basis.
These words are generally followed closely by an exclamation mark. This is because they are meant to be over-the-top words that convey excitement. They are encouraging words - “That was a fantastic suggestion!”. They are congratulatory words - “You did an excellent job answering my questions!”. They are words of happiness - “Brilliant! Thank you for choosing to work with us.” And they are words of gratitude - “Great! I have now scheduled you in for your next appointment.” Upbeat words let clients know that you are interested in what they are saying, and that you are working at helping the client in the best way possible.
Descriptive words add emphasis to your words or your actions. They let clients know to pay attention to what is about to be said, as appreciation, or a request, are about to follow. That - “It is essential for us to collect pre-client information,” and “We recommend taking along any supplementary medical information that you have,” or “I will work to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” and “You have been very generous with your time and patience,” while “Our goal is to ensure that all of our services are friendly and inclusive.”
This important group of words are for those sticky situations where you may need to respond quickly and efficiently, and to think on your toes. Including words such as - “I completely understand your point of view”, “I will definitely provide you with a solution before the end of day,” “I certainly value your input”, and “I absolutely agree with what you’ve said” - gives gravity to your response and inform your clients that you have listened to them and are dedicated to finding an acceptable solution. These positive, affirming words show your clients just how competent you are in your role, and how much you value them as an important part of your business.
So many of us struggle with expressing our emotions in a work environment. Where is that balance, we wonder, between appearing as professional and capable as possible, and also letting our clients see that we are humans, and not robots concerned only with enforcing the Cancellation Policy? Emotional words connect us to our clients and show that we empathize, we feel, and that we are impressed by them. So, “I enjoy speaking with you each week. I find your feedback to be very interesting. You have given one of my favourite suggestions on how to improve our client relations. I look forward to hearing more of your impressive ideas.”
So, if I’m sitting at my desk and you feel like striking up a conversation, feel free to do just that! I would love to talk to you while you are in the waiting area. We are a speech therapy clinic so we strongly encourage speaking, and you are welcome to spend a few minutes practicing with me.
If you are interested in getting started on your speech therapy goals, and would like to meet with one of our qualified, Speech Language Pathologists here at Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, book your initial consultation appointment online, or give us a call at (647) 795 5277.