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Aegis promotes Hooff and Weislak

National Mortgage Professional
Jun 22, 2005

What's your service mentality IQ?By Nancy Friedman customer service, phone etiquette, telemarketing Most of us in the customer service arena are very good at what we do. And the reason is simple: To do the job well, we always carry a service mentality with us. People often ask me, "Nancy, what is the key to good customer service?" My answer is simple: There is no one key. There are many keys, and they all need to be on your customer service key ring. So, come along with us and learn the seven service mentalities that will raise the bar for you and your company. See how many of these attributes you possess. Empathy Some call it sympathy but whatever you call it, it needs to be there. When someone has a problem, we need to empathize with them and show we understand the frustration they're feeling. What we don't want to do, however, is tell a customer, "I know exactly how you feel," because you aren't able to know exactly how anyone else feels. But you can empathize, and that's why empathy is key for a service mentality. Here's a better way to explain it. I had my wallet stolen a while backat Disneyland no less. Everything was in it, and the money was the least of my problems. My credit cards, checkbook, Social Security card, driver's licenseall of it was gone. Over the years I have learned to be a "good" customer, so I called the first credit card company and told them of my plight. I said, "Hi, my name is Nancy Friedman. I'm at Disneyland and my wallet was stolen. Everything's gone." And I told her what was in the wallet. She said without skipping a beat, "Name?" I said, "It's still Nancy Friedman." Where was her empathy, her sympathy? It wasn't there! All I needed to hear was a simple, "Gee, that's got to be so frustrating. Let me get the ball rolling to help you." Enthusiasm We need enthusiasm whenever we help a customer. They need to know you are truly excited to help (of course, we need to do this without going over the top and giggling our way through the conversation). Enthusiastic customer service people get the job done faster, simpler and with a touch of class. How much enthusiasm do you show in your job? Responsibility This is one of the most important keys to a great service mentality. Be responsible for your job, your position and the company. Being responsible means it is your job. If you have answered the call on behalf of your company, you have indeed accepted 100 percent responsibility for the call. "I wasn't here," "I don't know anything about that," "It's not my department," or all of those other lines are not on the responsibility key ring of customer service. Take responsibility for the call; you answered it. It's yours! This is important in face-to-face situations as well. It's the old "don't point, go show." Resiliency This key is a little trickier to use. To be resilient, we need to have a mentality to bounce back from unfortunate events, setbacks or other negative incidents. It's really an attitude adjustment. One situation with a customer may be more difficult than another, and when you get to the next customer, your resiliency needs to kick in and bounce you right back to where it was before that negative event. Be resilient! Ownership Ownership is a cousin of responsibility. So many times we encounter people in the customer service arena who don't want to take ownership of the problem. When you own the problem, you'll handle it far better than if you don't want anything to do with it. Don't forget: Never take those barbs from the customer personally. They're not attacking you; they're attacking the problem. You're just the lightening rod, not the target. Own the customer you're working withon the phone or in person. Take ownership! Be proud! Balance Balance is the fine line between "the customer is always right" and knowing what to do about the problem. At Telephone Doctor, we don't necessarily believe the customer is always right. We do, however, know that customers always think they're right. And that is the perception we need to deal with at the time. Many times the customer is in error, yet they're hell bent on proving they are right. So, you see, the customer thinks they're right, even though we frequently know they are not. And that's the secret key: not letting on that we know the customer is wrong. Balance is the art of creating a win-win situation. Once you have the key of balance, you'll be able to handle situations to make everyone happy. Adaptability Most of us learn at a very early age that everything doesn't happen the way we want it to all of the time. So, we often need to adapt to a certain situation. Learning how to adapt to all of these situations can make you a top customer service individual. It's related to your attitude. Why do some folks adapt very easily and some are not able to adapt at all? It's mainly because of attitude. It shapes how they handle a situation and react to it. If you have some of these "secret" ingredients of customer service, you're well on your way to success. And even if you're missing one or two, here's your opportunity to learn more about them. Good luck to you! And may your service mentality be with you, today and always. Nancy Friedman is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training in St. Louis and will be an IndyMac Bank-sponsored featured speaker at the NAMB 2005 Annual Convention and Exposition in Minneapolis (see for details). For more information, call (314) 291-1012 or visit
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