A short, but ongoing course.

Are you really engaged?

Do you and your staff really know how to engage and interact with the customers? Do they even know what it means.

Seems as though every year there's a "new" word in Customer Service. And this year it's been "engagement."

Engage the customer.

What's it mean? Or better yet: What's does it not mean?

The answer to what it's NOT, is - - it's NOT the customer service experience. Don't confuse the two. They are quite different.

It is: Just as you might imagine....when you might have popped "the question," (or said "yes" if you were the one being asked), you normally went into what is called an 'engagement' period.

That's the time before the marriage. Time to better know and understand someone you're supposed to spend a lifetime with. Sometimes it's short and sometimes it's a longer period of time. But usually there's an 'engagement' period.

And so it is with our customers. Before they can "BUY," before they can become our customer (before we 'marry' them), we need to get 'engaged.' Make sense? Or starting to?

Right, you don't just walk up to someone and say, "Hello" and then head for the altar. It's the same idea in the sales and customer service world. There's an old sales saying: "The customer has to buy YOU first, before they buy the product." And it's true.

You need to spend a bit of time 'engaging the customer' before they buy or use your services. The Engagement is the time to wine and dine the customer; not physically - but mentally, and emotionally. Yes, to be on your best behavior. And you usually are. But as in marriage, it need not, and should not, must not, stop there.

I've never considered divorce (murder yes, not divorce.) However, those who have been through divorce coincidentally all shared a similar story to me. "They changed" I've been told. "They were so nice during the engagement period, but afterwards, it all changed."

I have always wondered why. Why be one way to get the customer and then another way after you get them? No wonder customers get upset. And when you think of it, in an engagement, you are each others 'customers.'

So to make it a bit easier for you to learn how to Engage a customer, below are a few (and only a few) ideas to 'get engaged' with your customer. There are many more. I will expound on them in another blog. And also I'll share more about the engagement. I wanted to keep this blog short, sweet and to the point.

To ENGAGE the customer one simply needs to follow these engagement guidelines:

* When a call comes in or a customer walks into your location, let them know they called or came into the right place! This is not brain surgery; just use those exact words.

* Names are critical, of course. To gain a customers name, you need to introduce yourself first; then ask theirs.

* Smiling is a condition of employment and grounds for termination. Can't make that strong enough! Not smiling is not an option.

* We need to remember, the customer is NOT always right; they always THINK they are right. Deal with the situation that way and it's much easier to handle.

* Don't argue with the customer. You'll lose every single time. You will never win.

* Watch out for Killer Words. These are words that will stop a conversation. Or even kill the conversation. A few killer words to beware of, from our surveys are: "No problem," "It's not our policy," "You don't seem to understand." We have plenty more of them to be sure. These happened to have gone right to the top.

* Be a double checker. No one likes to hear, "I don't know" or "We don't have that." Learn how to create the Telephone Doctor language of "positive statements at the top of the conversation." Once you do, the engagement period can start to move along.

* Please, thank you and you're welcome will never go out of style. EVER.

It's still not time to put the ring on the customers finger, but you'll be headed in the right direction with these steps or .... "Rules of Engagement".

I've been doing this a long time. It all works. More later.

 # # #

Nancy Friedman , President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service, sales and communications skills, at franchise, association and corporate meetings.

As an "ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST", she has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and hundreds of other radio and TV shows.

She has been published in Wall Street Journal with her column, "Don't Strike Out with Your Customers.

Nancy is the author of eight books on sales, communications skills and customer service. She is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs. For a demo and full keynote speaking packet of Nancy call 314.291.1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

Or see how fast she answers emails: [email protected]

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