What does confidence have to do with customer service?
A few years ago, I attended the Boldheart Mindset Retreat lead by one of my coaches, Fabienne Fredrickson. The premise of this retreat is that the majority of a business owner’s success comes from their mindset. As the event went on, I took a mental inventory of my mindset and was surprised at what I found: A big lack of confidence. Two years later and a lot of internal questioning and work with coaches and counselors, I’m happy to say it’s improved….and is still a work in progress.
Thinking about this recently brought to my mind the thing that we really do when we educate people on customer service and give them a chance to practice their skills of interacting with others.
While there are a ton of fantastic ways to get the hang of delivering excellent customer service in your business, have you ever thought about what actually fuels its success from the very core? What moves you, your team members, to engage with customers naturally? When you really think about it, you’ll realize that, deep down, what actually fuels this excellence is the ten-letter word, CONFIDENCE. Yep. It takes a whole level of confidence and mindset shift to really engage each with customers in a way that gets them excited. In other words, customer service excellence is greatly influenced by confidence. So, if you want to create a red-carpet experience for your customers, the first step is to help your team become more confident.
Have you had a confidence busting moment like this?
For some people, that outgoing confidence doesn’t come naturally. Or maybe it did at a point in their lives, but something happened, and they can’t find that assertive, confident self anymore. We all have those moments. I remember, as a little girl, confidently striding down the street toward the bus with a little sassy wiggle in my walk. It felt good and I felt beautiful. Then, as I boarded the bus – everyone applauded and laughed. One girl sneered and said, “you walk like you’re a model or something. Who do you think you are.” They all laughed again. This was not good applause. I stopped wiggling and I emerged from that moment less confident and more self-conscious. We all have moments like this and they add up and make us more uncertain.
Perhaps, you have employees that are very uncomfortable engaging with people. What do you do? Remember, there’s a subtle link between confidence and competence. When a rep starts mumbling words or doesn’t hesitate to pass on a customer to the next rep, or fumbles about information, the customer might just build a perception that your rep isn’t competent.
So, how do you help? How do you ensure your employees are confident enough to engage with customers? How do you shake up their people skills? How do you build confidence for customer engagement, generally? It’s not about counseling or being their psychologist. It’s understanding they need it to become not only a better team member but also a self-assured individual.
So, here are three ways.
- Be very clear about what your expectations are. What are your service standards? What does it look like to give a great customer experience? Design a customer experience strategy and get every single member of your team on board with it. Spell out your expectations explicitly for everyone to know. When your team members are fully aware of the kind of exceptional customer experience you want to offer, they often put their best foot forward.
- Provide your team with a chance to learn and practice those skills. With the right education, your team members could turn into super, engagement pros. So, organize an in-house seminar. Get them to practice in role-play sessions with different customer scenario scripts. You want them to practice because the more they practice, the more comfortable they’d become with certain behaviors. And if they do that in a group setting, they see everyone doing it. Everyone is having a good time and they are learning what it feels like to use each interaction to be a bright light in someone’s day.
- Encourage Them. Give positive feedback and encouragement when you see that confidence in action. Praise people when you see them stepping out of their shells to engage with team members and customers. See them. See the way they’ve grown and the difference they’re making and cheer them on!
In summary, customer interaction, customer experience, and great customer relationships are heavily dependent on the level of confidence yourself and your team members exude. Helping people become more confident in their skills benefits everyone!
Donna Cutting, CSP is a workplace culture consultant and the Founder & CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Worldwide. She’s the author of two books on customer service including the Amazon bestseller, 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.