A mark of someone great at customer service is having the right bed side manner. Not just anyone is good with customer service. It takes the right kind of personality, intentionality and empathy.
If you don’t have, or are not capable of having, those characteristics, you won’t have the bed side manner it takes to be good at customer service.
Customer service is something we think about in a retail environment but every business is in the customer service business. Why? Because without paying customers, there is no business.
The good and bad
We’ve all likely witnessed or experienced great customer service and terrible customer service. Typically, it’s the person’s bed side manner that makes the difference.
Even if we get the result we want during an exchange with a customer service representative but he or she has a terrible attitude and a lack of empathy, we chalk that up as bad customer service.
Likewise, if we don’t get the result we want but the customer service representative listens to us, has a good bed side manner and does everything in his or her power to help us, we will say it was good customer service.
Customer service makes a brand
Nothing will destroy the reputation, i.e., brand, of a company more than bad customer service. Charter, prior to its bankruptcy, was known to have terrible customer service. It didn’t matter that the service was cheap. The poor customer service outweighed the expense in the minds of the consumers.
Lexus and Southwest Airlines come to mind as companies with stellar customer service. Lexus is a luxury brand and one reason it can charge higher prices for its vehicles is because of the customer service.
Southwest Airlines isn’t a luxury airline but it does bring something different. Southwest employees exude happiness and drive to provide great customer service to its passengers. This is noticeable in situations with flight delays or cancellations because the employees have a very good bed side manner.
Your bed side manner
How is your bed side manner when dealing with customers?
You might not work directly with customers. That doesn’t mean you don’t have customers. Great employees view everyone, e.g., subordinates, peers and bosses, as customers. When we view every single person as a customer, we’ll take things more seriously.
Many times it takes a bigger emphasis on having a good bed side manner when dealing with people within your organization than when dealing with a customer? Why? It’s because you will have to continue working with the other employee but you may never see the customer again.
Your bed side manner is most important when dealing with negative situations. How do you deliver bad news? How do you take or give criticism? How do you portray confidence when dealing with a situation?
These are all instances of when it’s important to have a good bed side manner.
Here are five things to think about to have a good bed side manner when dealing with negative situations:
1. Be confident but not cocky – A person who exudes confidence, not cockiness, is more persuasive and better received. Deliver your message without hesitation or else what you say will not be held as authoritative.
2. Be gentle – Harsh words don’t help negative situations. Use positive words. Show empathy for the situation.
3. Listen – In every situation, we should listen before we speak. Too many times we think of what we’re going to say while the other person is talking. As soon as the other person is quiet, we speak. Unfortunately, we have no idea what he said because we weren’t listening.
4. Provide options – Instead of just saying “no” or giving bad news, provide options on how to otherwise remedy the situation. In certain circumstances, there may not be an alternative solution but in many cases there will be.
5. Wait – When possible, do not react immediately to a negative situation. If we get emotional, agitated or angry, it will not help. We need to calm down before we try to correct the situation.
Your bed side manner can make the difference between losing or keeping a customer, a friend or a colleague.
It is possible to be financially successful if you have a bed side manner but I firmly believe that those types of people are not happy people. Peers, subordinates and even some customers will not appreciate the lack of gentleness or empathy when dealing with people like this.
If you can’t be happy, what good is financial success. Don’t be that guy.
If you haven’t before, put a focus on your bed side manner. Try it first at home and see how much better your family reacts. Then try it at work with your peers and customers. You’ll be amazed at what a good bed side manner can do!
Question: What person from your life has the best bed side manner?