The Human Dimension of the Customer Relationship

Now that the Avatel Service Department has completed its year-long Sandler Training in customer care strategies, it seems fitting to reflect upon some of the more important aspects of the instruction.

For me, the biggest lesson learned was that having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore.  We don’t own our customers.  They’re just parked on our doorstep and will be glad to move along when they find something better.

As a frontline professional, it’s important to remember that my role is much more than dealing with complaints or satisfying upset customers.  Instead, I see myself as a relationship builder, professional communicator and product and service specialist.

In a technical sense, my relationship with a customer is a bond or connection between us during which we exchange attention and communicate messages.  Not all of the messages, however, are communicated with words.  And, this is where the human dimension comes into play with the relationship I’m building with my customers.

One of the greatest lessons learned from the Sandler Training has been the instruction on understanding and working with different types of people and their personality types.  We all know that no two customers are exactly alike.  Every person is unique but people do fall into patterns of behavior that become easy to identify once you know what to look for.

To keep your interest in this blog post, I’ll refrain from dealing details about the DISC Behavioral Styles, except to say that they identify the four styles we each seem to prefer to use when communicating. Simply, I learned the differences of the four behavioral styles, how to quickly identify a person’s dominate style and the basis of communicating with each one.  Once I’ve identified the particular style, I modify my style to those of my customers to help facility optimum communication.

Ultimately, to have a significant impact with a customer, you have to truly enjoy your work.  It’s easy to smile when you’re having a good time.  I’ve learned along the way to smile before picking up the phone, to have a note pad handy to write the customer’s name and the reason for their call and ask a few probing questions to engage my customer.  It seems that this rather basic return of human behavior to customers provides me a bit more leverage when offering a solution to them.  As we all know, customers calling in simply want our attention, for us to take responsibility for them, keep the resolution process simple, and ensure that the solution results in satisfaction.  By remembering the human dimension in the customer relationship, I find myself succeeding more times than I fail.

Lonnie Ledford, Avatel Project Manager – Guest Blogger

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1 Comment

  1. Lonnie, Sandler has helped me organize my approach to customers. It’s nice to have that sort of “playbook” to achieve the best results. I’m sure that is equally important in service fulfillment. Thanks.

    Raymond

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