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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Be a CAPTAIN of Industry!

Customer Service

Customer Service refers to the assistance given to a customer before, during, and after the sale. However, it not only refers to the level of assistance that is given but also the manner in which that service is given. Let’s look at two examples.

  • Example One

You walk into an establishment looking for a specific product, but you are unsure where it is located in the store. You approach someone who works for the store and ask them about the product. Without stopping what they are doing, the employee points in the general direction of the item and simply replies that it is on aisle three.

  • Example Two

You walk into an establishment looking for a specific product, but you are unsure where it is located in the store.  An employee notices your hesitation and approaches you. He or she looks you in the eye, says hello and asks you how they may help you. When you tell them what you are looking for they take you to where the product is located in the store. Before leaving, he or she asks if you need help finding anything else.

Which business are you more likely to go to the next time you need something? Hopefully you said number two. Just like any other business, the spiritual practitioner who recognizes the core value of providing good customer service will attract customers and ensure their loyalty so that they keep coming back to you for all their magickal needs.

There are few spiritual practitioners for whom their practice is their only source of income. Many spiritual workers often have day jobs that have nothing to do with their spiritual practice. If you are a spiritual worker who has never worked in the field of customer-service, this is an area of your practice in which you will have to educate yourself.

How to be a “Captain” of Industry

CAPTAIN is an acronym which represents seven principles which are paramount to providing your customers with good customer service. The letters stand for Communication, Accountability, Positivity, Treatment, Above and Beyond, Initiative, and Need.

Communication- Unlike in earlier years when people often traveled to see a spiritual practitioner in person, most workers today provide their services over the internet and/or phone. As technology such as email has become more accessible to the general public new rules of behavior have emerged with which many may not be familiar. Below I’d like to share some insights into effective communication with clients.

  • When speaking with a client on the phone, smile. The client will not see it, but the energy will come through over the phone.
  • When speaking with a client on the phone, turn off any background noise such as the radio or your television.
  • No matter how friendly you have become with a client, always keep your wording professional. Observe the same rules that you would if you were mailing a business letter to another.
  • DO NOT use emoticons or internet slang such as LOL, LMAO, ROFL.
  • Before sending your email, check it for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Whenever possible, always try to return phone calls before the end of the business day and respond to emails within 24 hours.
  • Communicate updates/changes to customer in a timely manner.

Accountability- As a spiritual worker you are the face of your practice and you’re often its sole employee. Therefore, you must be prepared to be fully responsible for your customer’s complete satisfaction. This means:

  • Apologize and accept responsibility for the problem or issue.
  • Don’t make excuses or blame others.
  • Don’t make up answers. If you don’t know why the problem occurred, let the customer know that you will get back to them.
  • The focus should be on solving the issue or problem and ensuring that it does not happen again.

Positivity- Would you go to a doctor who was always sick? Hire a mechanic whose car was always broken down? Seek advice from a dietician who was overweight? As a spiritual worker, customers come to you to improve their life in some way. Because you are a spiritual worker, they expect you to have your own life in order. Therefore it is important that

  • You always adopt a positive attitude.
  • Remember that your time with your client is about them, not yourself. Therefore, you should never discuss your personal problems with your client.
  • The exception to this rule is using yourself as an example of how you overcame a past problem. It is perfectly fine to give advice to a client from the position of someone who has been in the same situation and how successfully resolved the issue or problem.
  • If your problems are such that you cannot effectively assist your clients you should be honest with them, refer them to another worker and suspend your practice until you get your own life in order.

Treatment- We are all familiar with the golden rule, which states “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What this means as a customer service representative is that you should treat your customer they way in which you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Sometimes you will be given the advice to treat others the way you would treat a loved one. However, you should keep in mind that…

  • If you listen attentively to your clients they will tell you what they expect out of their relationship with you.
  • You cannot box all people into the same category. What works for one person will not work for another. You will have some customers who will want to keep things very professional and other customers who will want to be your friend and keep things very informal.
  • People change. You may have a customer who starts off wanting a professional relationship that develops into a more informal one.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from clients.

Above and Beyond- You’ll often hear this phrase in the customer service industry, but what does it mean? Well going above and beyond refers to not only meeting but surpassing a customer’s expectation. Some of the ways in which we can go above and beyond for our customers include:

  • Train your memory to remember your client’s specific issues or needs when you hear from them. For example you pick up your phone and the first thing you hear is “Hi, this is Sally from Montana”. If Sally is one of your customers, you should immediately know who she is and what her previous issues are. You may reply by saying “Oh Hi Sally, how are you? The last time we talked you were having a problem with a co-worker. What can I do for you today?”
  • It is normal to have clients mail you items for your work such as personal concerns, petitions, etc… and to provide you with basic information about themselves such as their date of birth. You can make a habit of keeping track of your client’s birthdays and mailing them a hand-written card along with a coupon for your service such as a free 30 minute reading or the setting of a Vigil light and candle-burn report.
  • Practice service after the sale. Don’t wait for clients to get back to you about results, make it your habit to follow up with clients and make sure they are happy with your service and or product. For example a customer’s Vigil Light burns down with positive signs and you direct the customer to wait 3 weeks to watch for movement on the issue. Make a note on your calendar to follow-up with that customer in three weeks.

Initiative- Initiative refers to being pro-active with your potential clients and customers. Remember in our example above how the employee approached the customer and asked them if they needed assistance? To provide effective customer service you often have to be willing to take the first step. Some of the ways that we can take the initiative include:

  • Be Approachable. You never know when you are going to run into a potential client. It is important that you always conduct yourself appropriately when in the public and project a warm, friendly manner. For example, you may be at the concession stand at the movies when someone approaches you asking “Aren’t you that tarot lady? I’ve always wanted to have a reading done but I’m scared of receiving bad news.” The manner in which you react can either drive more business to you or away from you.  
  • Recognize those in need. You may be in line at the supermarket and strike up a conversation with someone else in line. Through your conversation you may learn something about them that would lead you to believe that they would benefit from your products and/or services. You may identify yourself as a spiritual worker, give them some brief advice, and leave them with your card.

Need- Need refers to identifying exactly what your customer needs which may be different from what they want and helping the customer to understand how your service can address their issue or problem. So of the ways we can recognize our customer’s needs include.

  • Showing the client that you care.
  • Actively listen to your customer and ask questions to clarify statements.
  • Understand and respond to their specific needs.
  • Explain their options in relation to your product/service and how it can address their issue.

 These are just some of the way that you as a spiritual practitioner can strive to provide your clients with a high level of customer service, attract new customers, and keep them returning to you again and again.

Carolina Dean

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