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a blog by Don R. Crawley

Keynote Speaker on
IT Customer Service and Compassion

Bringing humanity into the world of technology

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In an earlier video, I talked about the four traits of the customer service masters. They are compassion, empathy, good listening skills, and an ability to treat all people with respect. Within every organization, there are certain people who seem to have an intuitive ability to treat their customers well, using the four traits of the customer service masters.

Really, it’s a matter of treating end users and customers as people.

Who Are Our Customers?

Remember, that anyone who receives service from us is our customer. Perhaps our customer is an end user, a colleague, a subordinate, or our supervisor. Regardless, first and foremost, our customers are people.

The act of providing customer service is an act of human interaction, it’s one person to another person. When we remember to see our customers first as people, then as customers, it can change the way we deal with them.

Recall the wisdom of the late Maya Angelou who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you say, they’ll forget what you do, but they will never forget how you make them feel.”

As Usual, It’s About Empathy

As people, our fellow humans, our customers are deserving of our empathy. How would we feel if we were in their situation? Have you ever wanted to ask a customer service rep to put him or herself in your situation? What would you want if you were in the customer’s position? As one human to another, try to imagine what your customer is feeling and what you would feel if you were in their shoes. If your customer is a co-worker and you’re handing off a project, imagine what you would need if someone were handing off a project to you. What are the things that would make for a successful transition?

If your customer is an end user who is struggling with a seemingly simple task on a computer, something that seems obvious to you, remember that you’ve invested years of your life in working with computers and networks to get to the point where you are with your knowledge. Your end user has probably done something similar in her or his field of specialization, but doesn’t have that level of expertise with computers. It’s the same as when we go to an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, or some other specialist. We’re going to them for their expertise because we don’t have it. That’s exactly what happens when a customer comes to us for help. They’re looking for our expertise because they don’t have it. We must remember how we feel when we need help from a specialist and recognize that’s how our customers feel when they come to us.

We create a better work environment and a more successful enterprise when we look for ways to make everyone’s experience better, when we look for ways to lift each other up.

The Danger of Labels

I once heard someone say it’s easy to hate a label, but much more difficult to hate a person. He was talking about world events and I think something similar applies to our work in information systems and technology. When we label the people whom we support, we run the risk of de-humanizing them. Sure, we use labels to categorize and simplify our life, so a customer is always a customer and an end user is always an end user, but first and foremost, our customers and end users, our colleagues at work, and frankly, everyone we encounter are people, deserving of our empathy, compassion, listening, dignity, and respect.

For More Ideas on How to Improve Communication and Customer Service Skills

Bring my one-day IT customer service training seminar onsite to your location for your group, small or large. Click here for the course description and outline.

Customer service book for IT staffPick up a copy of my IT customer service book The Compassionate Geek: How Engineers, IT Pros, and Other Tech Specialists Can Master Human Relations Skills to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service, available through Amazon and other resellers.

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