Customer Driven: Why Authenticity Matters in Customer Service
By Laura Jozwiak June 21, 2019
How do you achieve the “holy grail” of customer service? To help answer that question you can seek the advice written in the hundreds of thousands of books on the topic, attend seminars and conferences, conduct online research – your resources are endless. Googling the phrase “customer service” returns 786,000,000 search results! If you work in customer service and have the desire to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, you’ve likely clicked into many of these results to investigate further in hopes of refining your skills.
I’ve read the books, attended the seminars, sifted through the online search results in pursuit of that “holy grail.” While I’ve collected some valuable insights, I’ve discovered something that is difficult to teach and to learn, but in my opinion, just might be the “holy grail” of customer service that everyone is searching for…authenticity.
Authenticity Is The Key To Customer Relationships
Think about an interaction you’ve had, business or personal, where the person knows a lot about the topic, can answer all of our questions but lacked energy. Maybe their gaze drifted away a few times, or you didn’t hear the passion in their voice. Even if they knew all the answers, it likely left you unfulfilled.
Now reflect upon a time in which you are working with someone that just “gets you.” What was it about that interaction that made you feel that way? Maybe they asked you questions instead of just providing answers. Maybe they worked harder to understand you, your motivation and how they could help.
The people who lead these types of interactions are the ones you remember; the people who you form long-lasting relationships with. You trust them and believe they have your best interest in mind because they are authentic. They stay true to their own personality; they demonstrate spirit. They care about and believe in who and what they are representing. And in the world of customer service that translates into receiving the service that you expect and deserve.
The reason why the topic came to the forefront for me this week was because we recently lost an authentic person in the Wheels’ family, and the overall fleet industry. For those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mary Olson, you saw firsthand how being authentic, trustworthy, loyal and passionate resulted in a rewarding life for Mary, and for those she worked with and educated in the fleet industry. Mary will be missed by many, but she leaves behind a great path to follow.
Where Can You Build Authenticity In Your Work?
Let’s take an authenticity lesson from Mary and rise to the challenge. At your next meeting, don’t worry about your agenda, instead worry about your client’s, co-worker’s, supplier’s agenda. Ask about their issues, concerns, and motivation – put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself what can you do to help them achieve, break through and improve?