As the parent of a 3-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter, much of my family time is spent learning lessons. Whether it involves not pulling your sister’s hair because it hurts, or putting your dishes in the sink, my home has become a constant teaching zone for my kids. And although neither of them usually learns these lessons quickly, they secretly, I believe, are sponges for all of the lessons my wife and I are trying to instill. Of late, I have been thinking of the lesson these two wild and wonderful children are teaching my wife and me. As a proud member of the Fat Brain Toys team, customer service is a daily focus and concentration. Connecting this with all of these lessons at home got me to think that maybe children have it all figured out. Here are five lessons about treating customers I have recently learned from my children.
1. “Tell the Truth”
For three and five year old children, the “Truth” is probably the most important thing in their world. I believe it is because they are discovering how important trust is in their daily lives. If a parent convinces a child that going to the doctor is fun and does not involve getting shots, and then the child gets a shot, this trust has been broken. This is the same as a customer being sold on a product’s quality, a great price discount, or speedy shipping and then receiving a junky toy, with no discount, 3 days after you expected it. The customer service lesson here is simple, tell the truth. Tell the truth about your products and services, and tell the truth about making things right.
2. “Try Your Best”
Failures happen, both at my home and in the world of customer service. My 3 year old still has the occasional accident in his pants. With his personality, he reacts to the situation by getting mad. We talk all the time about doing his best. I think he knows that when this happens he can take solace in the fact that he will do his best next time. The same holds true for customer service. Accidents are going to happen. But if the company or the contact truly does their best to first make the situation right, and second they make sure the customer will not have the same experience in the future, then we can all take solace in “Doing Our Best”
3. “Use Your Listening Ears”
I am not sure where my children picked up this term, but it is fabulous. In our fast paced, non-personal, texting world this lesson is vital. As a society we are not as skilled at listening as we once were. One reminder from my five year old to use my listening ears makes sure I get what she is trying to tell me. As far as this role in the customer service world – slow down, and use your listening ears because nothing is more important than what the customer is trying to express to you at that moment.
4. “Be Kind”
Children are born kind and then we screw that up for them. Bullying, judging, and mistreatment of people are all learned behaviors. Everyday, I see kindness in my children, and in turn I notice it more throughout my day. In the world of customer service many customers are not accustomed to kindness. We need to be kind, not bullying, judging or mistreating no matter how slow, silly or inappropriate the customer’s requests might seem. If you show customers kindness, most often they will respond in kind
5. “Do the Right Thing”
I could argue all day that we all know the difference between right and wrong: customers, businesses, and children. Coming to an understanding on how to manage the right and the wrong is an area that starts wars, and creates lawyers. My children know when they do something wrong. They are transparent and not skilled at burying the emotion or fooling themselves that the wrong they did was justified. As business representatives, deep down we know when we have done wrong by our customers. We need to be transparent and honest enough to “Do the Right Thing” by these people even when it’s hard. Choosing the difficult right over the easy wrong – that is what earns a business and individuals real credibility.