Standing at the front of the line at my city's office to pay my property taxes. Next to me at the counter was a man who was also paying his property taxes. The woman behind the counter working with him had her nose buried in her computer. He said to her "My mother just died and I have her house. I will need to pay her taxes also."
As you picture this scene, what do you imagine the city worker said in response?
"Oh my, I am so sorry to hear that.", or, "I lost my mother last year, it was really hard for me", or "I hope you are okay."
If you thought she offered any of those kind, thoughtful expressions, you would be wrong. She never even looked up from the computer. She merely said "Well there will be other paper work you will need to fill out."
The man who had just lost his mother looked shell shocked by her lack of human kindness. Not only was this lacking in basic humanity, it demonstrates what is lacking in customer service today.
The secret to great customer service is "be a human." There are many ways to "be a human." When you are a human rather than a worker drone you have the opportunity to connect with your customer. You may want to notice when a customer mentions something personal. All you need to do is pay attention and respond appropriately. Our customers drop information at our feet and all we need to do is pick it up and respond. Consider these examples:
A customer says, "My dog chewed up my bill, I will need another." You might respond, "What kind of dog do you have?"
A customer says "I have to go pick up my daughter at dance class after this." You might respond, "What kind of dance does she do?"
A customer says, "The traffic is terrible out there. It took me twenty minutes to get here" You might respond, "I know the traffic just seems to get worse and worse these days."
Great customer service comes from small acts of kindness.
Remember, all it takes is to "be a human".