Is it just me or are certain companies going overboard trying to be nice in all the wrong ways?

When too much of a good thing is too much…..

Yesterday, I had to call a bank. The auto-receptionist announced “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today. How can we serve you?” Then proceeded to list the various numbers for the departments. I chose and down the HAPPY rabbit hole we go….

Next auto-voice announced “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today. You have reached the ABC Department how can we serve you?” Then proceeded to list the various numbers for the options. I chose a number. Next auto-voice announced “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today. You have reached the ABC Department please wait for the next agent to serve you.”

I waited, and waited, half listening to the classical music that was suppose to calm me, when all of a sudden a EXTRA cheery voice announces “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today, how can I serve you?”  Not sure if it was real or automated, I gasp, “Yes…”.  They couldn’t help and transferred me, once again greeted with a long wait and “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today.  How can I serve you?” I was transferred a total of 4 times and heard “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today”. I was so tired of hearing “It’s a great day at XYZ Bank today” I wanted to scream – “No, it’s not !”  Finally, issue solved in under a minute after 42 minutes of my time. It might be a great day at XYZ Bank, but it didn’t make my day….

Today, I ran to a local bank, (different firm), and noticed 4 tellers gathered around. Immediately, I was greeted all at once and in unison by 4 big-smiling humans, all saying  “It’s a great day at 123 Bank today.  How can we serve you?” I proceeded to the counter, where all four tried to chat with me. The gal helping me proceeded to ask what I considered far-reaching and personal questions unrelated to the transaction, with her trio eagerly awaiting my responses—very disturbing. None of them the slightest bit aware of my short, stern answers, clinched jaw and lowered chin. Such a shame, they were friendly, I’ll grant that, but friendly can go too far when there is no previous relationship. The only thing running through my mind, was ‘get me outta-here’.

When a customer calls or walks through our door don’t be too happy or too stern, be warm and genuine.

Three Quick Tips to Opening Customer Service Rapport

  1. Greet with a friendly tone of voice and a slow, small smile (even on the phone-you can hear a smile). The smile can grow over time if the customer is there for a positive reason. We want to maintain a small smile to look open and receiving, yet if they are seeking our service for less than positive reasons we want to adapt to an appropriate tone and expressions to show concern.
  2. Use a sideways or slightly tipped up palm gesture when greeting. The sideways palm gestures says you are serious or the slightly tipped palm up, says serious and open or friendly.
  3. Observe their response to your opening. This is critical. Take your cues from the other person. Before we open too cheery, we need to understand where the customer is emotionally.  Our being too happy can be as detrimental as too much sour-puss.  In Shelle Rose Charve’s great book “The Customer Is Bothering Me” Shelle points out “Customers switch from whatever emotion is normal for them to the fight or flight response because they feel violated…. This feeling is greatly exacerbated when customers feel their supplier isn’t treating the problem as seriously as they should.” I agree, the sappier the opening the greater the chance of upsetting the customer.

In short, our body language and our words will affect the emotional state of the customer.  Customers expect us to understand first then engage in how we can help them.

Oh, before I sign off —  Cool News! What Your Body Says (and how to master the message) is out on Kindle now. 

And FINALLY The “Stuff-Behind-the-Stuff”…and NOW You Will Know It Too!

(If You Don’t Learn These Nonverbal Strategies that Influence and Inspire Others To Take Action, You Are Losing Out on Thousands of Dollars & Wasting An Enormous Amount of Your Time Every Week, Month & Year!)  Some of you have been asking how you can get your personal coaching from me to get answers to your specific questions.  I’ve arranged for a special one-day session, with me personalized specifically to your needs.

Have a great day whatever your adventure
Sharon Sayler


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