“It takes 21 days to form a habit.”
Actually, I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard that statement many times. It’s based somewhat on the timeline, but it’s also based on the premise that habits can be formed simply by intentionally repeating the act. You make something second nature by making it a first priority for a period of time.
In customer service, we don’t always perform perfectly; some things we should do or say are not top-of-mind, not the way we were raised or trained. Therefore, we need to write them down, put a sign on our desk or door, a post-it on our computer or on the dashboard of our car, an e-mail reminder we send ourselves, a statement written on the white board, a note taped to the fridge.
However you remind yourself, however you keep something top-of-mind, use that vehicle to reinforce some desired action, and do it for – as they say – at least 21 days.
But what are those habits you want to form? Here’s a list of core customer service habits where we’ve seen employees lacking over the years:
- Using the customer’s name frequently in conversation.
- Talking with the customer – keeping them engaged – when you’re working on the computer or looking through files.
- When they’re waiting onsite, touching base with them every 10-15 minutes with updates.
- Telling the co-worker to whom you’re transferring the customer about the customer’s situation so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves.
- Ensuring you end the call or appointment or meeting confirming that the customer got their need met and understands next steps.
- Thanking the customer multiple times during the encounter.
- Responding to e-mails and voice mails no later than the next day.
- Putting away your phone when you enter a meeting or you’re on a call.
- Looking away from your computer when you initially engage the customer.
While some of these may sound basic, rarely will you find employees who consistently do these activities in their customer encounters. That’s because they are not yet habits. To be great at customer service, you have to at least be really good…consistently!
Be Habitually Great at Customer Service.