You work hard to provide goods or services to the public and enjoy interacting with your customers. But is your communication style or that of your staff annoying them? Your intentions may be good — you think you’re just being friendly, but your customers may view your approach as too personal. Evaluate the way you’re speaking to them so that you don’t drive them away.
Greet Customers in a Business-like Manner
Sure, you greet everyone in your personal life with a hearty “Hi, Sweetie!” but your customers are not likely to consider themselves in this category. It’s an overly “familiar” greeting that suggests you have a closer relationship with them than you do. You call everyone “Dearie” or “Baby” as an expression of kindness, but some may be twice your age and react negatively to what they view as a lack of respect. Save these endearing types of greetings for those you know well.
Stick to “Small Talk”
Yes, the customer service trainer told you to chit-chat to show an interest in your shoppers, but most don’t want to explain to you what they did all day or what they’re planning to do next. Feel free to converse about the weather, but skip the probing inquiries. People can be extremely friendly, but they don’t expect you to interrogate them. Stick to pleasantries and mind your own business.
Keep Problems to Yourself
Even though clients ask, “How are you today?”, they really don’t want to know. It’s just polite to ask. It’s not an invitation for you to tell them the story of your life or to complain about all your personal problems. And certainly, they don’t want to know about discontent you’re feeling on your job. While they can offer a consoling word, what can they really do about your troubles? Your complaints only serve to diminish their view of your company or organization which, in today’s digital age, is likely to be shared quickly with others. So, though you may be feeling frustrated, find another way to get the support you need. Talk to friends and family, visit your EAP, or seek professional help outside your company. But let your customers come and go without being brought down by your unhappiness.
It’s easy to unwittingly annoy customers as you go through your day. Be friendly and helpful, but stick to business so they can exit your establishment feeling good about the contact they’ve had with you!
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About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant specializing in Success Psychology.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Your Success Psychologist!
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317