Valentine’s Day is here, the holiday where we show our appreciation and affection for those we love. So where do our valued customers fit in this picture? We all know that without them, none of us would be in business. Here are three ways my colleagues and I are “spreading the love” to our customers this Valentine’s Day.
- Give them your heart
Many years ago I was fortunate to attend an incentive trip for the top 40 agencies of the travel group I worked with. One of our speakers was a customer service guru who spoke about how to provide excellent customer service, and his message still resonates with me today.
He spoke about the Four Seasons hotel chain’s customer service philosophy: Take ownership of your customer’s problem. For example, a guest steps into the hotel elevator. Then a bellboy hops on the elevator to deliver luggage to another guest. The first guest complains that the blow dryer in her room isn’t working. Instead of telling the customer she should speak with the maintenance team, the bellboy says, “Let me take care of that for you.” While the bellboy clearly cannot fix her blow dryer, he can make sure the people who are able to fix it are aware of the problem. This personalized attention is a hallmark of Four Seasons’ legendary customer service.
- Make listening your love language
The Greek philosopher, Epicetus, said, “We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Carolina Amaya, Senior Business Development Manager, says that being a good listener is the best love language skill we can employ with our customers. “Listening takes practice and patience, but it’s essential in the customer relationship. I find that my customers truly feel appreciated when I’m making the conscious effort to listen to them, even when times are not so good, and frustrations are getting the best of them. It is important to let them know we value their opinions and feedback, and regardless of the situation, we are here to provide all the support they need.”
- Show them you “get” them
Best-selling author Stephen Covey says that most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. For Michelle Rheinheimer, Senior IT Account Manager, Covey’s fifth habit resonates. “One way to show love on Valentine’s Day is to take the time to really understand the experiences of other people, to ‘walk a mile’ (or several) in their shoes. We may think we have a clear understanding of what someone is experiencing, yet until we actually experience it first-hand, we will have little impact to effect change and improve the situation.”
Michelle will participate in an international missions program this spring, and offers this example: “Imagine having to walk five miles each morning just to gather and provide clean drinking water for your family. Until you experience this, you may not appreciate the simple ‘gift’ of being able to walk into the next room for a glass of water. In the same way, this Valentine’s Day, take time to understand what your customer faces daily, and share your love by empathizing and then helping.”
Love is all you need
As the Beatles song goes, “All you need is love.” At Amadeus, this philosophy is at the heart of what we do. As front-line customer-facing professionals, each of us admittedly has a lot on our plate. Yet we must never lose sight of a customer’s need by passing off the problem to another department, ignoring their request, or taking them for granted. Our role is to listen with open minds and hearts, to better understand where they’re coming from, so we can take ownership of the situation. Problem-solving can be tricky, frustrating and time-consuming, yet becoming excellent “ambassadors of love” is the ultimate gift we give our customers. After all, when our customers succeed, we succeed also!
How will you show your customers some love this Valentine’s Day?