A team of 3 researchers published an interesting study on how customer service can be improved by recognizing a customer’s stress level before a connection with your business is made.
For example, a customer can often be anxious over using a particular service, i.e., a funeral home or a lawyer in connection with a divorce. By learning more about how your clients feel when they call your business, you can better manage the customer experience. This offers your business a more effective customer base of referrals and repeat business.
The researchers identified the following steps to manage stressed-out customers:
1. Find out how your customers are feeling when they need your service.
One reason so many breast cancer facilities are free-standing, away from the main hospital complex, is because women voiced their ideas to the healthcare team designing the facilities. Women wanted coordinated care under one roof but felt like the hospital was not a calming environment.
Use your empathy to walk in your customer’s shoes to change the experience.
2. Hire not only for skill, but attitude and personality.
Employees who love their job can’t be trained. The passion and enthusiasm, even for a high-stress career like a cancer nurse or funeral director, cannot be taught.
Look to bring on team members who have empathy for your customers and understand that business is all about customer service. It’s far easier to teach someone the skills needed for a job than it is to teach them to be motivated to work.
3. Study your approach to the customer’s journey.
How does your business interact with the client? From the first link online or phone call to the payment options, what is the customer’s experience? Do they come out more stressed, or less stressed than before?
Address the high-stress interactions by providing information about your services. For example, when calling to view a listing, what can your customer expect?
4. Give the customer more control over the service.
Dealing with a mechanic who tells you that your engine is shot is highly stressful. Instead, learn to be more specific and talk to the customer in a language that can be understood by someone without technical knowledge. Make sure your customer has one point-of-contact throughout their experience. Have a plan B in place for when that individual is sick or goes on vacation.
Empower your customers through today’s technology, maybe an app that tracks the sale. There’s no excuse today for poor customer service and information.
I would highly recommend that every real estate professional read the research from Harvard Business Review. Leonard L. Berry, Scott W. Davis, and Jody Wilmet packed so much information into their report that there’s no way we could cover the full wealth of information here.