Business Sense: Improve Customer Service With the 10-4 Rule

Posted on 15 September 2017 by CRadmin3

Some people have an innate knack for customer service. They simply understand how to make the most of a busy showroom by eagerly assisting customers in need of help and dissolving problem situations effortlessly and enthusiastically. Many of you may be this sort of person, you may be lucky enough to have one on your staff. However, it is rare to have more than single employee with a natural gift for customer service.

Once your business reaches a certain size, it becomes impossible for this one person to handle each customer, and you never know when he or she might leave to pursue another avenue. Unfortunately, there is no sure way to find another natural through the typical hiring process. The good news is that not every customer service representative has to have “the gift.” It is possible to train any employee with good intentions to provide top-notch service.

Identify the Skillset for Customer Relations

It’s not that difficult to identify what makes someone good at customer service. All you have to do is examine some of your own experiences as a customer – specifically the worst ones. First and foremost, a bad customer service rep, salesperson or even waiter will become visibly annoyed at your very presence, and heaven forbid that you try to ask a question.

These bad situations will help you see that excellent customer service is a skill that can be “taught, measured and rewarded.” And following is a strategy that will help you avoid your customers receiving similar treatment.

Applying the 10-4 Rule

The 10-4 Rule is simple: If you are within 10 feet of a customer, make eye contact as you would do to a close friend. In addition, don’t be afraid to smile. Establishing eye contact shows that you acknowledge the customer, and you are open and prepared for questions. You may not even be available at that particular moment, but the customer will understand the acknowledgement and will usually wait patiently until you to get to them. Furthermore, the quick act of eye contact and a smile will rarely disrupt the customer you are currently helping.

Part two of the 10-4 Rule is to make a friendly comment or ask a helpful question. Any of the following will do just fine:

  • May I help you?
  • Have you been here before?
  • Are you familiar with our products?
  • Hi!

The main point is to open an inviting dialogue rather than be dismissive by saying something such as, “We’re just getting ready to close.”

The above behaviors work well because they are observable and easy to read. Customers do not have to rely on their intuition. Another reason they are so great is that these behaviors can be taught, and they will go a long way when put into use. The 10-4 Rule can also be measured, which makes your staff accountable, and it can be rewarded to further incentivize your employees.

Read the original article by Kathleen Teodoro of Moraware here: The 10-4 Rule of Customer Service

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