The other day a reporter interviewed me for an article on customer service. (In my professional life, I’m a bestselling author and expert on strategic customer service.) As she asked me question after question, I kept thinking, “This is just the same as in dating!” Or “I posted a blog entry about how that works in dating.” But of course, I kept that to myself.
“What are the parallels?” you ask.
She asked me, “What are the mistakes you see business owners make in customer service?”
I said, “Clarifying mis-matched expectations. If you have a chronically unhappy customer, you aren’t meeting her expectations. If you are unable or unwilling to change your processes to meet what she wants, best to have an honest conversation with her about this and invite her to explore other providers. If she chooses to stay with you, she will be clearer on what to expect. Or she could choose to go to someone else who can better meet what she wants.”
Isn’t that the same with dating? If the person you are dating regularly expresses his unhappiness with you, and you are unable or willing to change what he doesn’t like, isn’t it best to have an honest, non-accusatory conversation and invite him to move on if he can’t adjust his expectations? And if you are unhappy with him, isn’t it respectful to have a non-judgmental conversation about how your needs aren’t being met and let him decide if he wants to try to meet them or move on?
The reporter asked how to deal with customers’ different needs.
I suggested the staff get strategic training in discerning what kind of communication style the customer has, then understand how to adapt to each style. The customer is more likely to be loyal if he feels someone understands him and speaks his language.
In dating, when you understand the communication style of the man on the other side of the coffee table, you can better know what his idea of “clear communication” is. You will know how to talk to him in a way he hears clearest. You will also know if your styles mesh or if there will always be tension. Even when you know each others’ style, it doesn’t always mean your relationship will be stress free. My ex and I both taught communication styles, and we still had hiccups.
And lastly, in customer service, the best providers are those who periodically check in with their customer to see how they are doing and if there is anything that can make the customer’s experience even better.
The best relationships check in occasionally, either with a counselor or without, and see if there are any issues that need working through. These conversations allow hidden issues to be revealed and resolved.
What other parallels do you see between customer service and dating or relationships?
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