Nanoseconds OF Interaction
From, at the very least, the early 80s the operative key phrase of customer service used to be moments of truth. But life and business have sped up considerably in the past 35 years or so. It doesn’t, and can’t, go at the normal relatively lazy laid back pace it did 20 years, and more, ago. Now life and business has sped up to the point where a moment has to be easily considered a nanosecond.
How you handle one of these nanoseconds of Interaction with your customers can literally mean the difference between gaining a new customer, forcing them to a competitor, or forcing re-organization of the company, at your level for ‘budgetary concerns’.
For a current customer, we could lose their respect if we manage that nanosecond poorly. Losing the respect of your customers would be tantamount to losing the customer to a competitor. And any time you lose a customer to a competitor it will impact your reputation within the city, region, or industry you’re in, if that loss was due to poor service. Remember when Hollywood went from using Ford vehicles to Chevrolet in the late 70s and early 80s? Ford lost respectability, and market share, because of it. And it gave away valuable free advertising to a major competitor.
But now you’re asking the main question. What actually is a nanosecond of Interaction? Simply put, it is an episode in which the customer comes into contact with ANY level, or aspect, of the company, department, and employees and gets an immediate impression of the level of customer service provided by them and the company, overall.
It is of paramount importance that all nanoseconds of interaction are handled professionally and courteously. Take answering the phones as a good teachable example: If an officer with a bad attitude answers the phone and is surly and arrogant, what is the caller going to think and therefore believe? More than likely they will never want to use the company that employs such an arrogant unfriendly, can we say surly as well, person.
So, how do you handle that nanosecond of Interaction on the phone? Think of it this way: If you knew it was your mother, significant other, or small child calling would you still answer in such a surly, arrogant, or stand-offish manner? Probably not. More than likely you would be likable and kind. The lesson of this? Always act like someone you love is on the other end anytime that you answer it.
What about a nanosecond in which it involves a personalized face to face? It’s just as simple to handle the right way. Treat the customer as if they were your mothers. Use all of your professional skills, knowledge, & experience to make them feel like they are welcome at your facility.
But one of these nanoseconds is more than just how you act. You’ve heard the old cliché about first impressions? Have you heard the phrase I coined in the early 90s, Perception is reality? Both of these can have a positive or detrimental effect on your nanosecond of interaction.
First impressions can be lasting ones. That is exactly what the phrase Perception is reality means. What someone believes is the truth will be their truth. Whether it is real or not it will become ingrained in their minds as if it was. It may be impossible to get that perception out of their mind without decades of work to do so and change their perceptions. You don’t think so?
How about the term guard or watchman instead of officer? Even after I’ve been using the term officer, and seeing its use rise, for more than 30 years, in everything I have done. Yet that phrase persists. Why? Because it has become so ingrained in the psyche of the public who view them as nothing but lazy, incompetent, rent-a-cops.
Another perception when someone sees an employee in clothes that resemble a table cloth at the slopping trough for the hogs. If you work in a manufacturing plant or other dirty job then it will probably be excused. But if you are working someplace clean and barren of anything more than dusty shelves…
Ensure that your working clothes are clean & neat at all times. An old trick is to keep an extra shirt and trousers in your car. Your hair should be neatly combed and clean. What about your fingernails? Do you have a genuinely friendly smile?
These small, seemingly trivial, things will allow you to manage these nanoseconds of interaction in a professional manner. With any luck, you’ll leave a lasting, hopefully excellent, impression of yourself & the company. You surely wouldn’t want your appearance or demeanor on the phone to lose a nanosecond of Interaction and possibly a customer, would you?
(this post is excerpted from the forth coming book ‘Customer Oriented Quality Service: The COQS method’ set for publication in early 2017)
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear