Dopo che un Barbiere ed un Tassista ci hanno insegnato qualcosa sulla Customer Experience, vediamo cosa ha da insegnarci un addetto alle pulizie.
In business it goes without saying that people buy people but I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true. People do indeed buy people. Before I was able to dedicate my full time to being an entrepreneur I had to take up all kinds of jobs to ensure I had a stream of income to keep a roof over my head as well as feed and clothe myself. I am highlighting the work of a cleaner because it is one of the most toughest jobs you can do. It is physically demanding, you need attention to detail and you must have excellent customer skills to do it well. There are not many out there who can do all three at once. I believe being a cleaner gives an extremely unique perspective to the importance of customer service because the environment you’re working in is very intimate. When you’re working in someone’s home you’re in a way invading their privacy although at their request. So here are three brilliant skills I developed from being a cleaner that are equally useful for your customer services.
1. Put People At Ease
Putting people at ease with you and what you are about to do is fundamental. Why do you think your Nurse tried to put you at ease as a child before that painful injection? I would often enter a person’s home where they would immediately stress the things that had to be done and how it should be done. This is normal. You have to try your best to address their concerns as they may be apprehensive due to a negative experience in the past. This is your chance to avert it. By reassuring and agreeing that it will be done people will naturally feel at ease. It is also your responsibility to make your client aware of the challenges and being honest. Depending on the personality of your customer (and you can usually get an idea after a short time) you might need an ice breaker. My ice breaker was usually to look at something I liked in their home and ask about it. Instantly the person would open up and end up telling some sort of a story or the background behind it all. When I was working at huge house a while ago I had one of the most interesting conversations with a woman who had lived in London for 30 years before moving from Iran. Her mother was a Psychologist and I had studied Psychology as a minor at university so we had common ground. Due to this conversation she felt at ease with the whole experience.
2. Ask Permission
During my time as a cleaner some customers would request that we should only use specific products/equipment. This was often to avoid things like damaging surfaces or that they simply preferred it that way. ‘You said your floor was sensitive to harsh cleaning products, would it be okay to use wood polish on your cupboards?‘. Ask questions for your customer along those lines. So when you offer your service/product think about whether your client might want be consulted on particular things. Why should you ask permission when they came to you for help? Because you could be missing out on important detail. You have to see your customer as a partner rather than just someone you bombard with instructions. Your customer will not always know what they need so you have to ask on their behalf. This is especially relevant if they’re unfamiliar with what you’re offering. Do it on a regular basis to show that you are thinking of them and you do care about giving them the best. This is a technique to involve people in the decision making process. Your customers would be on board much more if you let them know what’s going on and ask those questions they want to be asked. It also shows that you’re interested.
The advantage of being a small business or start up is that you can be super adaptive. Large companies find this to be a problem but you can do it. When I was cleaning homes I would sometimes be find that the customer was busy doing something in the home. For example a lady was travelling abroad a few hours after I cleaned her home. She was still in the process of doing some major packing when I arrived. There were suitcases and bags all around the house. Knowing that she was stressed out I opted to begin cleaning the kitchen so she had the bedroom and living room to herself. This very basic stuff but it makes a world of difference to your customer. How can you accommodate your customers better? They will thank you for it.
The list is not exhaustive I’m sure you can think of a few more but these are ones that I constantly try to implement when I’m in contact with customer.
AICEX Customer Experience Italian Association