GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE

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EYE CONTACT

Objective:

Try to understand how valuable facial expressions and eye contact can be for you, and how they control the reaction of your customers toward you.
When I was a child I was often terrified by the way my father looked at me. All of my brothers and sisters will agree that he had some sort of magic in his eyes. He seldom needed to apply the paddle to our back-sides because he took total control simply by looking at us. It wasn't until I was in my forties that I understood how he made such good use of his eyes, as a tool to control others.
You may have heard how powerful you can become when you look into someone's right eye. That would be the eye you see on your left as you look at another person's face. If you haven't learned about this tool you should begin using it now if you are training your children, or even training pets. It will work wonders for you.

I used the right eye technique on my children as they were growing up. Whenever I would issue a command that I intended for them to obey I would look at their right eye and concentrate, or focus, on an imaginary spot about two inches into their head, behind the eye - as if I were focusing on their brain. I'm not sure how much more effect the focusing procedure produced but I do know that when I used the right-eye technique my children seldom needed to be told what to do a second time. They seemed to pay me the same respect that I and my siblings paid my father.

There is a tremendous amount of power in eye contact. Wild animals as well as pets use eye contact to communicate with each other. You should try using it on various dogs and cats around your neighborhood. You will often notice, when staring into the eye of a dog or cat, that they will usually turn away and break eye contact with you. If they do not break eye contact with you, keep staring and watch their behavior. The animal will often appear to become uneasy. A dog may even begin barking at some point. Eye contact is a powerful tool. You can use it to improve your customer service.

Before going further I should warn you not to stare into the right-eye of your customers. Use it on your children and pets, but, not your customers. They will become uneasy and may even tell their friends that you are some sort of weirdo or something worse. But you should learn to make eye contact with your customers and here is how it should be approached.

When a customer first meets you 55% of the first impression is non-verbal. Fifty-five percent of how they will perceive you from the first second on, throughout their relationship with your business, is established within that first second. Most of what they come to believe about you is shaped from your eye contact and facial expressions. They also subconsciously notice your body language, how you are dressed, and even your posture.

Of the remaining 45% of that first impression, 38% is based upon the tone of your voice. Not what you say, but how you say it. The remaining seven percent is based upon the words you use. So, if you feel like you're not good at speaking with other people, don't be too concerned. Just stay positive as you speak. But, let's get back to eye contact. We'll look at how to speak later.

When you greet a customer you should look into their eyes and smile. The facial expression along with the eye contact will make a lasting good impression on that customer. But what if you are greeting someone over the telephone? The person at the other end cannot see you and you cannot look into their eyes. The answer is simple: imagine yourself looking into their eyes - both eyes - and smile while you are greeting them. You will discover, by trying this, that the person at the other end of the telephone line can sense your sincerity and genuine interest in greeting them. I once worked over the telephone, doing technical support for Microsoft, and had excellent results with nearly all of the people I helped. I would imagine myself looking at them when I first greeted them and then imagine myself standing beside them as we worked to resolve their problem. If you do business over the telephone it is important to visualize yourself in the same room as the person at the other end of the line.

When you do look at a customer there is no need to actually focus on any one part of their face. In fact, if you find yourself doing so you may focus in on a mole, or scar, or even some sort of disfiguration about which the customer is self-conscious. When they notice that you have spotted something like that, they become uneasy and it will be more difficult to make them feel at ease.

Have you ever sat down when you were tired and laid your head back, and just stared at something without really focusing on it? That is how you should try looking at your customers. Look into their eyes but don't try to focus on anything.

Once you have established eye contact and a few seconds have passed, look at something else, other than into the customer's eyes. Two to four seconds of solid, friendly eye contact is like a binding agent. Your customer should feel like he or she has your sincere attention. Occasionally look back into the eyes of your customer as you work through the transaction, keeping control of the link you have established with the customer's feelings.

As the transaction is completed be sure to make eye contact one last time as you thank them for their business. It is even permissible to focus on either of their eyes as you speak the words, "Thank you!" By doing so you will be more likely to imprint a distinct impressive experience into their memory. There is something about direct eye contact that locks two people together, even as they are saying, "Good bye!"

Finally, if you have never heard of the Ten-Foot Rule, here it is for your benefit. If you work in a retail environment you will encounter customers passing by throughout your work shift. These customers have entered your place of business in order to shop for one or more items. They are there with a purpose in mind. Generally they have a good idea of where they can find what they are shopping for. But, many times they are simply walking the isles in hopes of coming upon the item they desire.

The Ten-Foot Rule suggests that as a customer passes within ten feet of your position it is a very good idea to look them in the eye and greet them. They will nearly always return the greeting as they pass. Much of the time, after you smile and greet them, they will stop and ask directions to the item they need. This is your opportunity to provide good quality customer service. You can simply provide a clear description of where the item may be found, or, you can do better by showing them the item and helping them with their purchase. This speeds up their shopping duties, allowing them to return to other activities, as well as building a stronger relationship between your business and that customer.

By ignoring the Ten-Foot Rule you miss out on the opportunity to build a stronger relationship and may cause the customer to develop an attitude that your company doesn't care whether they shop there or somewhere else. It is a very good idea to practice the Ten-Foot Rule at every opportunity.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT FOR NEXT 24 HOURS

Over the next 24 hours experiment with those people around you. Carry a paper and pencil or pen with you. Try the right-eye technique on your children, pets, or anyone with whom you come into contact. Take time to jot down any unusual results you observe. Note any differences you observe in how people react to you. You can even ask them, afterward, if they noticed anything different about you.

Keep your note pad with you as you deal with your customers. Greet them with a smile and make solid eye contact for the first few seconds, then make regular eye contact, off and on, as you transact business. If your supervisor will permit you do to so, try NOT using eye contact and not smiling as you greet one or two customers throughout the day. Jot down any differences you may detect by doing so.

If you are not yet employed simply apply the above lesson to those with whom you come into contact. Treat them in the same manner you would treat a customer at your business. You will find that the same kind of treatment that works on customers also works on your acquaintances. You will begin drawing people to yourself by doing these things.