This post could be seen as an excuse to include the adorable picture above, but oh cynical reader, you’d only be half right. The link between dogs and human happiness is nothing new, but I think they can teach us some very important lessons about customer service and even more importantly customer relationships. Take a step down into the madness below if you dare…
- Dogs are always happy to see you. Easy peasy this one – if you’re not happy to see a customer or speak to one on the phone then it’s unlikely that the customer will have a great experience. Instinctively, dogs bound up to you the moment you come through the door. It would take a cold heart not to be bowled over. Whilst I wouldn’t advocate running at your customers with your tongue hanging out, you should always give the impression that you’re happy to see or hear from them.
- Loyalty. If you look after them, dogs will stay incredibly loyal to you. There have been numerous tales of dogs visiting their owner’s grave long after the owner has passed away. Treat your customers with respect, honesty and trust and they will stay loyal to you.
- Dogs let you know if they’re unhappy. I’m sure we’ve all been kept awake by barking dogs (especially on bonfire night). Dogs let you know if they’re unhappy in a very vocal way. In customer support, we need to make sure that our customers bark at us if they’re unhappy as then we can do something about it and fix the problem. What we don’t want is them barking to the whole street and sharing their unhappy experiences.
- You have clean up the mess. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don’t go our way and the customer is let down and disappointed. We then have a choice: we can either walk away and let the mess fester, or we can pick it up and resolve to fix the problem. Guess what path your customer will appreciate more. Plus, you ensure that the problem won’t make someone else slip up in the future.
- Is the dog walking you? My next door neighbour has a Great Dane, and I often joke with him that it’s his dog taking him for a walk rather than the other way round. Some customers are like this – they want to lead you to their acceptable outcome. In customer service, we have to decide how much we are willing to be led, and how much we need to walk the customer through their experience. The balance is key here.
- Dogs never answer back. It’s true. You can hold a very long conversation with a dog and you’ll never receive a reply (although the dog probably will fall asleep at some point). We have to learn how to respond to their needs and keep them contented and happy. Unfortunately, we’re not always as good at reading our customers the same way. Thus, we need to encourage them to make noise and respond to our questions and solicitations for feedback. A quiet customer is a dangerous customer as they do not want a conversation with us.
Any other dog lovers out there got any more to add or am I indeed barking (sorry, couldn’t resist!) mad?