And how are you?

From Kirsty Mawer
Let’s talk about phone manners and introductions. Are your employees (or even yourself) letting your business down by overlooking the basic introduction? The number of times I call to speak with a supplier and the conversation goes like this:

Supplier: “Good morning, XYZ company, Barnaby speaking.”
Me: “Hi Barnaby, Kirsty from ABC company, how are you?”
Supplier: “Good.”
*Awkward silence*

Uh, ok – don’t you want to know how I am doing today?

And the above scenario is not a rare occurrence, nor is it exclusively the receptionist or so-called customer service representative- it can also happen with managers. If there is one way to seriously get under my skin, it is the apparent lack of care for me as a consumer potentially wanting to buy something from your company.
Personally, I don’t require an in depth conversation about what colour my knickers are or what I ate for dinner last night, but there is a level of expectation that you actually care about me (as a potential customer) and my needs. Isn’t that why we have this concept called “Customer Service”?
Currently there is much discussion about how terrible things are in Mackay (and surrounding regions), how the downturn has affected the local economy and blah blah blah, but I can’t help but think that we might need a shift in perspective.
While I might not be in a position to change the local economy or produce dozens of new clients, I am going to implore businesses to start taking an interest in their existing clients and customers to keep them. How often is it spouted that it is far cheaper to retain your existing clients than to continually find new ones?
Some people will contest that they or their employees don’t have time to engage in idle chit chat with every client that calls. I would argue that if clients don’t feel welcome or receive the level of service they are expecting then, over time, the company is going to have more and more free time as their client numbers dwindle.
Have you ever experienced the power of positivity when you might be feeling a bit average and you talk to someone happy and bubbly? After speaking with that person, you might walk away slightly uplifted, feeling just a little bit better about the day or it may have even given you a new idea. Positivity and happiness can be contagious and bring about change, which is productive.
Translating this into an office or business scenario means getting a little creative with phone manner and responding positively when someone calls and asks how you are and then reciprocating the question to your client or customer with genuine interest.
When asked how you are, try responding with a positive adjective such as “Amazing” or “Awesome” (Google synonyms or drag out your thesaurus). I can’t stress enough the importance of being sincere when responding as using sarcastic undertones tells your conversation partner a whole other story.
Notice the difference in conversation tone when you respond with a simple “Good” (just like everyone else) compared to “Fantabulous” (different, happy, unique).
At TED Global 2014, Pia Mancini pointed out that “Social change is not going to come from just knowing more information, but from doing something with it”, so come on – let's change it up a bit. Why be mediocre when you can be "Magnificent"?