“There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think about that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.”
In his widely acclaimed self-help book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People“, business philosopher Dale Carnegie breaks down the art of social interaction into simple, logical science. Each kind of social transaction is labelled, and broken down into its constituent parts. He goes on to explain how to develop each item into a strength that will increase one’s effectiveness both at work and at play.
This week we’re examining the value and effectiveness of customer service as an integral part of any marketing strategy. So, let’s review the most fundamental essentials when it comes to dealing with people according to Mr Carnegie:
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Negative feedback achieves extremely little, if anything at all. Mr Carnegie has this to say on the subject:
“Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.”
If, on the other hand, we respond with a positive outlook and a potential solution, not only do we dissipate the other person’s frustration, we come impart a sense of dignity, and earn respect. The beauty of this principle is that it is equally effective with clients, suppliers, staff, family and friends. It even works with complete strangers, and failure is very rare.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do.But it takes great character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
In our fast-paced, rapidly advancing society, it often seems the cynicism is the new wisdom. In an attempt to appear worldly, sophisticated and wise, we overlook or downplay the good that others show us. It’s as if we simply expect people to behave well, while never reinforcing that behaviour, or taking the time even to acknowledge it.
If we’re honest with ourselves, a heartfelt “Thank You”, or even a nod of affirmation, will go a long way towards encouraging us to do our best. This is true for the people we interact with each day, as well.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that sincere appreciation and insincere flattery are not the same thing. While the first is a vital component to successful interactions, it will be easy to see through the latter.
Chapter 2 of How to Win Friends and Influence People has this to say:
“Of course flattery seldom works with discerning people. It is shallow, selfish and insincere. It ought to fail and it usually does. True, some people are so hungry, so thirsty, for appreciation that they will swallow anything, just as a starving man will eat grass and fishworms.
The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other is insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other is selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”
Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Finally, for today, it’s important to understand the value of a strong want in the person you’re dealing with. As we explained yesterday, as far as your customer is concerned, “It’s all about me!” Dale Carnegie elaborates even further with the comment we opened with, which explains that the only way to get anyone to do anything is to make them want to do it.
The old adage tells us that we’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and nowhere is this more true than in effective customer service. Gentleness, patience and respect will go a long way towards achieving a strong, lasting relationship. And since it is easier to keep existing clients than to develop new ones, this is a principle that deserves our attention.
The key to making people want to do something is to figure out, first of all, what it is that they want. You see? It’s all about them. Once you know what they want, you can identify what products or services you have that meet that desire, and offer these as the solution to your client’s problems. After that, the sale is easy. They want to buy from you because you have what they need.
Does customer service form an integral part of your marketing campaign, or are you relying too heavily on a combination of product and clever copy to convert browsers into buyers? Without excellent service to back up your sales, your marketing will fall flat.