This May, it will be three (3) years that I’ve been a Stay At Home Mom. And… drum roll please… both my kids are healthy and happy. EEK! Who knew I could do this whole “mom” thing??
I can’t deny that from time to time, I fantasize about re-joining the workforce. In particular, I miss:
1. Watching the clock – and running down for a coffee on the dot of 10:00am.
2. Wearing pencil skirts.
3. Listening to the morning show on the drive in.
4. Using my corporate long distance code to call friends and family.
5. Generating a paycheck (duh).
Since many of y’all only know me as a blogger, it may surprise you to find out that I was once quite the corporate gal. In my last role before Ryder came along, I managed Customer Satisfaction for a Fortune 100 conglomerate; I coordinated internal customer surveys, measured and analyzed satisfaction scores, and conducted employee training in customer service.
In short, I know a thing or two about how to communicate effectively.
And, I also know a few tricks on how to diffuse tense situations, converse with irate individuals, and harness the power of persuasion to get what I want (curiously, these skills don’t seem to translate when dealing with toddlers. Huh).
Now it seems like such a shame to let all that expertise go to waste, especially since I’m no longer certain I’ll return to the field of employee satisfaction. So I thought I’d set up a new series on Listen to Lena! called “Tell Me Something Good”. This won’t be your run-of-the-mill “The Customer Is Always Right” training – instead, I’d like to focus on tips and techniques to improve your communication skills. Most people who meet me will tell you I’m personable, savvy and full of energy – yes, that’s true, but it’s also true that I constantly channel my “Customer-Focused Persona”. Essentially, I like to treat others as if they were my best customer. And wouldn’t you be interested, polite and attentive to your best customer?
I hope you enjoy the series. I can’t promise that there will be a logical flow to the “lessons” – I’m just aiming to jot down some of my favourite techniques for building communication and character. Please do comment with your own experiences/ suggestions – I love hearing from y’all!
LESSON ONE: Speak with a Smile in Your Voice
It’s an old customer service trick to pick up the phone, smile, and then speak. Why? Because your voice will come across that much more pleasant. But smiling shouldn’t be limited to the beginning of a conversation – when I chat with blog sponsors, my doctor’s secretary, Rogers Cable, etc… I speak with a smile for the entire exchange.
(Before you think, “So she yaps away with a dumb-ass smile on her face the whole time?”, the answer is no. Maybe I did at first, but now I’m so used to turning on my “Happy Voice”, it’s second nature to sound incredibly friendly without even trying.)
So why should you speak with a smile? Well, simply put, people like friendly people. And it’s a well known fact that you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You’d be surprised how a sweet demeanor can increase your stock in the most unlikely places – take my word for it, people REMEMBER nice folk just as much as they remember nasty peeps. If you don’t fall into either category, chances are you won’t be memorable at all – how tragic!
Lena’s Life: Last week, I missed the Joe Fresh pre-launch in Mississauga due to inclement weather. While the store was still offering 20% off on opening day, goody bags were distributed the night before for the pre-launch attendees only. Still, I visited the store and picked out some great finds. Now at the checkout, I was chatty, friendly, but most of all, sincerely interested in how the staff were coping (the store was jam-packed). After a few moments, I casually asked if there were leftover goody bags. The associate looked at me, smiled, and whispered, “We’re not supposed to give them out today, but you’re such a sweetheart! I’ll get one from the back for you.”
It took me exactly 20 seconds to make an impression. What did the other customers do in 20 seconds? Nothing that earned them a goody bag, that’s for sure. Ha!
So to recap the lesson, treat everyone today like your best customer. Don’t be afraid to smile, engage people in light conversation, and channel your inner Customer Service Guru.
Have a great weekend!