Ease Your Customers through Change

I’ve always thought that the way people adjust to change is a lot like how to they get into a swimming pool. Even on the hottest of hot days, there are some people who will run to the edge and cannonball into the deep, cold water. Sure, the initial shock will be pretty harsh, but they will be refreshed by the sudden temperature change and bob up to the surface, yelling for you to get into the water.

Then there are the easers. These are the people that get their feet used to the temperature first, and then ease themselves into the water inch by inch. Sure, these people take more time getting into the pool, but they just don’t like that instant shock. Once their bodies are adjusted, they are having just as much fun as the jumpers.

Maslow’s Hierarchy kicks in when we encounter change. These needs are fulfilled quicker for some people than others. The people who can quickly adapt around change are the divers and those who get stuck on certain levels are the easers.

When things change in the company you work for, you are going to go through the hierarchy. It’s just a part of the way we respond. Both you and your customer are working through the same things. By understanding why people act and respond the way they do – you can find it easier not only to ease yourself through change, but to help your customers as well. Check out these principals of change management psychology to help you and your customers ease (or dive) into the next big thing.

Something to Believe In

If all the conversations with your customers surround the things that will be “different”, they are likely to put your new ideas or their transition at arm’s length. Instead, break things down on how an individual customer will benefit. If you can say to a customer – “Yes, Bob, I know you’ve been looking for a better way to do XYZ, and this will be achieved with our new product” then you’re going to create a personal investment in the change. Give your customer something they can believe in, rather than expecting them to believe in what you’re excited about.

Provide as Much Consistency as Possible

When you’re pumped about a new start or direction, it can be hard to resist the temptation to throw it all away and start that building process from the ground up, but doing that can scare your customers. Ease your customers through things by changing only small things at first, before rolling out the big ones. Keep your staff the same as long as you can manage or don’t change your phone numbers until you absolutely have to. These things provide a consistently ground for your customers to keep walking along with you.

Reinforce Those Good Feelings

Once you start to push out some of those bigger things to your customers, make sure that you reach out and touch base with them, especially those who were the most resistant to change. Give them a few weeks with a new product or program, and then reach out with a phone call or email to see how things are going. This way you are available if they have any questions and you remain a consistent voice in the process.

Change isn’t easy on anyone and I think that it’s harder when you have a group of people (like customers) that you are responsible for easing through what can be a tricky process. Not only are you adjusting, but you have to walk them through the process as well. Remember that you want consistency and reinforcement as much as they do, and don’t be afraid to find your own ways to feel steady. There’s probably a good chance you and your customer can help each other through the process.

How do you help your customers through change?

Breaking Down the Technical Barriers of Customer Service

I work in a business that has a lot of words for a lot of different things. When you call in ask for a "webinar" we might be talking about a couple of different things. It's my job to break down your needs and ask the right questions so we get you the kind of service that you need. It's not a perfect system because there is a barrier between knowledge. I've been in this industry for a little over five years and honestly, there are still terms that come up that I haven't heard before and have to get clarification.

When hitting communication barriers created by technology phrases, it's not always easy to figure out a way to break down how to explain it to customers, but here are some things that we do here that are really helpful.

Break Things Down into Physical Terms

If I can't adequately communicate what I mean by a conference "line" I will break it down in terms of rooms. If you can provide something physical a customer can picture in his or her mind, you might click a bulb in their heads. It's much easier to imagine a room that is assigned to each person than to try to explain what I mean by "conference line". Something tangible that a person can wrap their mind around can break the technical confusion.

Gauge Your Customers Understanding

In about the first thirty seconds of a conversation with a customer, I can get a pretty good read on their level of familiarity with conferencing. Many times a customer will freely admit they have limited or no experience with any kind of conference technology, but sometimes, it's a matter of just understanding how they are wording and saying things that give you the best clues to how you need to break things down for them.

Repeat It Back in a Different Way

Don't be afraid to clarify with a customer. Part of what our responsibility is to the customer is making sure that we understand what they need so that we can direct them in the best possible way. Make notes as you talk to them and then repeat it back to them in a slightly different way. "Let me make sure I understand, you need a conference call where you can collect the participant's names and companies? Oh, then you need an operator answered call. Okay, we can take care of that for you."

Show, Don't Tell

When going over what a particular product or service can do, always offer to show it to them. Set up a demo with them and then give them access to go in and play around. I always encourage our new customers to go online and click around. Make yourself available to them if they have additional questions or needs so that you can talk them through.

When a customer doesn't understand the technical terms, it's our job to help them through it. Even if we might be speaking a different "language" with our customers, we can still get to the bottom of what they need and help them along the way. How do you help your customers get through the information.