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>In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal the title was “Your Blackberry or Your Wife”, I believe these high tech gadgets as well as other technical devices are taking away a part of our lives. As a customer service speaker and trainer, I constantly hear from employees and employers how they feel ignored, left out, unimportant compared to the gadget in the palm of the hand. It seems the messages on these devices are more significant than an actual person standing in front of you with a question or request. Co-workers don’t call each other by phone or go talk to one another in person anymore, they email or text. Training classes are preferred to be done on-line through webinars. Company meetings are encouraged to be conducted virtually… no wonder our kids don’t have the social skills those of us in older generations expect as general courtesies in today’s business world.

Giving eye contact, using inflections in one’s voice tone, expanding on a conversation vs. one word answers, smiling and saying “hello”, reading emotions and establishing a connection…. all customer service skills to engage with a customer and build a relationship. Tough to do, when the gadget in hand seems to dictate and have more power than the personal touch.

Establish a culture of balance in your organization, family, and life. While blackberries, i-phones, laptops, i-pads are all wonderful advances, let’s not forget the nurturing of how we treat people and the simple day to day courtesies. The personal touch will be remembered longer than the mechanical touch. And, I’ve never heard of a blackberry attending one’s funeral.

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