TIP 17: Treat Everyone Exactly the Same.

You don’t have time to learn everyone’s personality style.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned Wearing Shirt with Customer Service Cross Out

“I treat everybody the same. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? I don’t see why I have to cater to people who don’t speak English, or who don’t understand how our system works, or who are hard of hearing. They don’t deserve any special treatment as far as I’m concerned. If they want me to help them, they have to meet me halfway. After all, they’re not the only ones on this planet.”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“The key to successful communication is to communicate with people using their style, not yours. What does that mean? It means we need to adapt our style to fit our customers. The ‘one size fits all’ approach may be good for clothing, but not for people.

For example, some of your customers may want to chat about personal things. They often speak more slowly and want to build a relationship. Mirror them. Slow your speech, listen to their story, and then help solve their problem.

Other customers will speak fast, direct, and to the point. They do not need long, slow conversations about their weekends. With these customers, you need to be efficient and effective while remaining courteous and friendly.

Some customers like to be addressed more formally (‘Mrs. Smith’) while others don’t (‘Mary’). How do you know what your customers prefer? You can either ask or find out by trial and error. It’s always better to start by being too formal. It your customer doesn’t like the way you address them, they will usually say, ‘Oh, just call me Mary.’

Have you ever noticed that with some people, you are in sync instantly — while with others, you don’t seem to click? It’s probably because you have more in common with the first group: You are speaking in the same style. By learning to subtly adapt your style to fit that of your customers, you can build rapport in a matter of seconds. And this works everywhere!”

A Real World Example

JACOB EASON has a great story to illustrate this point:

Jacob is the salon manager for Salon Ratay in Lake Mary, Florida. He has a great attitude when it comes to customer service because he knows that exceptional customer service sets him apart in today’s business world. People want great service. One of the rules that Jacob established for his stylists is:

Cater to your customers to make every guest feel special. The stylists are encouraged to know their customers – how they like their coffee, would they prefer white wine, or is a bottle of water their preferred drink.

Jacob is a manager who walks the talk. He knows that when Mrs. Jones comes into his salon, she wants to be called ‘Mrs. Jones.’ She also wants him to take her Prada bag, hand her a glass of red wine and a copy of the latest Vogue – all before she sits down. However, when Mrs. Smith comes in, he knows to greet her by first name.  She wants him to give her a big hug and may want a Diet Coke. She rarely wants or needs anything else, but a little friendly chit-chat. By tailoring each client interaction, he builds loyal, happy customers who return time and time again and who tell everyone they know about his salon.

The more personal the experience, the better the guest feels and the more they become a walking billboard. Jacob and his team know that no matter how busy you are, the customer always comes first.

Moral to the story: Monkey see. Monkey do.

Strategies to Turn This Around

Communicate with people using their  style.

  1. Get to know your customers.
  2. Mirror their style —fast or slow talker, animated or not, etc.
  3. Recognize each customer as an individual.


Remember: If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else!

“It starts with respect. If you respect the customer as a human being, and truly honor their right to be treated fairly and honestly, everything else is much easier.”

— Unknown

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

1 Response to “TIP 17: Treat Everyone Exactly the Same.”

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