We have all had disrespectful experiences while driving. A common one is when a vehicle enters a highway and pulls into traffic without looking and without calculating the proper merger speed. They just pull in front of you as if you did not even exist. It forces you to brake or at least to slow down to let them in. It feels disrespectful.
We can have a similar experience in a conversation when someone just assumes control and starts asking questions or making statements without consideration. It can feel disrespectful and it can have a negative impact on the quality of the interaction.
The Golden Rule is found in culture after culture. It is expressed in many ways, yet the thrust of the meaning is remarkably the same. In Christianity it reads, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In Judaism, “That which is hurtful to you, do not do to your fellow man.” In Islam, “Let none of you treat his brother in a way he himself would not like to be treated. In 11 major religions we can find a similar statement of moral belief.
If the Golden Rule is this prevalent, it begs for us to use it in every interaction. at Communico, our MAGIC of Customer Relations has respectful behaviors interspersed throughout the standard. Why, because respectful behavior is required for quality communication and required to create exceptional customer experience management.
In a customer interaction, the person providing the service must have control to optimize results for the customer. How one gains control is key. It must be respectful. It’s okay to be assertive with a customer to optimize the experience. It is not okay to be aggressive. Assertive communication is respectful. Aggression is not. Assertive communication gains cooperation. Aggression solicits negative reactions. When our driver friend forces himself into your lane without looking, we can want to lash out. If he looks, requests and merges respectfully, we are more likely to graciously cooperate.
A great technique to respectfully merge into a communication is to ask permission to ask questions. Asking permission to ask questions accomplishes three important goals. First, when we ask permission, the customer thinks he or she is in control and graciously gives it to you. Secondly, the customer is telling us they are ready to cooperate. Third, we are saving time by helping the customer to get to solution more quickly.
Start using this technique. It is respectful. It allows you to easily merge into the conversation. It saves time. It solicits cooperation.
Dr. Wally Hauck is a senior vice president and co-owner of Communico. He is the author of Art of Leading: 3 Principles for Predictable Performance Improvement, Stop the Leadership Malpractice: How to Replace the Typical Performance Appraisal, Unleash Employee Engagement: 7 Initial Conditions for Outstanding Results