Learn Good Customer Service Skills from Trick & Treating

by Anne Reuss

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The following is a Best of 360Connext post.

I officially stopped trick and treating (for myself) when I was 17. I almost made it to 18, but my friend and I got back in the car after we walked around the neighborhood for two minutes feeling silly so we went to Chili’s instead. True story. But I still reminisce about the days of sprinting around to see if I could get the biggest and baddest bag. I have the Halloween fever!

I remember what it was like to hope for a nice person to answer the door- someone who shared the same Halloween spirit and handed out delicious candy better than plain Baby Ruth bars.

Customers are like trick and treaters when they seek out customer support.

But there are different personas that answer the door, and I find them to be much like customer service representatives (it could just be the candy corn talking). But do read on and find out which ones work for your company. Have you thought about how your employees interact with customers? Do they have what it takes?

I know you have trained them on “best practices” but has the brand attitude stayed on course or wavered?

good customer service skills learned from trick & treating

1) The Friendly Neighbor Everyone Wants to Visit

Everybody hopes The Friendly One will be back every year. Characteristics include: answers door quickly (if not before the doorbell!), positive and cheerful, shares the Halloween spirit, and never disappoints with the quality of candy. She is attentive, making sure the trick & treaters get the same amount of candy and compliments, possibly with an extra treat.

An amazing customer service experience creates an imprint on a customer’s memory. The representative steps into character like this Netflix rep who blew up Reddit, doesn’t worry about time on call,  and is focused on delivering the best information with sincerity and delightful moments. None of that plain Snickers or Baby Ruth stuff. Sure, they’re good, but there’s a lot of them. And do they really stand out when you pour out your candy bag?

2) The Overwhelming Granny

She can’t get enough of the trick and treaters. She might go as far to follow them back to the sidewalk or ask for pictures. While screeching “just adorable!” she pinches them on the cheeks and reminds them to come back for seconds. We know she means well, but it’s a bit pushy and just too much.

If you’re trying too hard to win over a customer’s support, or close a sale for your own benefit without considering what they really want or need, it isn’t so pleasant for the customers. You can grow sales and strengthen leads much more effectively with smart contextual marketing and targeted experiences. What about offering a variety of flavors or themed candies for different types of trick and treaters!?

3) The Cursed Teenager

He’s bored. Probably grounded or stuck at home, thinking the world is against him because his parents went out to an adult Halloween party and he got appointed with the role of giving out candy. He doesn’t really want to be there, and he’ll make sure you know it.

The customer representative who doesn’t want to be there will make it painfully obvious. He isn’t in sync with the mission statement which should be driving the customer experience. It’s time to figure out why he isn’t getting excited (could it be contagious?) or ask him to take it elsewhere. These cursed ones ruin others’ moments because they refuse to change their attitude.

4) The Lazy Zombie

This being is lazy and easily distracted.  He might be cranky or engrossed in the latest Walking Dead episode and throwing out the candy while keeping one eye on the TV (if it was Games of Thrones, that’s an exception!). But that’s if he even gets to the door in a timely manner. Hopefully he was thoughtful about keeping candy in stock! Worse, he could be one of those people who leave out a bowl of candy up for grabs (who takes “only one”?!).

Customers grow agitated every minute they spend waiting. Answering machines are painful but not as bad as ignored tweets or social mentions.Bottom line?

A bad interaction could haunt your brand. You might want to consider mystery trick & treating (going undercover) to discover how your employees actually interact with your customers. Here’s to trick and treating for good customer service skills!

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