What’s the drill – Feb 29: To succeed at customer service, learn this skill…

Here is perhaps the most important secret to providing quality customer service…and it doesn’t involve formulas, spreadsheets, or surveys. Better yet, this secret skill is trainable and applies to all sorts of industries and sales scenarios from high-end products to restaurants:

Learn how to read the room.

Take this article from the Wall Street Journal which profiles the training initiatives of several U.S. chain restaurants. For them, the secret to quality service is the ability to read the table. Staff is heavily trained on listening and observation skills including non-verbal communication/ body language cues.

A decision to invest in heightening listening and observation skills can have a positive effect on your bottom line, especially when the result is more personalized and individualized customer service:

“Called “having eyes” for a table, or “feeling” or “reading” the table by restaurant workers, it’s how the best waiters know what type of service you prefer before you tell them. From fine dining to inexpensive chains, restaurants are working to make service more individualized as the standard script is sounding dated…” 

“Even chain restaurants like Denny’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill are focusing more on personalized service by training staff to note body language, eye contact and offhand remarks, hoping to make service feel less mechanical”.

“We changed ‘suggestive selling’ to ‘situational selling’,… Instead of offering every breakfast guest one additional item, say biscuits and gravy, waiters are taught to adjust their offer depending upon the guest.”

An improviser is always working on heightening their observation skills. Not only are they skilled at flexible and agile communication, but they must make sense of a large amount of information within seconds and know how to engage and continue the scene. Consider adding some Applied Improv training to your next customer-service and sales training initiatives and apply it the next day to your next customer service interaction.

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