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The “Feel Good” Factor: Customer Service Skills That Make a Big Difference
By Debra Fine

People part with their money for two reasons. One, you can solve a problem for them. Two, because you make them feel good in the process.

Look at it this way. It’s hard to quickly evaluate the expertise of a new dentist. But you immediately know which one makes you feel more comfortable. You can take lessons from a highly qualified ski instructor. But if his silence makes you feel awkward while riding the chair lift together, you’ll switch instructors. When Super K-Mart and Target carry the same items at about the same prices and they’re located close together, where do you buy? You choose the store where the returns are simpler, the people are friendlier, and the appearance is cleaner where you are made to feel more welcome.

The “feel good” factor underlies every aspect of life. Even in the area of parent-teacher conferences, if your child’s teacher delivers negative feedback in a way that shows empathy, not harshness, you’re more likely to support the next vote to increase taxes for schools.

In June 2003 story, USA Today reported that basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar struggles to be considered for NBA and college coaching positions. Apparently, he’s perceived as aloof. A problem because coaching is a combination of building rapport with players, the community, alumni, athletic directors, sponsors and business executives. My best guess is that Mr. Abdul Jabbar is shy or ill at ease with people he does not know well. Similarly, in the corporate world, if you want a promotion but come across as aloof or reserved, you’ll be overlooked in favor of someone who has warm “people skills” – someone who makes others feel good about being around them.

Here’s how to build rapport that leads to success in every business relationship.

An example I experienced in my business really makes my point about the “feel good” factor. I wanted to find a good print shop near my home and walked into one near the busiest post office in our state. I was greeted with a sign that read: “Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I thought how many people would zip into this shop for a few photocopies before mailing off an important package? I doubt they would feel welcome here.

I then visited a printing shop across the street. Two colorful signs posted there made my day. One featured a cactus and said, “Stuck? We’ll help you out in a prickly situation.” The other showing a pot of jam said: “In a jam? We’ll help you out of a sticky situation.” You can guess which printer made me feel better about forming a business relationship.

Whether you want to land a new job, enhance your practice, gain listings, increase your billable hours, bring new people into your business, or make sure people remember you with referrals – pay attention to the “feel good” factor. And enjoy the success that follows.

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Debra Fine special on CBS Channel 4 News. Debra Fine is a professional speaker, best selling author, conversation expert, communication guru, and a nationally recognized spokesperson.

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Our group of 500 participants thought you were wonderful. They loved the topic and your wonderfully energetic and amusing delivery. Many people told me we should have given you twice as much time. In the eight years that we have sponsored this conference you have proved to be our most popular luncheon speaker. The response was simply overwhelming"
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