The Greet Model: Understand

November 17, 2017

Our favorite workflow acronym at The Brandt Group is GUEST. While the model has existed as a sales flowchart for quite a while now, we’ve tweaked it to amplify customer service over pure sales, which we believe will not only help win long-term loyalty from your customers, but also ensure lasting profitability.

As you’ve no doubt guessed, each letter stands for a step in the employee-customer interaction, and it makes for an easy mental checklist for your staff to follow. Over the next few weeks we’ll cover each of these steps and how we like to measure them in our mystery shops.

Continuing from last week’s overview of Greet, the next letter in the acronym is U, which stands for Understand. This step is not only focused on learning about the customer’s needs, but also has an important psychological component for the customer’s sense of agency.

At its core, Understand is about listening. Everyone wants to be heard, which means employees have to let customers explain themselves first before anything else. That means allowing the customer to finish his or her thoughts and not trying to interrupt with pre-emptive solutions, all while making good eye contact. This is especially true if the customer is lodging a complaint or is venting about a poor experience. Allow him a moment to air his grievances. For many, this will be more cathartic than actually receiving some kind of compensation.

Of course, to understand what the customer needs, employees will also have to ask the right questions. They must listen carefully to what the customer puts in front of them, and then follow up with questions that will not only demonstrate engagement with what he or she is saying, but also help narrow down what solutions or products to offer. Critically, these should be open-ended questions that invite the customer to talk as much as possible. Taking a little extra time to uncover all the customer’s needs will mitigate the chances of future dissatisfaction.

For example, a customer might come into a hot tub store believing he already knows which model he wants. (Maybe it was featured prominently in a print ad.) The employee should listen to the customer first, and then ask him how he’ll use it. A series of questions might uncover that the customer actually likes to host friends every Saturday for a barbeque, and the hot tub he’s wants only seats four. That could be a problem! Bringing something he hadn’t considered to his attention demonstrates engagement and care for the customer’s needs. That extra bit of conversation may lead to a bigger sale—and one the customer will be happier with long-term.

This is easily measured in a mystery shop. Not only do we ask point-blank whether the employees ask open-ended questions, we also ask our shoppers to recount what was specifically said to judge the effectiveness. Learning how employees interact with customers—especially when management isn’t around to observe—is integral to development.

Next week, we’ll discuss the third step in the GUEST process, Explain, where we’ll analyze how your employee uses what he or she learns in the Understand phase to frame your products and services.

The Brandt Group offers customer service and sales seminars, in addition to our one-on-one training and mystery shopping. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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