How Trick & Treating Teaches Good Customer Service Skills

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 on the days of sprinting around to see if I could get the biggest and baddest bag.

So I have the Halloween fever and decided to channel it towards a metaphor to help you determine if your business possesses good customer service skills. I remember what it was like to hope for a nice person to answer the door, who shared the same Halloween spirit and hand out delicious candy better than plain Baby Ruth bars.

Customers have the same hope trick and treaters do when they seek out customer support.

But there are different personas that answer the door and I find them to quite an accurate metaphor (it could just be the candy corn talking) but do read and find out which one you are. Have you thought about how your employees interact with your business’s customers? I know you told them “best practices” but has the brand attitude stayed on course or wavered?

How Trick & Treating Teaches Good Customer Service Skills image KidTrickTreat 1024x682How Trick & Treating Teaches Good Customer Service Skills

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 doesn’t worry about time on call, stepping into character like this Netflix rep who blew up Reddit 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 cheek and reminds them to come back for seconds. We know she means well, but it’s a bit pushy.

If you’re trying too hard to win over a customer’s support, close a sale for your benefit without considering what they really want or need, it isn’t so pleasant for the customer anymore. You can grow sales and generate leads with smart contextual marketing and targeted experiences. (What about offering a variety flavored 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 that doesn’t want to be there will be painfully obvious. He isn’t sync with the mission statement which should be the brand promise driving the customer experience vision. It’s time to figure out why he isn’t getting excited (could it be contagious?) or ask him to take it elsewhere. When we discuss workplace psychology, these negative people have a name: the cursed who ruin others’ moments because they can’t 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 throws out the candy while keeping one eye on the TV (if it was Games of Thrones, that’s an exception!). But that’s if they even get to the door in a timely manner. Hopefully they were thoughtful about keeping candy in stock. Worse, it 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 waiting. Answering machines are painful but not as bad as ignoring tweets or social mentions. The social customer’s expectations are high.

Bottomline?

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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