Most of us have watched episodes of the top-rated television program, ER. Dr. Carter known as kind and caring. Dr. Benton is brusque but brilliant. The empathetic Carter listens; the impatient Benton dismisses. Carter purrs; Benton grunts. In business, as viewed by clients or prospects, which one describes you?
My contention is this. Bedside manners equally apply to all of us in business. Either we develop a business bedside manner that exudes confidence and a calm, or in the case of Dr. Benton, just the opposite effect. Like physicians talking with patients, we must explain, direct and lead but be prepared to hold hands through frustrating and even painful situations. If we do not, we conspicuously set in motion all the elements that drive our customers and prospects away i.e., they are not heard, wishes are ignored, a lack of understanding concerns, being discourteous, disrespectful or dismissive.
The small amount of time required to ensure that basic business etiquette is observed will be far cheaper than the costly time and expense required to replace customers who have defected…remember always, capital goes where it is wanted and appreciated, and in business, our Capital is our Customers.
So, here are the basics in “business” bedside manners:
- Consultative – Be a good listener, non-judgmental, avoid personal remarks and provide information that the customer or prospect understands.
- Needs Diagnosis – Explain why and what the diagnosis entails.
- Treatment Plans – Explain the plan, tentative timetable and full cost to support the prognosis, listen to concerns and be prepared to negotiate time frames and alternatives.
- Communicate – Make a follow-up phone call and with that call project a smile, sense of caring and friendship. Our cyber-obsessed world does everything to defeat human interaction.
It goes without saying, business owners who form a warm and friendly relationship with their customers are found to be more effective and successful then those business owners who tend to be more impersonal, formal or uncertain. Good business bedside manners are the cornerstone of customer relationships…and starts at the top of the organization.