L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean took the top spot on Prosper Analytics’ 2015 Customer Service Champions list, an annual ranking of customer service released Tuesday. Amazon and Nordstrom came in second and third place, respectively.

What is it that makes the difference among thousands of retailing companies for Amazon, Nordstrom, and L.L.Bean to continually rise to the top of the lists for providing stellar customer service? I believe it is the power of Presence.

Whether you are face to face with a sales rep in a Nordstrom store, on a phone call with L.L.Bean, or on the internet with Amazon, each representative gives the sense of being fully present with you throughout your entire transaction. It makes a noticeable difference when someone is “present” and when someone is not.

One of the tenets of the FISH philosophy, the successful philosophy of the Pike Place Fish Market, is to Be There. To really Be There for another person – whether that person is a co-worker or a customer, it has a powerful effect. Think about how good it feels when someone gives you her undivided attention. It makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world.

Here are the behaviors of someone who has Presence:

1. Actively listening and engaged
2. Focused on the customer, not the task
3. Not giving the sense of rushing through the interaction
4. Paying undivided attention
5. Not halfheartedly going through the motions

These behaviors can be applied by any person who serves another. They don’t take any more energy; in fact, more energy is exerted when they are not applied, as you try to multi-task or juggle other things while serving. To show Presence consistently, look through the lens of your customer and recognize that while this may be the 100th time you have encountered that question or task today, it is his first and you want him to feel the same sense of Presence that you delivered to your first customer of the day.  Not only will it make a more powerful connection with that customer, it will also make your day more meaningful and enjoyable.

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