FriendlinessBusiness owners, managers and representatives all know the importance of a broad, natural smile and welcoming words, even when we can’t see the person we’re communicating with. What many people don’t realize is how vital friendliness is to credibility in the customer service world.

To put it another way, which of these scenarios would you prefer: a technically effective but cold customer service experience or one where your rep was friendly, even if your issue wasn’t completely resolved. Surprisingly, many customers would rather have an amiable customer service representative than one who is more successful at their tasks.

Of course, having engaging and successful reps is still the best way to go.

One of the keys to attaining this credibility with customers is setting a friendly tone. A friendly tone can’t sound forced, either. Customers can smell phony sentiment a mile away. A genuinely positive attitude, however, will make for a great first impression.

Building credibility begins with this initial connection. By establishing a good rapport from the beginning, we show customers that we’re willing to put time and effort into them. It shows them we’re willing to hire quality staff. It shows them that we put forth a great deal of time and effort into training our representatives to be courteous and respectful. And even if they don’t speak business, they know how important it is to be ready for any new interaction with a smile and a firm handshake.

No matter the situation, customers want to be treated like human beings. Treating them with respect isn’t enough, though, not if we want their loyalty. We have to show them that we nurture our employees, and that our employees in turn channel respect to their customers as a way of returning the favor.

When we build our credibility with compassion, we build a foundation for our customer’s continue satisfaction. And we all know what that satisfaction means for us.