youtube.com / Via uk.linkedin.com How many of us go into a business and feel welcomed and acknowledged? Yeah, it's a nice feeling right. Now how many of us go into a business and feel lost and unacknowledged? Not so nice. That's your "customer experience" beginning right there.I've been a customer before, as I'm sure we all have been and we all still are. And there's one thing I can say we all as customers want, need- or in a more 'dramatic' but true sense, deserve. We all know what we deserve as customers and simply put it's a good service to ensure we get the best experience. I read the Harvard Business review's take on customer experience and it highlighted the fact that a customer experience is about an end to end journey between the customer and service provider and that is absolutely right. As a service provider you are the point where I am introduced to the business, my guide through the business and that face that sees me off when I finally depart and go about my life.To successfully execute what is called 'excellent customer service' you must have one major ingredient embedded in your palm, heart, body, soul, spirit, mind and entire being and that is empathy.Empathy is being able to understand an individual from their point of view. In my experience on both handles of this customer client relationship I have found that the key to empathy is being open minded. If you're open minded, you forget about all that you 'think' you know or 'know' you know. You take in everything that customer is feeling in that particular moment and only then can you truly understand that person's perspective. Now, I'm not saying lose all your product knowledge, training, expertise and awareness to be the 'yes man' some customers are after, I'm saying become that voice of reason, that voice of understanding.Don't recite over and over how 'that's company policy and unfortunately I can't help you' to a distressed customer, just don't, because at that point you've crossed over into the patronising lane. Those sort of mechanical statements are conclusive, detached and quite frankly aggravating. It lets the customer believe that you have no interest in even attempting to find a solution or alternative. Put yourself in your customers' shoes! We all know we can get those customers who seem out of hand and get quite verbally and in rare cases, physically abusive but that does not negate your role and duty to provide the best possible resolve whilst being sensitive to your environment. Eye contact, positive responsive body language such as nodding if the customers explanation is lengthy to show you're still with them, being within their peripheral view so you're not shouting in response across a room full of people or they're not having to stretch to keep eye contact. Little things like that make all the difference. Expression is important, reliability is key, communication physically and verbally is essential.I'm talking from 8 years of experience in constant customer/client/consumer facing roles. I know what it's about, it doesn't take a scientist or years of experimenting and test running to know these simple things. It takes common sense, an open mind, versatility and adaptability.