Photo taken from http://rotorama.com/

1. KISS! (Keep it simple stupid)

Customer service is all about serving our customers. It’s our responsibility to constantly review and keep our IVRs or customer service related procedures simple. Personally, I dread Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRs). As a customer, it’s extremely frustrating when I have to get through layers after layers of CSRs in order to get help.

Complicated procedures that constantly put your customers on hold (or send them on a wild-goose chase) will decrease your company’s customer service standards. Simple procedures make maintaining relationships with our customers easy. It shows them that we have considered their needs, and that we have removed all the unnecessary procedures so that we can better serve them. If their calls are truly important to you, prove to them that it’s easy to connect with you, instead of leaving them an automated message.

“Your call is important to us, please continue to hold…”

2. Robots are so passé

Not only is it important to thank to your customers, it’s also important to make sure your customer service representatives are interacting with them in a ‘human’ manner. Albert Mehrabian published 2 papers in 1967 that examined the power of communication in a 7%-38%-55% rule. Communication is made up of 3 parts:

1. The actual words you use (7%),

2. The tone of delivery (38%),

3. The body language accompanying your words (55%)

Thus a lukewarm, robotic “Thank You,” has only a 7% impact of connecting with you customers. Your ability to connect with your customers depends on your ability to communicate genuine tone and body language.

A well trained customer service representative is one who watches his or her tone and body language. They are the ones who interact with your customers everyday. This means that they are the ones who are able to influence the way your customers perceive your company directly.

3. Yup, let’s keep them waiting…

The fastest way to lose a customer is to keep them waiting. The UK retail industry lost up to 70-billion worth of business in 2010 to slow customer service. Similarly, a study in 2011 showed that a 2 second slow-down costs Bing 4.3% of its revenue. Uservoice also proved that quick responses lead to happier customers. Customers want to be respond to quickly, and to have their problems solved quickly.

Don’t give them an impression that your customer service is sluggish. Find ways to speed up your customer service and stay connected with them. Even if you have to let them wait, don’t let them wait ‘alone’. Staff a 24 hour per day hotline. Set up an online email system so that your customers can quickly get help. Add a chat feature to your website (Try Zopim! =D). If a problem requires weeks to fix, it’s crucial to keep your customer updated. The key here is to remain connected to your customers. Let them know that you are interested in their needs and that you are there for them, one way or another.  

4. More, amour

Good customer service is like extra emotional glue that maintains the bond between your customer, your product, and your company. According to Geoffrey James, writer at Inc.com, customers make purchases because of a change in their emotional state. While information does play a part in their decision-making, ultimately emotions trigger the decision. All decisions are based on 6 main emotions (Greed, Fear, Altruism, Envy, Pride, Shame), and a decision is made when enough of these emotions are stirred up in the buyer.

Furthermore, Daniel Goleman, author of Working With Emotional Intelligence says that, ‘How customers feel when they interact with an employee determines how they feel about the company.’. If emotions triggered their decision to buy your product, then emotions will make them return to you. The best impression you can leave in your customer is thus not a good sales pitch a product, but an imprint in their emotions. Good customer service preserves that emotional bond. It closes your sale on a positive note, and gives them a fond and personable memory to remember you by.

Going ALL out

I once dropped my phone into a sink full of water. Since the infamous rice trick didn’t work, I called the manufacturer (yes, I knew that water damage was not covered) to try if I could get the device replaced for a nominal fee.

I sent an email explaining what had happened. Much to my surprise, the CEO replied the next day and told me that he understood how I felt because he experienced it himself before! He offered to replace the device for free once I sent in the damaged device. The CEO kept his word; few days later, my replacement phone arrived.

Ritz Carlton recently went all out for one of their customer as well. They actually took photos of a soft toy giraffe all around their hotel to help fulfill a customer’s request.

This is what true customer service is about: going all out for your customers. Much like the widely recounted story of The Star Thrower, it’s not always feasible to do what this CEO or Ritz Carlton did for all your customers, start one customer at a time. At the very least it will make an impact on the life of that customer you went all out for.

What else have you done for your customers today? Share it with us in the comments!

 

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samuel lee

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