Who remembers the last time they were wowed by customer support, I mean a really over the top experience? Sadly, it’s not too common anymore, but when it happens, we remember it.
I was at an optical boutique a few months ago, looking for someone I could trust. The last pair of glasses I bought I paid too much for, and later realized they were slightly too dramatic for my face. My family members called me Woody Allen for the next 5 years of my life, and I was desperate to avoid this experience a second time around.
I voiced my fear of looking like Woody Allen to the sales associate. She laughed and promised me a new look. She spent the next hour carefully selecting frames for my face shape and listing the price points of each one to help me understand my options. I left with two pairs of frames that did not make me look like a hollywood film director, which in my mind was a great success.
The first rule of “Wowing” your customer is to be human and show empathy.
Most customers don’t expect perfection, but they do need authenticity. Admitting when there’s been a delay in response or an oversight is absolutely necessary. This can be hard to do when not every customer interaction is face to face, but going the extra mile shows them they are important.
The second step is to follow up with action. Drop everything to fix what needs fixing, and show a little personality along the way. Do something to lighten the mood, make a bad pun joke if you must. If the customer has flames coming out the top of their head, which occasionally happens, just air on the safe side and be polite. A show of empathy will help to diffuse the anger so you can mutually work toward a solution.
Brands are moving away from any language that feels automated or jargony, so don’t ever use acronyms or business lingo that the customer is not privy to. There’s nothing worse than trying to get an answer out of someone who isn’t speaking the same language as you. Use common terms to explain what’s going on without giving off an air of superiority.
Follow the breadcrumbs.
Part of showing empathy is also trying to understand where the customer is coming from. Consider the path the customer took to get to you. While most of us field hundreds of support requests each day via email or phone, the art of retracing the customer’s steps is easily lost, but tremendously effective when you take time to do it. Pay attention to language that signals a flaw in the user experience, like, “I had the hardest time finding this link” or “The login button wasn’t where I expected it” or “For crying in the night, I finally reached you!” If you’ve created friction in the customer’s path to reach you, you’ve created a new problem in addition to the one you’re trying to solve. That’s bad news.
The secret sauce.
Service is a culture in your company as much as it is a business offering. A person is not capable of giving what they do not have. The secret to providing an outstanding customer service experience is minimizing burnout in support roles.
Customer support roles in particular easily become overwhelming. The need for help never sleeps, but humans still do! Helping your staff know when to call it a day, and prioritizing items that need immediate action at the beginning of your day helps sustain a healthy balance. Operating from a position of strength means your customer support staff will feel recognized, rested, and equipped for the task at hand. To create a culture of “help” you must be helpful first!