Customer Experience News & Trends

Words that make the customer experience better

The less customers have to do, the more satisfied they’ll be – and some words and actions can make every experience feel effortless. 

The very best phrases fall under what researchers call “advocacy.” They suggest service pros aren’t just doing something customers requested. They’re advocating for the customer they interact with.

Advocacy improves the customer experience, according to Matt Dixon, co-author of The Effortless Experience and chief product and research officer at Tethr.

A thin advocacy line

But it’s not straightforward advocacy, Dixon warns.

“In a sales interaction, it’s much better to demonstrate ‘declarative advocacy’ (e.g., ‘I have the perfect package for you’) but such a confident, declarative approach doesn’t work well in service calls because it sends the customer the message that there’s only one possible course of action…and if it doesn’t work, you might be out of luck,” Dixon says. “The better approach is for reps to demonstrate ‘flexible advocacy’ (e.g., ‘I have a few ideas for how to fix this…let’s try this one first’). The message to the customer is that there’s more than one way to solve the problem.”

“Flexible advocacy” comes through in phrases like these:

  • I won’t let you down
  • I’ve got another option for you
  • I can assure you
  • Let’s go ahead and do that for you
  • Let me see what I can do, and
  • I’m going to take care of this for you

On the other side, some phrases are the exact opposite of advocacy. They make customers feel like you’re working against – not with or for – them. Here’s what researchers found were the worst to use, and should be avoided:

  • There’s nothing I can do
  • That’s not an option
  • There’s no way for me to do that
  • I have limitations
  • Those are just the rules we have, and
  • I don’t have that ability/power

Create an advocacy environment

To create an environment where front-line service pros feel they can advocate for customers, researchers suggested these strategies:

  • Make self-service easy. The more guided, natural-flowing your self-service options are, the more likely only the complicated or emotional issues will come to front-line service pros. When they’re dealing with fewer low-level, tedious tasks, they’ll have more time, interest and drive to advocate for customers.
  • Take care of the next issues. Service pros become super advocates when they don’t just focus on answering the question or solving the issue at hand. They also want to focus on what’s next – the next possible question, action, concern – that might prompt a customer to contact them again.
  • Give front-line service pros control. The more training service pros receive, the more equipped they are to handle any customer issue and use judgment in situations when they aren’t completely equipped. Continual training must be a priority.

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