Customer Experience News & Trends

Improve the customer experience: 5 service tactics

The customer experience starts from the moment they Google you and continues until the day they stop buying. And it can be argued that customer service has the biggest impact on the entire experience, and here’s how to make that integral piece even better.

Customer service is a constant touch point throughout the experience. It’s your most frequent and personal opportunity to impress customers.

Try these point-of-contact improvements:

1. Build trust in the early stages

Customer service and sales pros get the awesome responsibility of building trust with new customers early in the relationships. To do that:

  • Avoid exaggerations. Follow the golden rule of service: Under promise, over deliver. Check that company literature and websites don’t promise things your customer service professionals can’t deliver.
  • Don’t fake familiarity. Ask customers questions and show interest in them during all points of contact. Also ask how they’d like to be addressed – by first name, Mr., etc.
  • Give straight answers. Tell customers exact dates, phone numbers, direct email addresses, etc. Let them know when they can expect answers and who’ll deliver them. Avoid: “ASAP,” “soon,” “someone.”

2. Improve the conversation

Front-line service pros talk to customers a lot, giving them opportunities to wow customers every day. These are small, significant gestures to do that:

  • Listen for what customers want, not just what they say. Customers ask for information, but they usually want solutions. So rather than just answer the questions they ask, offer to do what they seem to want. For instance, if a customer asks how to redeem a coupon, offer to process it immediately.
  • Give hospitality, not just service. Hospitality is how you make customers feel. Say or do something that will make each customer feel special. Examples: Compliment their choices, thank them for choosing you or remind them that you welcome their visits or calls.
  • Go above and beyond, and be humble. Front-line service pros know going the extra mile makes customers happy. Customers will be even more impressed if service pros act as if that’s what they should expect. For instance, when customers thank and compliment you on an extra effort that made their lives easier, say, “That’s why I’m here. Please let me know if there’s ever anything else I can do.”

3. Handle vulnerabilities with tact

Some customers are upset and enter the experience in a negative state of mind. That can be one of their most vulnerable points — a time when the right words can make the experience much better.

When dealing with customers who are on the verge of anger, a warm, upbeat response can put them at ease. Any one of these will work in a frustrating situation:

  • “You’ve come to the right place.”
  • “I love tackling issues like this.”
  • “I can handle that right now.”

4. Make the complicated easier

Complex and emotional issues can also leave customers feeling unsettled. When customer service professionals take control and guide customers through it all, they create a positive experience out of a potentially disastrous one. These steps will help make those bumps along the way easier to handle:

  • Time it right. It’s tempting to put off complicated or emotional conversations for as long as possible. While some conversations should wait — perhaps there’s time for things to change — waiting too long to talk about it will likely result in a worse outcome. When it’s a complicated issue, it’s especially important to contact customers as soon as possible so they have more time to think and react.
  • Place it right. All difficult conversations should be just that — conversations. Avoid discussing complicated subjects via email, chat or text. Those platforms are impersonal and don’t allow customers to express their true feelings. Conversations should be either face-to-face or over the phone.
  • Be prepared. Before you initiate a complicated conversation, imagine how you want the conversation to go and how you think the customer will react to what you have to say. When you unexpectedly get in an emotional conversation, stay calm and listen at first, taking notes on facts and emotional responses to them.
  • Stay calm and actively listen. An even voice and steady pace will help keep a complicated conversation from growing volatile. Careful listening to customers’ reactions tells customers you respect them and their feelings. Respond using their own words, and create solutions together.

5. Follow up more often

Make a follow-up call or two every day. It’ll have a huge impact on almost any experience. More than 80% of customers say they would have a better opinion of an organization if someone called to thank them for their business or ask if they’re happy with the help they got, according to a Genesys poll.

You don’t have to call every customer you talk to. But schedule a short time each day to call those who seem to need it the most.

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