Customer Experience News & Trends

How Anderson Cooper and Tina Fey can help you with customer service

If Anderson Cooper and Tina Fey weren’t on television, many people wish they were taking their customer service calls.

Simon Cowell and Charlie Sheen, on the other hand, should keep their day jobs.

Why is this relevant to customer experience professionals? Because it’s an interesting perspective on the kinds of personalities customers like to deal with when they contact an organization, according to a recent Corvisa Cloud survey.

When they were asked, “What celebrity personality does your ideal customer service representative match?” they said:

  • Anderson Cooper (straight forward and smart) — 30%
  • Jennifer Garner (sweet and empathetic) — 24%
  • Michelle Obama (genuine and approachable) — 18%
  • Tina Fey (funny and quirky) — 16%
  • Simon Cowell (real and blunt) — 7%
  • Charlie Sheen (outrageous and unpredictable) — 6%

First, make it professional

Tina Fey

All kidding and celebrity aside, the survey results show that customers highly value professionalism and expertise: They want the right answers from courteous people the first time they contact Customer Service.

For example, that level of service is achieved at Southwest Airlines because front-line employees have a lot of authority when it comes to accommodating customers. Front-liners are trained to know and understand how their company works from the ground-up. That way, they can quickly identify what can and should be done to make customers happy.

Another example: At MetLife Institutional Business, Grace Cowen, senior VP of customer service, and her team added a layer of expertise on the front-line to give more customers faster, on-the-mark answers. Reps trained and studied in a specific area — such as a certain product, policy or industry — to become resident experts. Then they were strategically seated throughout the department to help colleagues when a more complex issue came up. That helped them take the percentage of customers who were “highly satisfied” from 66% to 92% in a short time.

Then, make it fun

But don’t forget, customers don’t mind some fun in their customer service, as long as the business is handled well first. That’s why Tina Fey’s a popular personality.

The Almaden Valley Nursery in San Jose, CA, gets this side of customer service. Some of the nursery’s services practices that were spelled out in Eric Wilder’s book, The Art of Celebrity Service:

  • Employees seldom say the typical, “How can I help you?” They take it up a notch with, “How can we make your day today?” or “Are you having fun yet? Well, let’s help you have a good time.”
  • Employees make the experience more exciting by spicing up conversations with adjectives such as “awesome,” “exceptional,” “perfect,” “terrific” and “epic” when talking about products and experiences.
  • Employees affirm customer decisions by saying, “That looks great together,” “Personally, I love these,” or “Kudos for choosing that.”
  • Customers might hear one employee page another like this: “Phone call for Mike on line one. Clint Eastwood for Mike on line one. Mike, Clint Eastwood is holding for you.” Of course, the actor/director isn’t, but it makes customers smile.

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