The Social Age has changed the landscape for customer service in many industries. With the addition of technology and social media, sometimes people think the faster they go the better the results. Yes, timely feedback to a customer is extremely important. However, there are times that in order to truly help out the customer you need to slow down and just listen to what they are telling you.
Many times customers just want to know that an employee is genuinely trying to help them, instead of rushing and blowing them off. I know from experience that sometimes with the many demands an employee faces within a day “slowing down” is the last thing on their minds. However, to maintain a customer focused experience that many companies want, slowing down is one of the keys to achieving this.
Following up on one of my previous blogs about sincerity, I will again look at the article by Help Scout, “How To Talk To Your Customers.” They give great tips on customer service and communication and one of their last tips is about delighting the customer. This goes hand in hand with slowing down and listening, which will lead to a positive customer experience.
Here are some of their tips for achieving this result:
- Ask questions to get to the bottom of what they’re really trying to accomplish
- Boost happiness with GIFs, exclamation points, and emoji
- Fix problems that aren’t your fault
- Build relationships by picking up on personal details
- Give thanks in the real world
I think one of the greatest tools companies can use today is the addition of fun elements in their responses. Especially with the dominance of social media platforms, this is easily achievable. Many people now are already familiar with GIFs and emoji’s, and adding those in your response can lighten the mood. Obviously you need to understand your customer’s complaint and respond accordingly, but for some of the lighter issues or questions using fun elements in your response can brighten a customer’s day.
Many companies are able to be reached with help accounts over Twitter. Some companies have even opened accounts for their brand characters themselves, who will respond and interact with customers, many times using GIFs and emoji’s. Wendy’s has gained some popularity on Twitter, known for some witty remarks and interactions with customers, and with 1.72 million followers they are doing something right.
Do you appreciate if an employee slows down what they are doing to listen to you when you have a question? What if you received a GIF or emoji with a response to your question? Let me know by leaving a comment!
My previous blog touched on the topic of How to Treat Your Customer. This is such an important topic that I decided to expand and discuss the issue many companies face which is; difficult customer questions, situations, and complaints. How a company responds to these might make or break the customer’s loyalty to the brand and their overall experience. The Social Age has provided so many benefits for both companies and consumers, however this has also increased the timeliness in which a customer expects a genuine response to their problem.
I will again be looking at the amazing article by Help Scout, “How To Talk to Your Customers.” They provide a great framework for answering many customer service question any employee may have specifically with customer engagement and answers. They broke it down into three separate communication sections and in this post I will be focusing on their second topic of “Mastering Difficult Conversations.”
“Whether you end up with a satisfied customer or an unhappy one might come down to how you phrase your response. (Help Scout)”
Here are some of my favorite points they make for this topic:
- Apologize sincerely
- Don’t linger on the apology
- Be direct
- Admit when you’re in the wrong
- Get personal
- Admit what you don’t know
- Focus on the end, not the means
- Make your customers feel heard
- Don’t tolerate outright abuse
These are just a few of the amazing tips and explanations that Help Scout gives in their article. I think the first point of apologizing sincerely is one of the greatest tools a company can use. Customers’ are people and they want to be treated as such, they do not want to hear the generic corporate headquarters generated response. They want to feel that they are being sympathized with in the situation that they are facing at the moment. One of the best things an employee can be trained to do is be as sincere as possible when dealing with customer, while also maintaining professionalism.
All levels of employees within a company need to be sincere in their apologies, especially if the customer was treated poorly. In my previous blog about the United Airlines customer service crisis this past week I talked about apologies. Even at the CEO level sometimes the apology can seem insincere, which will affect a company negatively. With the ease of access to social media platforms, insincerity will be spread like wild fire if customers are not happy with the response a company is giving. Which is why I believe that when dealing with any difficult situation one of the biggest keys is to remain sincere, no matter what level of the organization you are in.
Did you feel as though the employee was sincere the last time you had an issue or complaint with the company? Did you receive timely feedback? Let me know by leaving a comment!
In many industries the key to creating a great experience for your customer is the communication that takes place between the employee and the consumer. Taking the time to understand your customer’s needs is critical in gaining their trust and loyalty. If a customer has a problem, do not ignore this. Take the time to listen to their complaint and find the most efficient and genuine way to come to a conclusion. These decisions will be beneficial for your company as well as the consumer and the likelihood of them recommending your brand.
I recently came across a great article published by Help Scout, “How To Talk to Your Customers.” They discuss many great tips for focusing on the communication aspect of customer service. The dialogue between the employee and the customer is a key component in deciding whether the customer will walk away angry or happy.
“Great Communication is an art. Honing it to a keen edge is a science. (Help Scout)”
As you can tell communication is not only critical, but can be difficult to master. One of the biggest takeaways from this article was the necessity of companies treating the customer as a human being. Consumers do not want to be treated generically. Taking a little bit of extra time to understand the customers’ point of view can make a world of difference. Help Scout broke communication down into three different segments, but I will just be focusing on the first piece, which is the tone of voice and message.
Here are some of my favorite tips from their article:
- Use positive language
- Be brief but not brusque
- Reply in a timely manner
- Always use your customer’s name
- Build templates for saved replies
- Offer to help further
- Show, don’t just tell
- Talk to your customers like people
I think one of the most crucial communication tips is replying in a timely manner. No one wants to feel as if their problem is being ignored and that they are not a priority. A customer wants to know that you listened and are doing what you can to fix the complaint in a timely manner. Being brushed off is one of the fastest ways to make a customer angry, and more likely to have a poor experience overall with your store.
Another key to success is saving templates from previous replies. Most likely your employees will receive a similar type complaint more than once. Saving these replies will help to increase timeliness, while also allowing the employee to tweak the message to the customer specifically. With new employees joining the company these can also be used as training tools to bring new employees up to speed on your customer service expectations.
If you’d like to read more articles like the one I mentioned from Help Scout, follow me on twitter @britsly. I love to post great articles about customer service, experience, stories and tips from other great #cx bloggers!