You have 30 quick seconds to make a million fast decisions.
First impressions about a company via customer service channels make lasting impressions to the customer and whoever the customer decides to share them with (friends, family, social media). When Sir Patrick Stewart waited 36 hours for his Time Warner Cable appointment he took his thoughts to Twitter on their initial customer support. It resulted in a media backlash that had the TW social media team on their toes.
In most cases, the single point of contact with a company is when they reach out to customer service.
How will you, mighty customer service representative, measure up to the clock?
1. Be Prepared
If you’re a customer service agent that is provided with a technology to pull customer data, such as a name, phone or account number, address, etc. on your computer screen before every call, consider your job made 10% easier. If you don’t, you still have the ability to do one simple thing: ASK. By referring to the customer by name throughout the entire call, as well as opening their account to read through any previous service notes, you are a step ahead of the game to kindling the fire on a great call.
2. Be Kind
You’re on the customer’s side. Your job is to have their back. When you answer the phone, are you answering in a tone that you’d use with your best friend? Setting and keeping a genuine and friendly tone during the conversation welcomes your customer to your company, starts to build trust and showcases your brand voice in a positive manner. Not only that, it will benefit the bottom line. According to JitBit, businesses lose upwards of $84 billion per year due to poor, untrustworthy customer service.
3. Be Purposeful
The customer called for a reason. They may voice their frustrations immediately, not caring about your kind voice or that you know their name. What actions do you take then? By listening to the customer speak and release their dissatisfaction, you can zoom in on what the larger issue is at stake. You can then hold the reigns to define the purpose of the call to keep things on track and help your customer get to their desired resolution.
Here’s a Customer Service MadLib Style Script for you to act as a baseline on how to keep the empathy in your word choices when you may be challenged by a difficult customer:
[After listening quietly to customer on phone]
______________ thank you for sharing your experience with me. I completely understand why you feel
I am disappointed that _____________ has happened. Our company takes ownership of this and apologize. (Sum up customer story)
My goal is to resolve this. I will _____________________ and I look forward to working with you!
(Realistic Customer Expectations)
In a nutshell:
Write that down on a Post-It and stick it to your computer monitor, friends!
All of this happens within the first 30 seconds of the call. And the power is all in your hands.