The rise of the unpredictable customer means you can’t be sure ‘rewhat mood they’re in when you take that call.
Chances are, it may not be a pleasant one.
In a consumer survey by Aspect, one-third of the respondents said they’d rather clean a toilet than contact customer service.
The good news is this puts the ball in your court.
By caring about their concerns and efficiently helping out, you have the power to change opinions, one customer at a time.
After all, having a great conversation is more fun than cleaning a toilet. And your effort will pay off because good customer service positively influences 87% of future buying decisions.
In the words of Shifu
Find inner peace.
Understand that people will contact you when something’s gone wrong. This may mean they’re already impatient, annoyed, unhappy, or confused.
Don’t let their mood affect yours, or you might find yourself impulse shopping to feel better. But staying calm in such situations isn’t just to help your bank balance. You’re the solo pilot flying the customer out of turbulence.
Studies have also shown that when people are feeling negative, they’re more receptive to positive things. This means with your timely help, customers can feel happy quicker.
So, no matter what frame of mind your customer is in, don’t let the Doom music take over. Respond positively, providing solutions and interim workarounds.
Good humour can be contagious enough to help them feel better.
Use emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to read social cues, understand emotions, and respond appropriately.
For instance, sending a string of emojis to a customer with a PhD isn’t an indicator of emotional intelligence.
People like feeling understood.
They like talking to people, not corporations. It’s why showing empathy is such an important part of customer service.
Empathy means that if a customer wants to vent their frustration, let them vent, and listen.
👉 Apologise and acknowledge their feelings when they want them acknowledged. Using emotional intelligence in customer service, you respond in a way that’s authentic, transparent, and human.
You’re far more likely to win people over this way than by spouting pre-scripted responses.
Personalise like a pro
We’re living in a personalised world.
Netflix understands our viewing preferences and recommends what we might enjoy. Amazon welcomes us like old friends by remembering everything we’ve browsed. Siri and Alexa are practically family members.
As customers, we love personalisation.
8 out of 10 people say customised attention from a service person who understands them affects their buying decisions. And a majority of customers feel frustrated when a customer experience is impersonal.
In customer service, treating someone as an individual goes beyond addressing them by their first name. But amping up your personalisation game also doesn’t mean inviting them on the Battle Bus for after-hours gaming.
It could mean letting a customer know you’ve noticed they’re using an Android device to contact you, and providing relevant troubleshooting. Or remarking that the reported issue has affected them before.
👉 Personalise your response without asking for information that’s already there. There’s always information you can get by gleaning data from the software you’re using. Take time to check their history.
It shows people that you’re invested in their issues and makes them feel cared for.
Go big or go home
Customer service isn’t a department, it’s an attitude.
For every person that dials in with a query, you have the chance to deliver an extraordinary experience.
This doesn’t mean you offer something as goodwill only when there’s a problem. It means going the extra mile and doing something unexpected. It means showing consumers they’re valuable.
👉 Be attentive to all feedback. Practice social listening so your customers feel validated. You can also check your organisation’s policy on giveaways to boost the customer experience.
Offer extra tips from your know-how or recommend deals they may be missing out on, using your insider knowledge.
Invest hard in every customer who contacts you by giving them 100%. And try to do something that brings them joy, whatever way you can.
It’s always the unexpected kindness that sticks in the heart. As the poet, Maya Angelou, said, “People will never forget how you made them feel.”
And the cherry on the cake? Being kind to others positively affects your own sense of well-being, too.