SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 11: WWDC attendees look at the new MacBook Pro that is displayed following the keynote address at the Apple 2012 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) at Moscone West on June 11, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple unveiled a slew of new hardware and software updates at the company's annual developer conference which runs through June 15. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
In today's competitive business world, one of the most powerful ways to differentiate your business and succeed where others have failed is to deliver an exceptional customer experience and customer service, no matter how you deliver it, is critical.
Here are five ways to make your customer service stand out and to help you to build loyalty and great word of mouth:
In customer service, it is the hare who wins the race.
In the ancient fable, it is the slow, steady tortoise who wins the race; but, in customer service, it is the fast response that wins the hearts. People like to know that someone is paying attention and the faster your response, the stronger the message that you are doing just that.
Be a human being when communicating with your customers. Customers will often treat a customer service agent rudely and express their anger in ways they might never express it in person. For this reason, it is critical that you find ways to let that demanding customer know that it is a human being they’re talking to and not an auto-responding robot or an AI-powered Internet machine. Customize your responses and be careful with the overuse of boilerplate language and response scripts.
The spoken voice is better than the written word.
Given a choice between speaking with a customer in person or via email, always go for the voice. When you are working to defuse a “situation” or build a relationship, you will be much more effective if you can let the other person, literally, hear what you are saying. A great writer can craft a fantastic response, but nothing beats having a human being to speak to a customer.
Say please. Also say thank you.
Understand the importance of being polite. There is no context where it is more important than in exceptional customer service. So, no matter what, please, please, please stay polite, be civil and maintain equanimity. Just like mom taught you.
For problem customers, start with an “I’m sorry” and end with a “much obliged.”
The structure of a good response is almost as important as the content of that response. A great customer service response to a difficult request should always begin with an apology and end with an expression of gratitude.
For example: “Thanks for getting in touch and so sorry to hear that you ran into this issue.” Simple introductions like that acknowledge the customer’s pain, sends a message that you care and cuts right to the problem you are working to resolve. Ending with an apology can serve to remind the customer that their problem may not yet be resolved or that they were angry in the first place.
Mike Samson is the co-founder of crowdSPRING, crowdspring.com, and resides firmly at the bottom of the company’s ping-pong totem pole. Prior to starting crowdSPRING, the world's #1 marketplace for buyers and sellers of creative services, Mike was an Emmy Award® nominated Producer and Production Manager in the film and television production industry. Around the office, Mike is known for randomly belting out television theme songs from the fifties.