We’ve all been there. Our newly purchased product or service isn’t working. We’re angry and frustrated. Even more so because now we have to call a customer service phone line.
First, we dial the number and immediately encounter a recorded message saying, “Your call is important to us”.
We don’t believe it. What we hear instead is, Your call is not important, that’s why you’ve just been put on hold.
The next sentence is worse:
“We’re experiencing an unusually high volume of calls so why not go to our website…”
They think they are being helpful. But we know what they really mean is, Stop getting in our way and ring off.
Then, when we finally make a connection and ask some hard questions, the “Service Provider” is often curt, unhelpful and seems to be reading from a script.
The company tells us it cares about helping us, but we experience the opposite! It’s as if they are doing everything they can to avoid actually talking to their customers.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but these interactions can – or should – offer the opportunity to set your business apart, delighting your customers and inspiring loyalty.
Did you know that the words you choose only account for 7% of how a message is received?
Tone of voice is 38%
And body language is 55%.
No matter how good the actor, the tone of voice of a recorded message can never be as effective – or sincere – as a live human who listens and responds in real time.
At Miradorus we send many mission and time-critical training materials across the world and use a courier company where the phone is always answered within just a few rings – and by someone who can actually help. They are not the cheapest. The reassurance of knowing they are there to resolve any issues if something goes wrong is much more valuable to us. Successful business doesn’t happen without quality human relationships. So make it easy for your customers to talk to a person.
Reflect back whatever the customer is worried about to show that you understand. Once you’ve addressed their anxiety they are much more likely to calm down, especially if you do it sensitively and with genuine empathy, so you can then focus on the customer’s business problem (the reason they’re contacting you in the first place) and on resolving the issue. This, in turn, will reduce the likelihood of the problem (and the emotions) escalating.
When customer service team members feel genuinely empowered to do what’s best for the customer, they are much more likely to care about putting things right. Timpson is a stellar example of an organisation where decisions are made by people who actually serve the customers on a daily basis, not by corporate policy.
When customer service team members feel genuinely empowered to do what’s best for the customer, they are much more likely to care about putting things right. Timpson – best known for shoe repairs and key cutting – is a stellar example of an organisation where decisions are made by people who actually serve the customers on a daily basis, not by corporate policy. They genuinely live their strapline: Great Service by Great People.
World class service providers will “go the extra mile” for customers when they can and it is appropriate. However, they also know the importance of “selling” the fact that they are doing something over and above the norm and highlighting why they are doing so on “this” occasion.
Problem resolution is generally not about the money. Revenge for poor service, however, is; including telling as many people who will listen, to avoid a certain business.
Don’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to service issues. Instead, take the opportunity to create a deeper bond with your customers.