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Rethinking the Traditional Customer Service Approach

Sep 14, 2015 :: 0 Comments

Common wisdom on providing great customer service is well rehearsed: empathize, apologize, and, of course, abide by the golden rule– “the customer is always right.” So why do customer interactions which stick to these guidelines still sometimes fail?

It may be time to for a reboot on this conventional approach. The goal? To provide superior customer service which outshines the problem and creates a net gain for your company.

Authenticity Over Empathy

Is there a such thing as being too polite? Traditional customer support wisdom would say “no,” but too much false empathy can come off stiff and stilted. If you’re going to give robotic, impersonal responses, why hire a person to do the job anyway? Reps should show customers that they know where they are coming from while still being personal and natural. By being personable, they can bring customers on their side of the problem.

Problem-Solving Over Apologizing

While customers like to know that their concerns have been heard, most of them are not looking for a grovel-fest (and those that are should probably consider seeking help). A recent study from Zendesk found that customer satisfaction decreases each time a rep says “sorry.” The use of “sorry” was associated with more back and forth steps as well as longer resolution times. Instead of focusing on the problem, reps should acknowledge the problem but focus on the solution.

Going the Extra Mile

You’ve fixed the problem but sense a snarl on the other end of the line. What gives? If your solution involves the customer jumping through hoops/turning cartwheels/being “on hold” yet again, it may not bring a smile to their face. Make it a quick fix for your customers by doing more of the leg work. A quick web search may be able to provide information which will make their day a little easier and them a little happier.

Digital Age customer service is personal but, most of all, productive. Customer and representative work together with the rep as the team leader, calling the shots to get it done. So is the customer always right? Maybe, unless you have a better idea. Customer service reps should treat each phone call and chat as an opportunity to build a relationship with customers and show them that the company “works.”

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