5 Simple Customer Experience Secrets for CSRs
When we talk about a creating a positive customer experience we refer to the technology, processes and people that are required in order help our customers achieve their goals. We need to address all three in order to ensure that customers walk away with their goals accomplished and a good feeling about the process. In a world of self-service, what is often forgotten is the importance of people. Many times it's the human element that closes the deal on a positive customer experience.
What follows are five things every customer wants, but doesn't always get when they interact with you. They're obvious things, so we overlook them. But if you take these simple things and instill them in the hearts and minds of your customer service representatives, then you will have discovered the final piece to the great customer experience puzzle.
- Optimism. This is the attitude that we are going to solve this issue together, no excuses, no matter what. Customers need to get this feeling when they interact with you. Many inbound requests are the result of a problem that is causing stress, therefore, positive assurances are needed that things will go well. You must be an advocate and take on the persona of one. Phrases like, "Don't worry, we've got this..." go a long way. Confident CSR's will convey optimism more easily and stop at nothing to help their customers. Confidence comes from training and empowerment, so think hard about whether you're supplying this. Optimism feels good to customers because they generally expect service reps to be indifferent. An optimistic and confident rep, even for the easy stuff, will be a delightful surprise to your customers.
- Energy. A little enthusiasm about solving the customer's issue can take your far. Enthusiasm conveys optimism. Don't misunderstand... energy does not mean wild excitement. It means urgency and the visible desire to truly help. Add some vocal variety and don't be monotone when reading your script (if you have too). Add a few interjections as you practice reflective listening so that you actual seem like a real person and not a robot. Throw in a, "Hey, we did it!" before you hang up.
- Empathy. This is tricky, because hollow apologies can make things worse. "We apologize..." is a part of the script and has become a cliche. Customers sense when it's scripted and phony. We forget that customers have tried a few things before calling, therefore, this interaction should take on a more urgent tone and, "We're sorry..." doesn't cut it. It would be better if the interaction started out with, "Well that sucks...ok, let's get this resolved...right now." A statement like this demonstrates optimism, energy, empathy and urgency.
- Speed. This relates to the urgency I just mentioned. If the customers you are speaking with are coming from a self-service dead end, then their tolerance is already low and patience is short. Yet, many CSR's still wonder why the customers they speak with are mad right off the bat. Self-service dead ends are the reason. Processes that make customers start all over, repeat account information and wait on hold set up a negative customer experience. All of this impedes a customers' forward progress and builds a tsunami of frustration that is ultimately unleashed on your CSR's. In addition, CSR's must be empowered to solve customers' issues on the spot. If they can't then there must be honest reasons why. Ducking and dodging will exponentially increase the customers' negative perception of the experience. If the company's policies or processes are preventing you from helping a customer...then tell the customer. Then indicate that you will absolutely pass along the dismay.
- Honesty. Being honest with customers regarding company processes and policies that are clearly crummy is a great way to win them over. Also, honest analysis and recommendations must be at the forefront. In examining my usage, a rep at the wireless store shared with me how I could easily reduce my monthly bill $15 by dropping into lower tier. It was a shockingly wonderful customer experience. Why? Because I've been conditioned to believe that companies only want more money from me and therefore I am cynical when I interact with customer service reps. That is why the experience was so remarkable and was even better when I received my first bill and truly saw the savings. Customers want to believe that you are an expert consultant and that you have their best interests in mind. But they are reluctant to believe based on prior experience that includes a barrage of upselling and cross-selling. Your honesty and transparency can change your customers' hearts and minds.
Five simple things that are forgotten, ignored or even discouraged. But it's possible to change all that by sharing this blog.