04 June 2014

5 Great Customer Service Techniques

I've noticed how much customer service has slipped in the past several years. The further up north I go, it seems to get worse. However, I think we may be making a comeback in recent times. I've been paying particular attention to the way I receive information from care providers over the phone. Some are good and some are piss poor. For the most part, I've decided those things which worked for me recently might be basic techniques I'd never noticed before.

So I thought, since this blog is about making progress, why not share my thoughts on how I feel about customer service and improving the user experience over the phone. After all, I'm the user in these instances and I can tell you, I very much liked these types of experiences.

Here are 5 things to remember when you want to provide great customer service.


When you have a customer on the phone and they are obviously frustrated, sometimes the easiest way to get them on your side is to apologize for the fact they are experiencing difficulty. It may not be your fault and there may be very little you can do to assist with their frustration. The fact that you apologized will make them feel you have taken responsibility for whatever it was, it doesn't matter.

Customer: This is unacceptable. I've been waiting over 5 minutes to speak with someone!
Customer Care Provider: I'm sorry you experienced such a long wait. I'll try and help you as quickly as possible. How may I start?

Now, how can anyone argue with that? I certainly didn't.

Show gratitude

When a customer asks you for something and you are able to provide it for them, don't make them feel like you're doing them a favor. Make them feel like they just gave you an opportunity you hardly ever get. After all, not everybody has a job these days.

Customer: I need to find out what this unusual charge to my account is and where it came from. Can you help me with this?
Customer Care Provider: Absolutely! 

Answer first

Don't answer a question with a question. Give a positive answer first, then ask your question. If you ask a question before answering theirs, you're making them feel like they are not the priority. No matter how trivial the question, answer it first before requesting other information.

Customer: I need to order a new debit card. Can you help me with this?
Customer Care Provider: Absolutely! May I have your account number please?

Conserve time

When a customer provides you with information, thank them. Trust me, they do not want to have to repeat themselves and you shouldn't have to read back their information to make sure you got it right. They have to confirm other information anyway so why waste time reading back something you obviously got right? Procedure? Policy? Talk to your supervisor and get that crap changed. It's annoying as hell.

Customer: My account number is 55534566787-1.
Customer Care Provider: Perfect. I'll check that for you. Just one moment while I pull up your account. For security purposes, can you verify your mailing address?

If they don't give you the correct mailing address, there is the opportunity to explore and provide further validation. If they do provide the correct mailing address, you've just saved some time for your customer.

Circumvent transfers

Never tell someone to hold while you transfer them to the correct party. It's the same as telling them it was their fault they got the wrong number. You want them to feel like they got the right number and you're just the person to connect them with the mortgage department.

Remember, it's not called a transfer. Transfer means you're giving the task to another party. When you ask someone if you can connect them and they agree, you are now performing a task you were asked to do.

Customer: Hello, I need to check the balance on my mortgage.
Customer Care Provider: Of course! Donna will be able to access that information for you. Would you like for me to connect you?
Customer: Yes please.
Customer Care Provider: I'm happy to do so, sir. Please hold while I connect you. Have a great day.

Why am I posting my thoughts on customer service today? Because, lately I've noticed this growing trend on how I'm treated on the phone when I interface with different organizations. I didn't use to get this level of care, and now I'm really happy to see that people are starting to enjoy their jobs again.

Or maybe I've become more important suddenly?  *brief silence*    ....nah

Have you noticed any trending techniques in the field of customer service?

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