Each week, I send out a Customer Service Tip of the Week email to my subscribers. (Not a subscriber yet? Get it here.)
It's usually a reminder. The idea is to reinforce good customer service skills by starting each week with a specific tip to focus on. Eventually, the tips cycle through and start over again.
I'll occasionally add some new tips to the mix. Starting November 28, subscribers will see six weeks of brand new tips.
Well, they may not be entirely new. They're just good reminders that are new to the list. In any event, you can preview them here now.
We all encounter the occasional customer who is a lot of fun to serve. Why not allow yourself to be a little quirky so you can join in on the fun?
Here are a few examples:
- Richard from LEGO wrote this amazing letter to a boy who had lost an action figure.
- Michael from Netflix got into character in a customer chat session.
- Jenny from DMV.org exchanged songs on YouTube with one of her customers.
You can make a big impression by connecting with your customer in a meaningful way.
The afternoon comes and you're dragging. Naturally, you turn to a cup of coffee or some other caffeine source for a quick pick-me-up.
That pick-me-up helps you concentrate on serving your customers better. But, it also sets off a chain reaction that ultimately makes it harder to focus.
That's because caffeine takes about 24 hours to work its way out of your system. So, your afternoon caffeine is still buzzing in your veins when you try to sleep that night. Your sleep quality declines as a result which leads to more fatigue the next day.
That leads to, you guessed it, that familiar sluggish feeling the next afternoon.
Skip the caffeine the next time you feel tired in the afternoon. Try some light exercise instead coupled with a healthy snack. Bake that into your routine for a few days and you might be surprised at how much more energy you have!
You'll have better luck serving angry customers if you make them feel like you're on their side. This is called the Partner Technique.
Here are some examples of using partner behaviors:
- Shift your body language so you're both facing the problem together
- Listen carefully to customers so they feel heard
- Use collaborative words like "We" and "Let's"
It's hard to be upset at someone who wants to help us. Most customers naturally calm down when they realize you are listening to their issue and trying to be helpful.
How well do you know your customers on a personal level?
For example, I know that one of my clients is obsessed with crossfit. Another client is a huge fan of 80s and 90s heavy metal. Still another client is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking and camping.
This information helps build rapport. Learning a little about your customers' interests, their families, and other things that are important to them allows you to demonstrate genuine caring on a personal level.
Customer service gets way easier when your customers like you!
You can track this information by building what I call an interest list. It's really just a collection of notes about your customers beyond the normal name, email address, and phone number in your contact database.
You can see a great example from Harvey Mackay with his Mackay66 questionnaire.
Marketing expert Stan Phelps wrote about the concept of a lagniappe in his book, The Purple Goldfish.
Technically, "lagniappe" means a small gift given to a customer at the time of purchase. Phelps broadens this to mean an "unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure to achieve product differentiation, drive retention, and promote word of mouth."
Here are just a few examples:
- Customers at Jason's Deli can always treat themselves to free ice cream.
- Any part under $1 is given away for free at Zane's cycles.
- When you buy a suit at Men's Wearhouse, you can always get it pressed for free.
So, what low cost and simple lagniappes will delight your customers?
A big challenge can occur when a customer's frustration connects you to the problem. It doesn't matter whether or not you caused it, the customer can't get over their anger.
One way to overcome this issue is the good cop, bad cop technique. The customer is angry at you, which makes you the bad cop in this situation. All you have to do is introduce a co-worker or a supervisor to take over the interaction who can act as the good cop.
I've seen this get great results time and time again. A new person on the scene helps the customer instantly calm down and accept the assistance being offered.
This is a tough technique for some people because they confuse being the bad cop with being bad at service. This isn't true at all. Using the good cop, bad cop technique takes an advanced professional who is able to help a customer feel better even if it means getting someone else involved.
the Inside Customer Service Blog website and is republished here with permission.
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About Jeff Toister
Jeff is the author of "Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It."
He is also a nationally recognized employee training expert and a sought after speaker with more than 20 years of experience.