Published on September 2, 2014
At this point, everyone has heard that to do customer service correctly, you need to be professional, quick, and correct with your service. How can a company go further though? Here are five cool ways to rethink customer service that will differentiate your company:
Presents: I recently read an article about how a company called Savvy Panda sends new customers a themed care package (stickers, stuffed panda, etc.). I love this. It’s applicable to almost any business type and can be as simple as sticky notes and pens. The simple act of welcoming someone to a group and presenting them with a gift is incredibly powerful.
Be proactive: Part of the frustration of going through the customer service process with many companies is having no idea who you’re going to be dealing with. Assign a rep to your new customer and have them send an introductory email along this lines of: Hi Graham, I’m Bob, your customer service representative [or account manager or similar]. If you ever have any questions or problems, please email or call me. A little bit about myself, I love dogs, bagels, and fencing. I got into customer service because my mom was a doctor and I was bad at math, but still wanted to help people.”
This has the dual benefit of giving your new customer an immediate point of contact if anything goes wrong, and also humanizes the rep which is key to developing a relationship. After that email, your customer is calling Bob, who isn’t good at math but loves fencing, rather than representative #249485. Little things like that will completely change the tone of future customer service interactions.
Random surveys: I have never managed to wrap my head around why the “how are we doing” surveys only ever come after something explodes. The result is that my thought about whatever company sends me that survey is typically “you’re doing awful and I hate you.” Following up is key, but “how are we doing” surveys can be emailed, tweeted, facebooked, or mailed at any time, and they should be.
By checking in when absolutely nothing is wrong you are ensuring that I am both surprised by your concern, and what I remember is “nope, all good here” rather than simply the frustration that comes with having had a problem. It’s a good way of establishing passive contact that will build your brand and decrease customer angst in situations where something actually goes awry.
Treat customers like part of the company: You know what people love? Knowing what’s going on. You’re undergoing restructuring? You’re having problems with a new deployment and there are regionalized outages? TELL ME. If I call a company wondering what is going on and I’m informed that it’s an ongoing issue and I shouldn’t worry, I’m frustrated at how inconsiderate the company is. If I get a message me informing me that this might happen and it does my reaction is “well that’s annoying but I knew that might happen.” Completely different reactions to the same event. By keeping customers informed of what’s going on in your company (proactively), you’re empowering them with knowledge and awareness, and neutralizing potential frustrations from the inevitable growing periods companies go through.
Be inventive: Be nonsensically awesome. “Surprising and delight customers” is an oft-repeated goal in customer service. If a company that I buy microwaves from tells me that my favorite band is going to be in town, sends me a pamphlet on restaurant week, or suggests ten things to do during the summer, I’m going to remember it. You can tweet it at me, Facebook it to me, email it to me, etc. It’s a small touch with no direct financial business value, but one that further develops the brand-customer relationship in a way that drives loyalty and creates advocacy.
Questions? Comments? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @helpdotcom.