3 Ways To Make Good Customer Service Great

Contributor: Brian Cantor
Posted: 05/19/2017
Brian Cantor
Rate this Article: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

If customer service truly represents a pivotal competitive differentiator, than “good” is absolutely not “good enough.”

Your service experience needs to be great.

But what does great service entail?

On the one hand, the question is difficult to answer.  It is not only fundamentally subjective but also highly dependent on context, including industry, issue type, channel and product.

We have, however, identified three elements that should apply – and help transform good service into great service – in nearly all situations.

These tips are probably most relevant for agent-assisted interactions, but they can – and should – fuel self-service as well.  They are simply “must haves” for your business.

Uniqueness

What are you doing to make customers recognize you?  How are you ensuring customers know they are doing business with you – and only you?

Customer-centric organizations put their own spin on the experience.  Their IVR may open with a joke rather than simply a list of the different menu options.  Their agents may greet customers with a unique word or phrase.  They may award prizes to random “customers of the day.”

Whatever the specific action, these organizations strive to create a memorable identity throughout the experience.  They know that in order to establish meaningful connections with customers, they have to do something that no one else (certainly not competitors) is doing.

Ideally, they do something that no one else can do.

Creativity

There is an obvious marketing/brand-building justification for incorporating creativity into the customer service experience.  If you demonstrate your willingness to go not only above-and-beyond but outside-the-box for your customers, you demonstrate a very marketable degree of customer centricity.

There is also a logical one.

Thanks to the rise of the web, customers can instantly access details about the “standard” support protocol.  They can instantly learn standard fixes for product issues, standard policies regarding returns and refunds, and standard recommendations for upgrades.

If they choose to actively contact support, is very likely because they deemed that “standard protocol” insufficient or unacceptable.  They are looking for something  different.

This does not always need to be some grand, over-the-top gesture in the vein of bringing a Porterhouse steak to the airport.  It may simply involve a more personalized, natural explanation than that provided in the standard support documents.

The point is that it behooves agents to think beyond the script when it comes to service interactions.  A business, meanwhile, should tune its interactive self-service avenues (virtual agents, IVR, etc) to offer value beyond the text on the website.

Customers are committing time and effort to the process.  Confirm that you are willing to do the same.

Fear

We don’t often think of “fear” as an admirable quality, but it absolutely is one in a customer service context.

To truly go all-out for your customers, you must possess fear about what would happen if you did not.

You shouldn’t have to fake this fear; it should already exist within all members of your team.  There is, after all, good reason to be afraid:  unsatisfactory experiences can result in lost customer support, spending and advocacy.

This tip, therefore, is not asking you to pretend to be afraid.  It is simply asking you to embrace the fear that already exists.  Stop trying to hide it!

Hiding fear is usually a tactic for projecting strength and power, but such an endeavor is futile in the world of customer service.  The customer has the power whether or not you are willing to admit it – they are the ones who get to decide whether the experience was satisfactory enough to warrant future business.

By trying to pretend otherwise, you are not taking back any power.  You are simply letting customers know that you do not value them the way they deserve to be valued.

Brian Cantor
Contributor: Brian Cantor