A real conversation with a customer is one of the rare opportunities your company has to create an unforgettable customer experience. So here are 10 practical tips that, once you apply them, will drive your overall customer satisfaction and loyalty right through the roof. If these don’t work, take it up with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll have a good conversation about it!
1. Call the customer by name
As Dale Carnegie famously said: “the sweetest sound in any language, is one’s own name.” People really respond to their own names. And it’s no wonder. For someone to know your name and to use it in polite conversation is endearing, and inspires trust and confidence. Whether your company is a first-name sort of place, or a last-name only kind of institution, anything would be better than “Dear loyal customer.”
@16lynsey Hi Lynsey, we don’t like the sound of this. What’s happened? Can we help with anything from here?
— O2 in the UK (@O2) November 3, 2014
2. Be straightforward; don’t “manage” the customer.
Show that you understand the customer’s inquiry by providing a relevant answer in the first sentence. Provide details or request further information after acknowledging that you understand the problem. Remember: the customer is not the problem, and “handling” the customer, or prefacing your answer with any sort of obfuscation will make you seem defensive, rather than helpful. So just get to the point – the customer will appreciate your directness.
3. Add your name too
Even though you represent a company, and you probably use a company profile when answering customer queries, add your first name at the end of the first and the last post. At first you are introducing yourself, and forging a personal relationship with the customer. In your last communication, you are concluding your discussion and bidding farewell to the customers. You wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a robot – it’s always better to be personal, isn’t it?
— Tesco (@Tesco) November 3, 2014
4. Inform the customer about the next steps
Nobody wants to be put on hold without knowing what happens next. Social media is no different – your customer may be “hanging on the line,” waiting for a response that might take few minutes or several hours. Try always to inform a customer of what are you going to do next, and how long it might take.
@glaforge Thanks for reaching out! You’ll hear from our team soon.
— Fitbit Support (@FitbitSupport) November 3, 2014
5. Be friendly, not formal
Everyone knows that “your opinion is important to us,” is bullshit. Everybody. So stop saying it, and show it. Customers choose social media for customer service to take advantage of a real-time, informal communication environment. So avoid corporate language (“Dear customer, we value your opinion.”) and unnecessary information (“Our customer service is here for you…”) This is “managing” the customer, when you should be managing the problem, and cutting through the manure.
6. Proactively build expectations about response times
Inform customers of the updated response time and the number of available customer service agents using social header images. This will make it very clear, for customers wondering how your social customer service works, that you’re available and ready to talk. At Brand Embassy, we’ve launched “Real-time Social Profiles” with automatically refreshed Response times and Available Agents.
7. Ask about previous experiences
Wouldn’t it be nice if a customer service agent would ask you, when a call starts, whether everything worked out the last time you called? Your social CRM should give you this information – including a full conversation history with the customer – and you should use this information to demonstrate caring for the customer. “I see you had an issue, back in June. Did everything turn out alright?” What a nice thing to ask!
8. Add something relevant to laugh about
When you know you satisfied the customer, why not add something extra? Perhaps a joke on a topic relevant to what you were just discussing? A link to a YouTube song or a funny picture that will make the customer laugh and will make your brief discussion with the customer an unforgettable experience the customer will talk about? Agents at Netflix, the online movie streaming service, sometimes chat to their customers about the movies they’ve been watching on the service. What a great way to connect with people, don’t you think?
9. Extra: Have the last word. It’s fun.
Did the customer just said “Thank you, it works now. Bye!”?, don’t let him go like that, have a last word by thanking him and greeting him. “No, Paul, I thank you. It was good to talk to you. Enjoy your weekend!” It creates another piece to a puzzle of heart-warming customer experience and add one more reason to stay loyal with the company, by creating an informal connection between the agent and the customer. Plus, it can be fun to see who blinks first.
— ATTCares (@ATTCares) November 3, 2014
10. Extra: Kindly ask for a review
Is your company measuring your Net Promoter Score, or other qualitative customer service metrics? Kindly ask the customer to fill in a simple -it has to be simple!- form at the end of the discussion with the customer. “Would you mind telling us how satisfied you were with me by filling-in this short form, Suzy?” will do it just fine. Always make sure that if the customer reports unsatisfactory results, you contact he customer again and politely investigate the experience further- perhaps using another agent, if the customer is upset. You have still plenty of ways to make the customer happy again, and this is actually one of few occasions where the customer might be interested in talking to you, seize a great opportunity!