9 Ways to Prove You Care About Your Customers
When the moment of truth comes – and I finally interact with your brand – none of your rhetoric matters. None of your philosophy matters. None of your investments matter.
I am going to evaluate your customer experience – and your supposed sense of customer centricity – based on what you do for me. How do you greet me? How do you treat me? How do you perform for me?
The customer experience may be a hollow, abstract business concept to you, but it is personal to me. It determines whether I am getting my money’s worth. If I do not feel that I am, you can rest assured that I will not commit my loyalty, let alone my advocacy, to your brand.
In order to win my support, you will need to deliver on all cylinders. I will not overlook poor product quality or uncompetitive pricing because your agents are friendly. Similarly, I will not ignore rude treatment because I love consuming your product.
Above all, however, you will have to prove that you truly care about me. Yes, I know that doing right by me—and my fellow customers—can produce significant business returns, but I do not simply want to be a means to an end. I want to know that my satisfaction is the end.
Here is how I will know you care.
1) You Already Know Me
When I contact you, I am not simply a customer attempting to interact with your brand. I am Brian, your valued customer.
No matter where I choose to initiate the conversation – and where that conversation ends up going – you will know who I am. You will not need me to repeatedly identify myself. You will not need me to provide context for my history with your brand. I may choose to do so out of habit or if I believe it can assist in the process, but you should never need to ask me to do so.
2) You Aim to Empower, Not Deflect
I don’t need to talk to an agent, but I definitely need the most efficient, effective and complete care.
If you truly believe my matter can be better addressed by a self-service platform, then feel free to drive me to a self-service platform.
If you’re driving me to an inferior self-service platform because it is cheaper or less taxing on your workforce, then you tell your marketing team it is going to need to account for a lost customer.
3) You Love That I Called But Hate That I Needed To Call
I’m the most important person in your life. I’m your biggest priority. Getting the chance to interact with me, listen to my feedback and provide valuable information or resolution is the highlight of your day.
That joy, however, comes with a corresponding sense of guilt. You hate that I needed to call. You hate that I need to devote time to the issue about which I’m calling. Cognizant of that problem, you do the heavy lifting. You resolve my manner as quickly and as effortlessly (from my perspective) as conceivably possible.
When it comes to a customer service interaction, definitely make me feel loved. Just don’t make me late.
4) You Listen to Understand, Not to Compare
I am a unique customer. I have my own reason for calling, my own reaction to the situation and my own demand for a particular resolution.
Will those reasons, reactions or demand occasionally overlap with those of other customers? Of course. Will they occasionally mirror what is found in your knowledge base? You better believe it!
But if you truly care about me, do not assume they will. Listen to understand my unique situation, and then act accordingly. If how I feel and what I want fit into your script, great – I just made your life easier. If how I feel and what I want are unique, do not attempt to shoehorn them into your existing policies and procedures. Offer a reception – and devise a response – that honors my particular circumstance.
Everything I say on the call is designed to help you understand me and my issue. It is not designed to help you compare me to everyone else.
5) You Don’t Throw Policies in My Face
I do not care what the policy says. If you really care about me, you will find a way to help me.
If the solution to my problem were simple, painless and obvious, you would not have a job. Businesses would not need to spend millions on customer service.
They do because of the gray area. There are situations in which the policy does not adequately apply. There are situations in which the policy is clear in what it says – but wrong for saying so.
When we interact, you understand what happened, what needs to happen in response, and what you can do to offer that response. If the policy can steer you on the right track, use it. If the policy tells you not to help me for some ridiculous reason, ditch it.
6) You Don’t Say No
I’m not greedy or unrealistic. I know I cannot conceivably ask you for anything under the sun.
However, I am perfectly entitled to a remedy when something goes wrong. I am perfectly entitled to your support when I need.
Knowing this, you never outright say no to my core demand. You may not be able to honor the exact idea I have for fulfilling that demand, but you do not quit until you have found an idea that will works. You do not relax until you have done everything conceivable to resolve the issue and win or retain my satisfaction.
7) You Don’t Say the First Goodbye
I don’t care that you followed the policy to the letter. I don’t care that you feel as if there is nothing else you can do. I don’t care that you’re being measured based on talk time.
The call is not over until I say it is over. I will probably not say it is over until I have reached a point of contentedness – either due to a satisfactory answer or due to an acceptance that what I want is truly impossible.
Remember, I come first. My satisfaction is your top priority. Without acquiring that satisfaction, you have no ground on which to declare the call is over.
I’ll be honest. I may be difficult. I may even be a bit rude at times. But I’m still your customer. I’m still entitled to the resolution I desire.
8) You Don’t Say the Last Goodbye
I’m not a needy person. I do not need you to call every day to check in on my satisfaction. Frankly, I probably do not want you to do so.
That said, I do not want you do not stop thinking about my satisfaction because the call ended. I do not want you to see me as that guy who called that one time. I am your valued customer, and my ongoing satisfaction and loyalty is of immense importance.
When possible, you will attempt to engage. You will keep me apprised of opportunities to derive greater value from your brand. You will alert me to potential product issues. You will work to assure that the interaction we had on that first call was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
If our relationship requires a final goodbye, it is because I have decided I am no longer interested.
Even then, I wouldn’t hate you for apologizing and trying to win me back.
9) You Make Things Better
You see each call as a valuable opportunity to engage – and solidify our relationship. You also see each call as a value opportunity to learn about me and the way you go about handling my inquiries.
Using my feedback, recommendations and patterns, you perpetually improve the experience you provide. You make a better product. You make a more valuable product. You remove effort from the service experience. You add accuracy to the service experience.
You make things better.