What Makes Great Customer Service?

customer-service.jpg As a regular attender at Ben and Jackie’s Church of the Customer, I want to help highlight their call for assistance.  Jackie is speaking later this week (any day now!) to a large wireless carrier, and she is looking for stories about a WOW customer service experience in the wireless/telecom industry, especially those that are about call centers.

She has received various stories so far, some good, some generic, and some from people who are just frustrated with service.  I highly recommend going to her site and reading the stories in the comments for yourself!  I shared the story from a previous post that was sent to me by Scott Westerman about the importance of the human factor (not directly about call centers, but a great story!).  Please go to her blog and share your story in her comment section; don’t forget to tell us about it here, too!

As I read the comments, I noticed that the positive stories have many common threads with stories I have discussed over the past few months when talking about great customer service.  There are certain “customer service success skills” which are consistent regardless of the channel – online, phone, or retail.  Here are seven key success factors I have observed for a great customer service interaction with customers:

  1. Answer quickly.  Customers want their call to be answered quickly, as well as have their question answered/problem resolved in minimal time.
  2. Have a great attitude.  Customers are most satisfied when they speak with a phone rep who is courteous, polite, friendly, and professional.  Genuinely care.
  3. Treat customers with respect.  Most customers are calling because they have a question that they couldn’t figure out the answer to themselves.  This can be challenging when some callers are irate, but the best agents are able to calm the caller enough to speak with them coherently (most of the time!).
  4. Take responsibility for the outcome of the call.  Customers are most satisfied when they don’t get bounced around from one agent to another.
  5. Be knowledgeable on your subject.  Make sure you are able to answer most questions or get to the information quickly.
  6. Be a good listener.  Listening to customers helps them feel they can trust you and your company.
  7. Follow up.  If you say you will do something, do it, then let the customer know you did it.  Customers seem to appreciate someone who follows through and follows up to make sure all is OK (when appropriate).  It is amazing how many people miss this one!

In one of the stories on Jackie’s post, a customer almost felt like hugging the rep at the end.  Now that is empathy! 

One of my goals on this blog is to help companies understand what it takes to be a Customers Rock! company in each area where they touch customers, and customer service is a key touchpoint.  Customers should be able to look back on their service experience with a company and think on it favorably.  These types of experiences will help to affirm trust on the customer’s end and will elicit positive feedback for the company. 

18 Responses

  1. Becky,

    This is interesting. I purchased my service and phone online, and everything was fine. Other than that, I have had no experiences with my wireless server. I guess that’s a good thing.

  2. Becky Carroll

    Yes, Jerrymouse123, I agree that great customer service via chat is challenging. It is becoming even more so now that agents have to balance chat, email, phone, and Twitter!

  3. One of my favorite customer service quotes is “The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” -SOCRATES

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