Factors of Exceptional Customer Service
When you have a really good experience with customer service, you tend to talk about it. That’s because it’s easier to encounter poor service than exceptional service. Customers will be much more likely to frequent your business if you offer great customer service. This article will explore some key factors of exceptional customer service and explain why they help.
Customers will always want their queries and problems to be addressed quickly. Exceptional customer service does not leave people waiting for a response and will sort issues out promptly. Really good customer service will explicitly layout when something will happen and then make sure they keep their promise.
An ethos towards helping people is essential to providing good customer service. Customers want to feel like they are treated respectfully, in a professional way, by professionals. When this is achieved, the most satisfactory outcomes from any service dialogue are achieved.
This ethos has to be ingrained throughout the company. Installed from the top down, an ethos of care and respect for customers must be present in all customer service representatives throughout a team.
When a customer reaches out for service, they want to be heard. They essentially want to feel like they are understood. Developing empathy is integral to delivering quality customer service. Customer service cannot always provide resolutions, but it should always deliver empathy. Empathy can calm the most irate customer.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share other people’s emotions. This is completely negated if you don’t listen. An exceptional customer service representative will always make an effort to listen to the whole customer message and understand the significance of body language, tone, their own emotions, and their predispositions. By making a concerted effort to listen attentively, customer service representatives can make it much easier to develop empathy.
The best customer service representatives will take ownership for situations they are involved in. Sometimes in customer service, you cannot fix things yourself. It is important to make sure you retain that difficult customer and work hard to find the right person to help them.
This element of responsibility is intrinsically linked with developing a strong company ethos. Without an ethos, it is more unlikely that representatives will not feel the necessary responsibility for the delivery of exceptional service. Likewise, without customer service representatives taking ownership of service situations, it is difficult to develop, nurture, and maintain a service ethos that values the customer and their issues.
The best customer service representatives are the most knowledgeable people about their product or service. Reading up on who, or what, you’re acting as an ambassador is essential to delivering exceptional customer service. It is far more likely that customers will be satisfied with a company if the people they interact with from the company are knowledgeable and therefore able to resolve issues.
Exceptional customer service has no room for empty promises or vagueness. To deliver exceptional service, you must deliver on your promises. Be dependable and never let a customer follow up instead of you. Regardless of whether you have a solution, never leave a customer to feel disrespected or neglected by the company you represent.
Exceptional service will always listen. By taking the time to listen to what the caller is saying and without interruption, you can truly engage with a customer. Listen to their mood to try and determine how they feel. Moreover, be attentive towards body language and tone. By taking a step back and focusing on listening to a customer, you can avoid frustration by making incorrect judgements.
An Example of Exceptional Customer Service
When thinking about an example of exceptional customer service, one sprung to mind almost immediately. In summer 2011, social media and television were continually commenting on a light-hearted, but impressive, story of customer connection by the high street supermarket chain ‘Sainsbury’s’.
In May 2011, a three-and-a-half-year-old girl wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s enquiring as to why their ‘Tiger Bread’ product was named accordingly as personally felt that it looked a lot more like the pattern of a giraffe.
A customer service representative from Sainsbury’s responded to her letter. He agreed that
“…renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea…”, after all, “…it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?”
The young girl’s mother was so impressed with the response that she posted them on her online blog. This caused them to become something of a viral hit, which sparked pressure for Sainsbury’s to implement the name change of its product.
So, how is this a good example of exceptional service?
It might be light-hearted, but this example contains many of the key components of customer service that have been explored.
This exemplifies listening attentively to the customer and empathising. Despite the request being less serious in nature, the customer service representative has made a concerted effort to empathise with the young girl. He explains how he feels his viewpoint is similar and offers a solution to her query. Moreover, he includes the little details that give this a personable touch. For example, he signs off:
‘Chris King (age 27 & 1/3)’
These impressive examples are good guidelines to follow in any customer service scenario. Evidently, it’s not always appropriate to be funny or a little laid-back, but by identifying the tone needed to pursue this scenario effectively, the representative has created a personalised, human dynamic which helps build rapport.
This example shows a clear-cut desire to help the customer and satisfy their needs. Primarily, Sainsbury’s were able to notice that this situation could help promote a more caring, human image. Through genuine interaction, they established a personable customer service image which sort to resolve an issue, regardless of the severity. Furthermore, we see a willingness to go that little step further to make a customer’s experience exceptional. By changing the name of their product off the back of the interaction, and including a small gift card so that the young girl could buy herself some more tiger bread (or indeed giraffe bread!), Sainsbury’s cemented a loyal customer relationship through their care and attentiveness.