Customer service doesn't necessarily have to be customized to be great. For some, it can be short and accurate and still be great. However, if customer service needs a boost, customization can help turn a mediocre interaction into a great one and flip the entire experience around.
When we think of great personalized customer service, we tend to think that we need a lot of personal customer information to deliver great results. However you'd be surprised to know that customization can go beyond collecting intimate data and that everything can be done on the spot and built upon over time.
Here are a few ways to offer a more personalized customer service to go above and beyond expectations and keep customers loyal and coming back for more.
1. Know your customer
Do your agents know who they are talking to? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do on the weekend? What’s their income? What TV shows do they watch?
Even if it doesn't seem important to know that they’re addicted to Walking Dead, it gives agents an idea of the customer profile they are dealing with and how to approach them.
Say you manufacture earpiece headsets for elderly people, you'll want to ensure that your agents address their customers using ‘Sir’ or ‘Mrs.’, speak clearly and probably loudly.
But knowing your customer is not only about knowing who they are, but also how they feel when they call you. Are they angry, curious, enthusiastic?
Agents should be able to pick up on a customer's tone of voice and adapt their communication accordingly. If someone is calling angry, agents should be empathetic and know to not take it personally.
Examples of phrases that show empathy:
- I apologize you feel this way..
- I understand how you feel...
- Thank you so much for your patience...
- Thank you for letting us know about this...
- Let me see what I can do for you...
- I'm going to do my best to help you...
2. Know your customer's history
For the customer, it shows that the company cares and has done thorough follow up on their case. For the agents, it means they're able to better personalize their interaction and gain a deeper understanding of their customers and their needs.
This can easily be done with that adequate software to record and track customer history with each interaction. It’s not much effort, but it the added value is huge!
3. Access to all customer service channels
Whether a customer reaches out through social media, phone or online chat, to them it's one in the same. And so should it be for your call center.
Even if different teams are handling each area, there should be clear communication between departments and every department should have full access to every channel.
When Judy tweets company X asking about the order she placed a couple of days ago, it makes it just that much more pleasant when Brian, the agent she is talking to, is aware and able to address her interactions with the company across all different channels she has touched.
4. Small talk
Some might say small talk is useless. I, however, am a big fan of small talk and have found it to help me get what I want in many instances. It helps break the ice and reminds both the user and the agent that we are all human.
Even if agents are just asking about the weather or how they like their new opt-in service, it immediately builds rapport. Next time agents are on the phone, what about giving the customer helpful insight to get the most out of their service/product?
TIP: If agents have access to thorough client history and demographics, they can also ask questions based on that.
5. Practice active listening
When a customer calls to solve an issue, there can be more than meets the ear.
Are they listening to the entire concern before finding a solution? Are they adopting their message according to the customers needs?
Before agents jump on the solution, they need to listen and understand the entire situation first. Solving a problem effectively consists of 80% listening and 20% talking.
Active listening doesn’t have to be complicated. It can easily be done by paraphrasing or summarizing the customer’s concern and asking questions to clear up any confusion in order to tackle the issue from the best angle possible.
All-in-all, personalized customer service starts with qualified agents with excellent soft skills.
How does your call center go about providing excellent and personalized customer service? We’d love to hear about it in the comment box down below!