Customer service is about supporting customers, right? Yes, but it can be so much more than that. Customer service has the ability to completely change the way people view your company. Your brand, your product, your mission, they all shape a customer’s views before and during their positive interactions. But the second they hit a snag, the reputation of your business, in their eyes, relies entirely on your customer service department.
As we’ve touched upon before, it is so much easier to lose a customer than to gain one. And these are the exact types of scenarios where this could happen. How do you go about stopping it? Well, you need to always be exceeding customer expectations. How? Here are some examples.
1. Your customer is frustrated about a defect in your product
BASIC SERVICE: Send a refund or new product.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Send a freebie and turn a client into a loyal customer.
When you fix a customer’s problem, they generally feel positive about their experience. Sending a small gift will only boost that positivity, creating a loyalty that money can’t buy.
2. Your customer is dissatisfied with the result of a service they recently received
BASIC SERVICE: Issue a refund or schedule a new appointment.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Send someone for immediate follow-up and discount the original service to show you value the customer’s time.
People already dread waiting for service providers to show up to appointments that may not even have a set time. Waiting for someone to come back after an aggravating initial appointment is salt in a wound. Get someone over to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
3. Your customer is giving you feedback in real time about an area for improvement
BASIC SERVICE: Make note, assure them options will be explored, and send a follow up email as a thank you.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Find a way to implement their suggestions, and send them a thank you and freebie for their contributions to your success.
Exceeding customer expectations means empowering your customers. The best way to do this is to let them feel in control, as if your business is built around them. You can tell the customer they’re always right, but it’s so much better to show them they are.
4. Your customer is blaming you for an issue with the business that you did not create
BASIC SERVICE: Assure them you will forward the concern to the appropriate department.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Transfer their call to a customer success team or manager and reinforce the idea that customer opinions do have the power to affect change in your organization.
When people are frustrated, they can get irrational and will point the finger of blame at the first person they can. Redirect them. Get them pointing to a solution instead of trying to identify the source of the problem. That is the only way forward!
5. Your customer is confused about what product or service to purchase
BASIC SERVICE: Tell them which offerings will meet their needs so they can make a more informed decision.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Make recommendations, give offering comparisons to get the customer the best and fairest deal possible, and offer to transfer the call to sales.
When a customer calls with questions about your offerings, they are likely fully prepared to be bombarded with sales pitches. Leave that to the sales folks. You provide customer support. Support them by helping them to determine the best fit for not only their functional needs, but their financial ones as well. They may just feel that you see them as more human.
6. Your customer calls and wants to speak to the same agent they’ve already explained their issue to
BASIC SERVICE: Tell them you are perfectly capable of assisting them with their issue.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Find that agent and connect them. Even better yet: implement a system to pair certain callers (identified by phone number or name) with the same agent whenever they call.
Giving a backhistory of your issues with a company or product can be nauseating. When you get juggled around between agents, details get lost and you have to repeat yourself over and over. Imagine calling a customer service line knowing that you can speak to someone who knows your name, what products or services you use, and what problems and fixes you’ve run into before! Now that is exceeding customer expectations!
7. Your customer is having a hard time articulating their issue or question
BASIC SERVICE: Assure them that you understand what they are trying to say and respond appropriately.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: Ask questions to make sure you understand correctly and aren’t wasting their time, as well as to help guide the customer toward the wording they are looking for.
It’s almost definite that your agents know your business better than your customers. Make sure they are leveraging their internal knowledge to help guide people to the best solutions. Asking questions and explaining things in different words can really clear up customer confusion, as well as give them the vocabulary to say what they need to.
8. Your customer is angered by a recent customer service experience
BASIC SERVICE: Apologize, reiterate the company goals, and provide information for direct follow-up.
EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: : Send a freebie or complimentary offering as an apology and re-establish trust to the absolute best of your ability.
Angry customers can be scary, and if they’re on the phone or online, it can feel like there isn’t much you can do for them. Actions speak louder than words. Don’t ditch the words, but definitely try supplementing them with an action so customers trust that their happiness is your priority.
These are just a few ways that you can go about exceeding customer expectations. Not all of these will apply to your business, or maybe none of them do. Explore the possibilities. What can your company be doing to improve customer experiences?