15 Dec 5 Keys to Magical Customer Service
Inarguably, the “magic” behind any magic show lies in the secret: the tricks-of-the-trade known only by the performer — the hidden ropes, props and trap doors behind the scenes. Luckily, we’re not so secretive with our industry knowledge — even if excellent customer service is pretty magical.
So pay close attention, because we’re about to divulge the five keys to providing magical customer service.
There’s a huge difference between “hearing” your customers and actively listening to them. Active listening involves paying close attention not only to what the customer is saying, but also seeking to understand the feelings behind their words.
Too often, a customer’s true intention or desire is hidden under a cloud of frustration. As a customer service representative, it’s your job to warm them up to the conversation and cut through any lingering frustration. A simple way of accomplishing this is to ask clarifying questions like: “What did you mean when you said…” or “Did I paraphrase what you said correctly?” Asking clarifying questions will ensure that you and the customer are on the same page while opening the door for a deeper dive into their problem.
By practicing active listening, you’re ensuring your customers feel heard, understood and, most importantly, well taken care of.
To act with empathy is to act with understanding and sensitivity toward the thoughts, feelings and experiences of another individual. So how does this apply to your customers?
Just like a magician has to imagine what the trick will look like from the audience’s perspective, you must imagine your interactions from the perspective of your customers. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine the frustration they felt before reaching you. This will give you a better understanding of how to approach their concerns.
Not only will empathy help de-escalate an issue, but it can also prevent an issue from escalating in the first place. Studies show that demonstrating empathy creates more of an enjoyable interaction for both agent and customer. This is a vital aspect of customer service, simply because customers are more receptive if they feel you understand them.
Use Positive Language
A magician can manipulate their audience using nothing more than words. Even though we don’t want to manipulate our customers, the power of positive language is definitely a valuable trick when providing outstanding service. As a customer service representative, you want to guide the customer through the conversation.
Just as harsh and insensitive language can escalate an issue, using positive language or scripting can take away the stress of a situation. Using future tense has also been associated with positivity because we can direct a customer’s attention away from past issues and toward a future resolution.
Know Your Stuff
Okay so let’s get real, you can actively listen, show empathy and use positive language all you want, but if you don’t have a deep understanding of your products and services, you’re not going to be of much help to customers. But with a deep understanding and informed product knowledge, you can offer customers insider tips and tricks that’ll leave them happy and grateful for your help.
Analyze Customer Feedback
There is no magical spell for reading minds, but customer feedback may be the next best thing. It allows you to experience the interaction from the viewpoint of your audience. Many associate feedback with aggression and criticism. Understandably, the initial response may be defensive, but changing the way you view it can unlock your service potential.
Let’s say a customer tells you that the time it took someone to answer the phone is unbearable. Initially, this response seems negative, but change your perspective on how this feedback can grow your business. This feedback prompted you to look into the speed-to-answer times and create ways your business can improve those stats.
By using the five keys to customer service (listen actively, show empathy, know the product/service and analyze customer feedback), your business will create a positive customer experience and increase brand loyalty.