This is part number four of our series covering a conversation between Jenny Dempsey and Jeremy Watkin of Phone.com and CommunicateBetterBlog.com and myself. We met to discuss customer service and spent some time chatting about using excellent customer service and an excellent product to turn your current customers into your biggest fans. View the entire Google+ Hangout here.
Something that we care a lot about here is how to turn our good customers into fantastic customers?
Like, your biggest fans?
I think what we would define that as at Phone.com would be making our customer service experience awesome.
Ways we do that in customer service would be encouraging our reps to always build those personal-emotional connections with customers. We value the quality of the connection on each phone call more than the quantity of the calls that they take. So, that’s definitely emphasized more in everything that we talk about and then we back it up with things like thank you notes. We’ll send thank you notes after some calls – not all – it would be cool to get to a point where we’re making these connections and sending nice notes to customers after calls.
Jenny, what do you have?
Well, I guess the customer appreciation station is the coolest thing. Also, the bare bones of it – the background of it – staying consistent, even when the customer is trying to reach you on the phone or email, that they’re not waiting forever and that there’s ownership taken for their issue. If there is an actual problem or even if there’s not, you see it through to the end and you stay with them, like Jeremy said, we don’t have a time limit, so if it takes two hours, it takes two hours. You know, whatever it takes to get that taken care for the customer 0 that’s the best thing. Ownership, consistency, what else you got, Jeremy?
I was gonna say ownership – I think it’s so important. There’s a tendency in customer service to want to get off the call as quickly as you can and regardless if they call back, hope that someone else gets the call from that customer and you don’t have to deal with them.
It’s pretty human, I’ve been there, done that many times in my own life, but just the gesture saying “I’m really sorry about this issue and I’m here with you until we get this resolved.” Or even, I mean I hate to say it, but even if we can’t resolve it and we say “Well let’s help you find a solution that works better for you.” We’re man or woman-enough to say that.
And it goes back to the saying – we try not to say “no” to our customers, but we’ll think of other creative ways to help them out, like even if it’s not something I can personally do for the customer, but I can find someone who can and I’ll make sure that that’s taken care of and finding others ways to get things taken care of and just seeing it through, that’s obviously super-important.
Another one we kind of talked about earlier with the “awkwardness” is just like be real. Like, when they call in to support, the fact that they are talking to a real person who’s not using scripts that can kind of, you know, some customers tell jokes or whatever and it’s just a fun conversation, rather than them calling into another business and getting the runaround and professionalism and that blah, blah, blah. So, keeping it real and talking on a human-to-human level goes so far and that’s what helps you develop those relationships.
That’s one thing, talking with you guys – even over emails – I typically feel like I’m pretty real person, but talking to you guys, I feel like I’m a stiff, and feel like I’m trying to be too professional, so I think it’s awesome that you guys do that.
The other thing I would add is – which I’m just realizing more and more – is that customer service can’t do a whole lot if we don’t have a great product behind us that we are supporting. So the collaboration with our product development team is so important and the fact that they listen – that we have a way to communicate, you know, “these are the issues customers are experiencing; let’s improve this.” By us improving reliability and the quality of our product, showing customers that we can fix issues quickly, it definitely makes them trust us with their phone service.
You realize really quickly that customer service could be as awesome as we want as people, but if our product doesn’t work well then we’re kind of screwed.