There are enough stories of customer support failures out there to make you want to run and hide under a rock. That’s not what this article’s about, though – and it’s not what customer service is about. Companies that really understand exceptional customer service know that it’s more about building off of success than hurrying to put out fires. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding – for you and your customers. So how do you turn one success into something lasting? Let’s get started.
If you’ve just turned someone’s day around, there’s no way you could have done it without listening to their problems. Sure, you may have lucked into a solution, but now’s not the time to be satisfied: it’s time to ask more questions. How did the problem start? How did the customer try to resolve it – and what touchpoints did they interact through? Was their issue escalated effectively, or only after they became incredibly frustrated?
Armed with information about where and when your customer’s experience went awry will prepare you to fix problems like that in the future. Hopefully, you’ll be able to stop the frustration before it becomes a problem, and the next step towards that is to verify the scale of the issue by looking at your customer service data. Chances are, you’re not looking at a one-off incident, and that means you’ve found an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in your organization’s customer service systems.
Share the win with your team. Making a significant difference in someone’s day isn’t easy, but it sure is worth it when you see the results. So treat customer service wins like the motivator they are, and communicate the success to your team. That might mean e-mailing one CSR to tell them of an exceptionally good job they did. Maybe you start team meetings with the best examples of good customer service.
Regardless of how you communicate these successes to employees, make sure you do it regularly. That’s how you establish a positive feedback loop: one success makes everyone feel better, and it makes future wins all that more likely, which in turn makes everyone happier!
While you’re at it, don’t forget the motivating power of future opportunities for success. You might have failed to resolve a complaint to everyone’s satisfaction, but if you know how to improve it in the future, that’s the next best thing to a win. Whatever you do, keep negativity towards customers to a minimum. Whatever zany things they may demand or do, a little bit of empathy can go a long way towards a much more positive company culture and a much more successful customer service experience.
Now you have the information you need to resolve systemic customer support decisions, and you have a positive feedback loop in place so that wins make more wins. This step is the one that never stops: start improving. Use that data to engineer a system with fewer cracks for customers to slip through. Turn the stories of wins into motivation for your team, into the stuff your company culture gets built on, and into opportunities for really great marketing. Your customer service efforts can change the lives of a lot of customers, and it can be a really positive force for the whole company. Customer service success is an essential part of building a customer experience that is truly memorable, and at GoInstant, we believe that’s what sets the best companies apart from all the others.
Andrew is the editor of the GoInstant blog. He’s interested in the intersection of design, tech, and good old-fashioned customer service. You can find him on Twitter as @andrewkonoff.