If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!
Archives for February 2013
I ran into a problem Saturday with one of my apps and emailed the support team for help. After sending my email, I immediately got a confirmation email back, which is a good thing. Being the support geek that I am, I take the time to read through them to see what kind of language the other team’s using. And this time, I came across a true gem.
If this is an emergency and needs an urgent reply, email us at email@example.com.
Kind of a cool idea, right? It helps prioritize which emails to be working on. My only hesitation would be in how many customers use it for non-urgent replies thinking they can just skip ahead of the line. I’ve emailed the team to see if they can share some info so hopefully I’ll be able to find out!
Have you seen a urgent reply email address like this in the wild? Good idea or bad?
Most customer service blog posts that begin like this one, predictably end with the server delivering service heroics by letting nothing come between the guest and his requested entrée—regardless of whether or not it’s offered on the menu or the required ingredients are on hand in the kitchen.
But on this particular evening, Phil, our server, chose to be completely authentic, saying, “If it were any other night (besides Saturday), I would ask the kitchen (to prepare an order of cheese quesadillas) but I can see all the orders lined up from here and I know they would hate me.”
I love this story. It shows that there are times when putting the community above the customer is okay. If that customer wants this very specific feature in your app that only they would use, it’s okay to say no. Say it politely of course, but you can still say no.
Chase Livingston is back for this episode. We’re trying something a little different with this episode. From phone support to Twitter hacks, we look at different articles and news from the customer support world. It’s a different kind of episode but I think you’ll like it. So hit that play button already!
Listen to the show
I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.
Every week, there’s some great articles out there on customer support and the overall customer experience. Most of us working on support teams tend to be busy helping customers so we don’t have a chance to go scouring the web for them. So we round them all up for your reading pleasure here.
If you’ve got any articles or links that we’ve missed, make sure to let us know in the comments.
Now grab that cup of coffee and dig in!
I had this conversation with a customer today that made me chuckle at myself.
Me: Where are you logging in at? I’ll take a look and see what’s going on.
Customer: My desktop computer.
A rookie mistake on my part. I should have been more clear in what I was asking. It’s a good reminder to make every email as clear as possible.
What I tell my law clerks is that we write these so that they are accessible to regular people. That doesn’t mean that there’s no law in it. But there are simple ways to put important things in language that’s accessible. As I say to them, the beauty, the genius is not to write a 5 cent idea in a ten dollar sentence. It’s to put a ten dollar idea in a 5 cent sentence.
That’s beauty. That’s editing. That’s writing.
We talked about editing with Jason on the last podcast but here’s another good reminder about the importance of it. This goes beyond your emails too. Think about your help pages. How complex are they when showing customers how to do things? Could your brother that’s never used the app before understand them? What about your mom?
Edit and revise. Edit and revise. Always be looking for ways to explain things better to your customers. Pack that sentence with dollars worth of information rather than cents.
I was talking with a friend about some of the big phrases to avoid when talking with customers. I’ve talked about mine before but wanted to include their big three never, ever, ever say these things to a customer. At least a customer that you want to stick around for a while.
“There’s nothing I can do.”
There’s always something. Even if it means helping your customer find another app that will help them do what they’re looking to do. By doing nothing, you’re just becoming the problem rather than helping to solve the problem.
“That’s just how our policy works.”
What you’re really saying is that you don’t care. Using this phrase permanently shuts down the conversation between you and the customer. When you say that, the customer just hears “I don’t care – deal with it.”
“I don’t know.”
Just because you don’t know doesn’t mean you can’t find out. You’re job is to help the customer. If that means you’ve got to do some digging to find out an answer, do it.
Remember, it’s always you and the customer versus the problem. Avoid these phrases like the plague if you want to keep it that way.
Do you have any other phrases you would add to these?
That’s what most experts really want: shortcuts to communicating. Jargon may seem like a shortcut, but when you’re conversing with someone outside of your area of specialized knowledge, jargon actually slows communication.
I could share more of my thoughts but Randy expresses them so well. Head over there right now and read this post.