Listening is a serious social skill. A skilled listener not only picks up on the information presented, but can also glean more information from tones, gestures, and what's left unsaid. The failure of many companies to capture customers and retain them can be traced back to the fact that they did not make the effort to listen.
If you have a good product, customers will tell you what never to change. If you have a mediocre product, customers will tell you how to fix it. If you launch a product that fails, people can tell you why.
Investigation is the key to elevating service standards. It is entirely possible to solve a customer's problem without an ounce of investigation, but you will never delight them without it.
Investigative customer service takes the time to consider each problem, all its possible root causes and seeks to delight the other person.
Excellent service is active and a good agent seeks to engage the customer. Too much of the industry is focused on passive engagement, but this means that most companies are missing out on a ton of information. Only about 4% of dissatisfied customers contact the offending company.
Active engagement will lead to more data, better services, and better products.
Generosity is a kingly virtue as it lends dignity to the giver and the receiver. It is often sought after, but rarely seen. It is often confused with weakness or passiveness, but actually comes from a position of strength. Those who know how and when to wield it have a powerful tool capable of disarming the most hostile of clients.
Politeness, especially in the digital world, is becoming more elusive. With the decreased sense of occasion in life comes confusion about how we should conduct ourselves in certain situations. When I train others, I stress the point that we are always to maintain a tone that is appropriate to service. We want customers to feel comfortable. We want them to feel like they can truly say what is on their minds.
We also want them to know that we are professionals who enjoy our jobs and take them seriously.
Time is of the essence and we are in the business of saving time for everyone. This is accomplished by doing our jobs in the most efficient manner possible, reducing back-and-forth, and reaching resolutions that delight the customer and help the bottom-line.
Problems need to be fixed for both the benefits of future customers and company well-being. There's only so much even the most talented agents can do if the root problem remains broken. If there's a policy problem - fix it. If there's a technical problem - fix it. If there's a logistics problem - fix it. One of my favorite pieces of feedback to give from our customers is this - fix it.