Many successes in life have been and continue to be built from the best advice mom gave us. For example, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson says the best advice he ever received was from his mom, Eve, who told him to never look back, than any setback was just a learning curve toward the next best thing. In his blog, Branson notes that he still uses his mom’s advice to shape his life and business decisions. (Read Richard Branson: 5 Lessons from My Mum.)
Branson certainly isn’t the only one to give his mom credit for shaping business best practices. Extreme Networks CMO Vala Afshar shared three keys to social media success stemming from mom’s best advice in a Huffington Post blog: Listen carefully; share with friends, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Vala’s mom’s right on the money.
So when we think about all the things that go into customer service and engagement, much of mom’s best advice once again applies. Here are 10 things mom can teach us about delivering exceptional customer care:
1. “Always do your best.” When anyone in a brand or organization engages with a customer, at that moment, they represent the brand in the customer’s eyes. Make sure you do your best every time.
2. “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” Use empathy, everyday language instead of technical jargon and an authentic tone when communicating. Customers easily pick up on whether a brand representative is carrying on a conversation with them or just reading their lines.
3. “Make everyone feel important.” As many brands and organizations have learned the hard way, any customer (no matter how much or little social or monetary clout they carry), can have a huge impact on a brand if they’re not feeling valued. In 2013, a British Airways customer who was upset because the airline had lost his luggage bought a promoted tweet to make sure his voice was heard. To make matters worse, the airline did not respond to the tweet for nearly 10 hours. Make every customer feel important (and always be listening to them on social media).
4. “Always finish what you start.” A top frustration of customers is being passed from agent to agent without resolution. In fact, according to a Dimension Data Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report, first contact resolution rates have been on a steady decrease since 2009. If you can assist the customer without having to pass them to another agent, satisfaction is sure to rise.
5. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” According to the most recent Customer Rage Study conducted by CCMC in collaboration with the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Center for Service Leadership, 94 percent of those surveyed said they wanted to be treated with dignity but only 35% had received that treatment.
6. “Be kinder than necessary. You never know what someone else is going through.” People skills coach Kate Nasser notes in her blog Customer Service: Does Our Experience Dull Our Sense of Empathy?, says that the best agents and reps overcome the dulling effects of experience and pressure by being keenly aware of how they feel outside of work when they are customers, and “embracing the true role of service and support — to make life easier for the customer and/or get them productive again.”
7. “A little knowledge goes a long way.” When employees and agents have easy access to consistent knowledge in one location, it can easily be delivered to all customers across every major service channel and even help train new agents.
8. “Never do anything you wouldn’t want to see printed on the front page of the newspaper.” Recent media stories around Comcast customer service interactions are great example of this quote.
9. “Please and thank you are the magic words.” According to the Customer Rage Study referenced above, 80% of customers said they wanted to be thanked for their business when they request assistance from a brand, but only 33% received those words of appreciation. Small words of thanks can have a big impact.
And number ten is my favorite, because it’s always easy to talk the talk, but it takes a lot of commitment and passion to walk the walk:
10. “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
Thanks to all those who are striving to deliver exceptional customer service, and for all the good advice and all you do for others, Thanks Mom.
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