No matter how great your customer service, conversations can become painful when trying to solve highly technical issues. Worse, many customers complain about getting “canned” answers or scripted responses that make them feel helpless about their situation.

We’ve written many words about the importance of sounding human and taking a personal approach to customer service, but as the saying goes an example is better than precept.

Recently, a customer contacted Netflix over live chat to complain about an odd error on one of their videos. Instead of responding with the scripted answers, the creative Netflix customer service agent (“Cpt. Mike of the good ship Netflix”) turned what would have been a boring conversation into a highly entertaining experience:

This is a snippet of the conversation between “Captain Mike” and “Lt. Norm”. For the full text scroll to the end of the article.

So, what customer service and live chat tips can we learn from Netflix and “Cpt. Mike”?

Empower your team

If “Cpt. Mike” had been forced to stick with a script when responding to “Lt. Norm”, we probably would never have heard of this humorous exchange. By empowering their team, Netflix has ensured that their customer service agents will have the autonomy to provide delightful support.

How do you do this? Simple! Remind your employees that they represent a company who loves their customers – and as such, they should love them, too.

Understand your customer

Although this experience turned out to be hilarious, with the customer participating actively as “Lt. Norm”, it could have turned out very badly if the customer was in a rush or didn’t understand the Star Trek reference.

So, it is very important that the customer service agent learn to gauge the temperament of the customer and act accordingly.

Since “Cpt. Mike” was using live chat he was able to see immediately whether his customer was a fan of Star Trek or not. Over the phone, the humor of the situation may have been lost as the customer may have become confused.

Provide a solution

Most importantly, a customer comes to a help line because they have a problem. While it’s great that “Cpt. Mike” provided some comedy value, what’s more important is that he managed to quickly diagnose and solve the problem. It’s fine to have a bit of fun, but at the end of the day you must be able to provide your customer with a useful answer.

Share your conversation

Although customer service calls do get shared on YouTube, they rarely become as viral as “Cpt. Mike”. Part of the reason is because it is much harder to listen to a 5 minute audio recording, than read a few lines of text. Live chat lets you save and share the transcript of your chat. This is useful if you need to refer to a particular support request or if you just want to share for laughs.

Nothing beats providing a great customer experience, but imagine the free publicity Netflix gained because “Lt. Norm” enjoyed his conversation so much he decided to share his transcript.

This conversation is a great example of customer service done right. Michael you are a hero!

Do you remember a situation where your customer was wowed by the customer experience that they had? Please do share them in the comments below.

Full transcript of the conversation between “Cpt. Mike” and “Lt. Norm”: