Through the years our group has done a lot of Customer Satisfaction Research for client companies in various industries and markets. Through this research we’ve identified which dimensions of service drive the satisfaction of our clients’ customers when they call. We’ve learned that courtesy and friendliness is a common driver of customer satisfaction and retention. You can deliver one-call resolution, but if you deliver it without good soft skills, you’re typically not going to drive satisfaction and loyalty or drive up your Net Promoter Score.
One of my professors in college constantly reminded us that "the difference between good and great is in the details". Here are five "details" – small courtesies – that can make all the difference in a customer’s mind:
- Friendly salutation – Customers don’t want to be greeted by robotic CSRs simply grunting out the name of the company and themselves. A friendly, conversational "Hi", "Hello", "Good morning", or "Good afternoon" can set a positive friendly tone from the start and differentiate you from the competition.
- "Please" – It’s amazing how often this word is missing in customer service. It’s especially important for setting a courteous tone when you’ve got to request several pieces of verification information at the beginning of the call.
- "Thank you" – Another one of those things mom taught us to always say, but often gets overlooked. "Thank you" for the opportunity to set things right. "Thank you" for being a customer. "Thank you" for my paycheck.
- "You’re welcome" – not "uh-huh", not "yep", not "sure", not "you bet" (or "you betcha" in Minnesota or Wisconsin), and not "no problem". "You’re welcome" rises to a level of professional courtesy that tells the customer that you’re a pro – as in "a-pro-priate".
- "Thank You for Holding" – Placing a customer on hold is a necessary evil in Customer Service – no one loves being placed on hold and subjected to 60 second music loops. Acknowledge this, by thanking the customer for his or her patience when you return to the line. We find that this courtesy is almost universally forgotten without constant reminders.
What did I forget? Any other courtesies you’d add to the list? Feel free to click "comment" at the bottom of the post and add your two cents.