Let’s take a simple example that everyone is familiar with – Email. Email is a fact of life now and many organizations have switched to email as the only way in which they provide support to their customers. However humans are social animals and we are built to make judgments based on visual clues – this is called Body Language – and when these clues are removed from a conversation, the most innocuous and innocent topic can quickly escalate out of control.
With email, it’s impossible to understand body language, so what can you do to ensure you are getting your point across? How can you improve customer experience when you do not get a chance to meet your customers? Some things that you can do to improve this though are as follows:
If your company uses templates or something similar to respond to customers, take the opportunity of personalizing them. It is not just a matter of adding a name to the top of the email, but rather sprinkle their name throughout the discourse you are having with them. Think about it as if you were having a normal, face-to-face conversation with that person.
Add a bit of personalized text to your email and you can make the customer feel that you care about him; his needs and that you are there for him. Everyone in this world wants to feel special, keep that in mind when writing emails.
If a customer tells you about something in the body of their email, make sure you have actually read it and understand what he is saying. For example, if you are informed that the reason the internet is so important is due to a disability, you can use the words “sorry” in the body of your response without it being offensive.
A few words showing empathy and well wishes do not take long for you to type but might make all the difference – keep in mind, if they are contacting your support department, it is because a service they are paying for is not working to their expectations and at this point, customer service is where you need to put your focus. The golden rule definitely applies here and you should treat them the way you would like to be treated in similar circumstances.
It’s important with customer experience to focus on removing roadblocks. The more barriers there are, the more difficult your customers will find it to work with you.
What is your customer actually telling you? Does he sound happy/sad/angry? Is this his first email about this issue or has he sent many others? How many emails has he sent to your company on other similar issues? Here’s where a decent CRM comes into play as the more information you have about a customer the better.
All of these are clues to help you in determining the type of response you should send to your customer. While you might be restricted in the message due to the circumstances and the response you can give, HOW you tell the customer something is completely different WHAT you tell the customer.
An old, old acronym is KISS – Keep It Simple (Stupid) – and this definitely applies here. Remember who your target is and what their skills are. If you are supporting a technical product, it should be fairly obvious that your skills in this area are going to be higher than someone not working in that field and without access to your tools and resources. There are a lot people with no or very little experience with computers. They may not use computer daily, are elderly, technophobic… when a person like this contacts us, they might have already exhausted everything they were able to do and are already feeling frustrated with the lack of a resolution.
Your response to this person should be aimed at not only resolving their reported issue (in a KISS way!!), but based on your experience what their NEXT question would be also. In addition, you should take this as an opportunity to educate your customer also on where they can find this information in the future. You will not stop receiving emails from everyone by doing this, but gradually education is the best tool to ensure that your issues are resolved.
A fairly famous film that you will have probably heard of is The Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In that film, machines have taken over the Earth and are currently at war with Humanity. This is NOT the case here.
While AI implementations are increasing around the world, you are dealing with real people and NOT machines so the way in which you speak to them should be appropriate to that.