Ride WAVES To Successful Customer Service Interactions
Success in customer service is not found merely in one great interaction with a customer. In our social media driven culture, we’re hungry for the next great viral customer service story from either Nordstrom or Zappos. While those companies have their share of WOW moments, the real secret to their success is that they’ve set a standard for the type of customer service they want to deliver and then they deliver it consistently.
At FCR, we recently developed WAVES, a job aid to help our colleagues understand the standard for each customer service interaction. Regardless of program, quality process, or the support channel you handle, WAVES ensures that our customer service is bodacious.
I want to walk you through the program at a very high level and share our spin on some of the typical elements that might appear on a contact center quality form.
The welcome portion of the customer interaction should be much like when we welcome a guest into our homes. It communicates to them that they are important and we are glad they are here.
Quality elements include: Correct, warm and professional greeting, use of the customer’s name naturally throughout the interaction, a closing that demonstrates gratefulness for their time and business, and a welcoming, positive tone of voice throughout the call.
Remember! Some customers may only call our company once. We are the face or voice of the company to them and very well may impact how they feel about the company moving forward.
The acknowledgement is all about making a human connection with the customer and communicating effectively with them to work together toward a resolution of the issue.
Quality elements include: Making a connection with the customer through the use of empathy, speaking or writing clearly and professionally in the voice prescribed by the client, ensuring we have a complete understanding of the problem, and taking complete ownership of that problem until it’s resolved.
Remember! In many cases, customers are contacting us with two problems. We must first connect on an emotional level to ensure trust and confidence are restored, and then work with them to resolve the actual issue.
The verification portion is about making sure we properly authenticate customers so we don’t jeopardize the security of the other customers and the company. Properly completing all documentation ensures that, should a customer needed to contact us again, they won’t need to rehash everything they did on the previous interaction.
Quality elements include: Properly authenticating or verifying each customer and completing the necessary documentation clearly and concisely.
Remember! How we speak about customers is as important as how we speak to them. Let’s aim to be clear, concise, and professional in our notes with the sole focus on communicating necessary information about that customer with our colleagues. This isn’t a forum for sharing our personal feelings or grievances about customers.
In the exploration phase of the interaction, we are working with the customer and troubleshooting until we arrive at a resolution.
Quality elements include: Maintaining focus on the ultimate goal of solving the issue, effectively using all available resources, properly placing the customer on hold as needed, and setting clear expectations throughout the interaction.
Remember! Meeting or exceeding customer expectations is a surefire way to delight customers. Setting an expectation that isn’t met can damage trust and sever the relationship between customer and company.
The resolution stage is all about the quality of the solution that was provided to the customer. A quality solution is correct, it addresses questions the customer may not have even known to ask, as well as the ones they did ask, and results in agreement with the customer that the problem is no longer a problem.
Quality elements include: Accuracy of the solution that was presented, the degree to which the entire problem was solved, agreement with the customer that the issue was solved to their satisfaction, and in the case that it couldn’t be solved, it was properly escalated to someone who could solve it.
Remember! We are experts at supporting our product or service. When answering questions the customer asked along with the ones didn’t know to ask, we potentially save them time and money by preventing them from having to call again in the future.
Head of Quality
Jeremy Watkin is the Head of Quality at FCR. He has more than 15 years of experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.