Want to know the secret to great customer service? Communication. Yup, it’s that simple. As customers, when we have a problem with a product or service, the last thing we want to do is to repeat ourselves again and again and again.
Real World Story:
My mother lost her credit card. I, therefore, needed to notify her bank and file a report. I had my mother sit next to me should I be asked for her permission to speak on her behalf.
I dialed the bank’s phone number and was greeted by an automated attendant. I was asked to enter my account number, which I did. Then I had to enter a series of other numbers—until I was disconnected. Ugh. I repeated the process two more times until I finally got a human on the other end of the line. But she had a heavy accent and was not easy to understand. Her voice was monotone and void of all feeling and personality. I explained about my mother’s lost credit card, and she asked me for the account number. What? Okay. I had already entered it three times, so I thought the request was odd. After a few minutes of verifying the account, she said I needed to be transferred to another person. Unfortunately for me, this next person had an even stronger accent, thus even more difficult to understand. She, too, asked for the account number. So I provided the information for the fifth time, but I was growing more and more frustrated with every request. At the end of the conversation, she asked, “What’s the mailing address?” That was it. I lost it! I asked, “All of this information is on her account. Why do you keep asking me to repeat information that is right in front of you?” She replied in a non-feeling manner, “We need to verify the information on the account. That’s why we keep asking.” Okay, then why not explain that.
Strategies that Turn it Around:
- Know your customer screening process. Does your company require customers to enter account information during an automated intake process? If so, know this and be able to use that already supplied information. If not possible, then remove the request from the automation process.
- Explain the verification process to your customer. If you need to verify the caller/customer and must ask for personal information, explain to customers why you are asking. “I already have your account information up on my screen, but for verification purposes, may I please trouble you for that number.” Or, “To ensure we are mailing your replacement card to the correct location, may I please verify your home address?”
- Explain why you must transfer a caller. If you must transfer someone to someone else, explain WHY you are doing it and to whom they will be transferred. “I’m sorry, but based on your situation, I will need to transfer you to our fraud department. I’ll be transferring to you to Amanda, who is located in our Seattle office where our Fraud Department is based. In case we get disconnected, her direct number is xyz.”
Remember: Communication is the key to any relationship—and it’s no different in customer service. When needing to verify customers/callers, communicate why you need information and why you keep asking for it before you ask again.
What do YOU do to create an EASY experience for your customers? Please send me an email with your fabulous ideas.