The Shape of Exceptional Customer ServiceDecember 4, 2018 | Posted by Scott Stiver in Customer Service, Leadership Development
What is Exceptional Customer Service?
Our recent examination of the Verizon PR nightmare highlighted the importance and impact of the customer service function. There is nothing simple about human interaction, particularly when one of the humans is a customer with a need, problem or complaint. Yet, simplicity is precisely what is needed for the most productive customer service – simple, repeatable, flexible and effective communication processes that allow the customer service team to engage, understand and assist customers in realizing their goals – be that resolution to a problem or delivering products/services to meet a need. To clarify, a “repeatable” communication process is not a script that is repeated in every customer interaction; in fact, it is just the opposite. Effective customer service leverages a failsafe process for moving through the customer engagement in a way that ensures:
- A positive tone to the interaction
- Efficient diagnosis of the customer’s unique needs
- Defusing anger (if necessary)
- Effective solution delivery
- A positive conclusion to the interaction
Carew’s Excellence in Customer Service™ training utilizes the Service Excellence Diamond to reinforce the three essential elements of every customer service encounter: Positive Contact, Service Engagement and Positive Close.
Positive Contact consists of a brief, appropriate conversation with the customer to assess their demeanor and set a positive tone for the call. This part of the process addresses the attitude and energy that the customer service representative brings to the interaction, essentially setting the stage for a successful customer interaction. Elements of tonality, diction and inflection are all factors in setting the right “tone.”
Service Engagement is the heart of the customer interaction and focuses on two critical elements: diagnosing the customer’s need(s) and articulating/proposing an optimal solution. Throughout the service engagement process, it is important that customer service representatives keep the interaction conversational and utilize response checks to clarify the customer’s position and ensure the customer remains engaged and favorable to any proposed solution. Above all else, an effective customer service process provides for a positive customer experience in which the solution provides benefits in direct response to the customer’s objective.
The final step in the Service Excellence Diamond is Positive Close. In this stage of the customer interaction, the customer service representative confirms approval or commitment to the proposed solution, ensures there are no missed opportunities to exceed the customer’s expectations, and that the overall engagement ends on a positive note.
Overly complex or scripted customer service processes lack the flexibility and foundational skills that foster customer service excellence and effectiveness. The simplicity of the Service Excellence Diamond makes it easy to remember and implement, while ensuring no step or aspect of the customer service experience is overlooked. Defined processes within the Service Excellence Diamond promote competence, confidence and compliance among the customer service team.
Every customer problem/need and every customer interaction represents an opportunity…to strengthen the customer relationship. Armed with this perspective, and the processes and skills to understand and meet customer expectations with confidence, your customer service team will transition from beleaguered to empowered.
All content and training concepts are the intellectual property of Carew International, Inc., and any reference to these concepts must include a statement of express ownership by Carew International, Inc.