Focusing on each customer individually instead of rushing to get things done can help create a long-term relationship of trust.
Whether you’re new to customer support or a seasoned pro, there is value in learning from those who have studied it longer and developed a true understanding of the absolute best customer service practices.
As Mario Matulich, executive director of Customer Management Practice, explained when opening Customer Contact Week this year: “Great customer service is no longer a differentiator. It’s expected.”
Considering how important customer service is to any product or service, we’ve compiled some recent customer service knowledge shared by the top names in the industry.
These are great quotes from customer support experts to send around to your team or discuss in one of your support team meetings. Got your coffee/tea/water mug filled and ready to go?
1. Shep Hyken,
Customer service and experience expert and award-winning speaker, on treating every customer equally regardless of how much they’ve spent:
“The way a customer is treated should have nothing to do with how much they spend or how often they buy. All customers should be all be treated with dignity, respect and the attention any human deserves. They should all be treated in a way that is consistent with your brand promise and the reputation you wish to be known for.”
“Now, when it comes to the perks you might offer a loyal customer, you can differentiate. That’s different than the way you treat them.”
“But, isn’t it human nature to treat the regular and more profitable customers a little better? If that is what you believe, there is a solution. If you haven’t already done so, create a minimal standard of customer service. This standard should be so good as to garner high praises regardless of how much – or how little – the customer spends. It’s that simple.”
The customer is not your therapist. It doesn’t matter how bad your day is, don’t burden him or her with your problems. Your job is to take care of the customer, regardless of how you feel.
— Shep Hyken (@Hyken) July 20, 2018
2. Mathew Patterson,
Help Scout’s expert explains how to calculate customer service ROI:
“Customer support is so much more than robotically answering direct questions from customers. Getting the most value from investing in customer service means using the support team as an incredible source of information on customers.
Hey customer service professionals: If your support queue was alive, what would it be like? A bouncing puppy demanding attention? An octopus throwing multiple baseballs? Tell me here: https://t.co/BQ9bDxWlUB #CustServ pic.twitter.com/mOwMpGcmfU
— Mathew Patterson (@mrpatto) July 6, 2018
“Every customer interaction is an opportunity to learn something about your customers — how they think about your products, what language they use, what they think of your competition, how they find you, and so much more.
“If your team has the skills, the systems, and the internal support to collect and collate that information, they will be a continual source of feedback to the rest of the company.”
3. Andrew Spittle,
Head of Support at Automattic, on customer support being the human face of an organization:
“In support you are the human connection to a company and its product. For many customers the support team is the company. You may be the only employee a customer really knows. And you may be the only employees who really know your customers. Your relationships with customers provide an opportunity to influence your company at a very foundational level.”
If you’re interested in what I’m reading and listening to these days check out https://t.co/e2lEcbavrq. I’ll be far more active there than I’ve been (or plan to be) on Twitter.
— Andrew Spittle (@andrewspittle) April 18, 2018
4. Heidi Craun,
Founder of Insightful Delight and Intermitten, a unique tech conference centered around creativity, community and diversity, on why tracking the number of support tickets a team member does is not a good way to track success:
“If you measure your team members’ success by the number of support tickets they solve each day, then you incentivize them to solve tickets quickly and at the expense of thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and care. Granted, part of what makes up good service is fast responses to customer concerns.”
“However, fast answers that aren’t the correct answer, don’t illustrate that you heard the customer, or don’t foster a healthy relationship by showing that you’re willing to invest time and care in serving the customer will all backfire on building customer loyalty and satisfaction.”
I recently wrote about my journey from trying to avoid a #startup job to taking on a full time role evangelizing the #Midwest startup ecosystem at @hydeparkangels, the most active investor in the Midwest. It’s an unplanned dream come true: https://t.co/oEnGRzJDGa
— Heidi Craun (@HeidiCraun) June 2, 2018
5. Jeanne Bliss,
Founder CustomerBliss and co-Founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association, in The Secret to Attracting and Keeping Valued Customers:
“As we become increasingly self-sufficient in almost every part of our lives as customers, it becomes even more urgent that, when someone connects with the humans of your company–that the contact is meaningful.”
“The authenticity of those connections, people’s ability to really help, and the frontline’s respect for the customer, because they themselves are respected–are more critical than ever now. ‘Doing’ human interactions well in an increasing self-service world will set you apart.”
— Jeanne Bliss (@JeanneBliss) July 16, 2018
6. Blake Morgan,
“Many companies are focused on getting as much work done as possible. There has been a big push lately towards operational efficiencies and finding ways to streamline processes. It sounds great until you realize that operational efficiency is the exact opposite of a quality customer experience.
“By trying to get through as many customers as you can and increasing the volume, you sacrifice personalized customer support. Instead of feeling like an actual human who can trust a company to solve their problems and meet their needs, a customer feels like just a number being pushed down the assembly line of customer care.”
“Trust is the cornerstone to all customer experiences. It can’t be built in a day, but it can be destroyed quickly. Focusing on each customer individually instead of rushing to get things done can help create a long-term relationship of trust.”
“Every #leader today needs to leverage #technology to make their customer’s life easier and better.”
Learn from the top #business leaders how to use #AI for #CustomerExperience and more – sign up for my newsletter.
— Blake Morgan (@BlakeMichelleM) July 18, 2018
7. Camille Acey,
Vice President of Customer Success at Clubhouse Software, at Paymentsfn 2018:
“Regardless of how chaotic or seemingly in flux the company is, the role of success and support is to make the company and product look pulled together and sleek.”
“We want our customers not only to choose us but to feel encouraged by their choice, both in the product they receive and also in the ways they interact with our company. As such, no matter how the product may we change we need the user experience to feel consistent from initial marketing touch straight through to payment.”
8. Annette Franz,
CEO of CXJourney and host of #CXChat on Twitter, on the importance of focusing on employee experience to improve customer experience:
“While customer experience strategies must include a priority focus on the employee experience (i.e., they are first!), they often don’t. Many companies actually believe that they can improve the customer experience without improving the employee experience.”
“If you want to move beyond cosmetic changes and lip service to real changes in the customer experience, you must first look at the employee experience. In order to improve both, you must first look to company culture and leadership.”
— Annette Franz, CCXP (@annettefranz) June 20, 2018
9. Allison Pickens,
Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight, on modern customer expectations and adding a CCO to your C-Suite:
“Consumers expect hyper-personalized communication, and timely and relevant engagements. Google tells us how long our drive to work will be.”
“We shop our favorite stores online, and we’re delighted to see items we previously browsed, we drive by a new restaurant, and we’re invited to come inside with an appealing offer. We rely on our smartphones to interact with brands in a never-before-seen level of engagement, sharing our data with companies we trust, from exercise routines and project workflows to music preferences and contracts.”
“On the B2B front, customer expectations have risen dramatically. People want to do business with companies that not only provide incredible ROI, but also offer a flawless experience. (This is not a nicety; it’s a must).”
— Allison Pickens (@PickensAllison) June 6, 2018
10. Kate Leggett,
Forrester Analyst shares her top customer service trends for 2018, including the need for highly-skilled agents and being more human in our support interactions:
“Customer service operations must look to become more human. With customers increasingly using self-service, there are fewer opportunities for engagement with agents who can lend a human touch. All easy interactions will be handled via automation and AI.”
“Agent interactions will be reserved for escalations for more complex issues that require diagnosis and empathy. This means that customer service organizations will no longer need Tier 1 agents, and must become high-touch centers that handle critical customer interactions. These organizations will focus on the quality of interactions as measured by customer retention and lifetime value.”
“Agents will need to be more highly skilled and better compensated. Old management principles that focused on efficiency must be relaxed. Ultimately, technologies such as quality monitoring should be replaced by customer feedback.”
11. Micah Solomon
Customer service consultant reminds us of the power of words and the importance of using them well:
“Build your correspondent up, don’t break them down. Written language is a powerful tool, and word choice can make a customer feel better, or worse, about themselves and about the service you’re providing them and are promising to provide in the future.”
— Micah Solomon (@micahsolomon) July 21, 2018
Remember Shep Hyken’s wise words: “If any company wants to be successful, the CX it delivers must be in line with the customers’ expectations. And, those expectations are defined by the best Customer Service the customer has ever received.”
Looking for more ideas from the people who know customer service best? Don’t miss 50 Customer Service Experts You Should Be Following for a great collection of the top people in customer service.
About the author Sarah is a freelance writer specializing in technology and customer support for Supported Content, and former Happiness Engineer at Automattic. When she’s not renovating her house in Dallas, you’ll find her baking in her (new) kitchen or reading romance novels. Find her on Instagram: @sarahblackstock.