Engaging with customers.

An important aspect of customer is engaging customers on a human level. Engaging customers doesn’t necessarily have to be about killing dead air time (like the previous post I wrote on the subject discusses), but it does have to involve paying attention to and caring about customers.

When customer service representatives are on the phone with customers, it isn’t uncommon for them to hear customers complimenting them and making small talk. Customers will add asides (“I’ve called so many times!”, “I talked to John before I spoke to you.”, “I can’t believe I didn’t see that!”) – sometimes because they’re trying to be nice, other times just because that is just their personality.

Regardless of the reason, customer service representatives should work to respond to those comments. It not only shows that they’re listening, but just as importantly, that they care. For example, a representative could use his or her personality (and customer service common sense) to respond to these in these ways:

1) I’ve called so many times. “I apologize about the inconvenience. I will be glad to help you get this issue sorted out now so you won’t have to call back another time.”
2) I talked to John before I spoke to you. “Okay. John sits just a few cubicles over from me. Was he able to assist you with what you needed?”
3) I can’t believe I didn’t see that! “It’s okay! People miss it all the time.”
4) I’m sorry, I’m just not very technical. “That’s fine. It’s absolutely no problem.”

The point of responding to asides like that is essentially to have something better than the “yep” or the grunt that most representatives will utter in response to comments like that from customers. A lot of customer service representatives just aren’t sure how to respond to customers who talk about anything outside of the actual issue.

My advice is to always respond and to always use some personality while doing so. It’ll make the customer service experience smoother and more personal. It’ll show that the people providing the service are just that – people. People with personalities. People with senses of humor. And, most importantly, people that like other people.

3 Responses to “Engaging with customers.”

  1. Susan V. said:

    Jul 15, 08 at 2:25 pm

    Empathy and advocacy are definitely at the top of the list when it comes to what customers want.

    In a recent study of consumers in North America (http://www.aspectindex.com/index_na/),those who had exceptional experiences perceived that agents were significantly more likely to understand their situation, had the authority to help them, and took responsibility for resolving their issues or provided pertinent information in a timely fashion.

    By using some personality, contact center agents can turn a hum drum experience into an exceptional experience. Most importantly, they can increase customer loyalty. According to the survey, a consumer who is satisfied overall is four times more likely to conduct future business with the company.

    Now that’s a big incentive to improve empathy and advocacy.

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Jul 16, 08 at 8:44 pm


    I agree with you completely – attitude can certainly big all the difference.

  3. Bookmarks about Important said:

    Jan 25, 09 at 3:45 am

    […] – bookmarked by 1 members originally found by RodolfosHotBallahr on 2009-01-02 Engaging with customers. http://www.serviceuntitled.com/engaging-with-customers/2008/07/07/ – bookmarked by 4 members […]