Psychology and Customer Service

I have been reading a book about various psychology studies and kept thinking about how a couple of the studies could be related to customer service. It didn’t take long for me to think of two studies that were relevant to customer service and they both were about the importance of giving people control of their lives and their surroundings. While the studies obviously had a different purpose and relating them to service might be a little bit of a stretch, I do feel strongly that these studies about control can apply to customer service.

The main finding of the experiment was that giving people the ability to make choices tend to make them happier. I figured this could be applied to customer service in quite a few ways.

Give customers choices when it comes to customer service.
The basic idea is not to force customers to do any one thing a specific way. Instead of making them fill out a form, let them call in to order or to upgrade their service. Instead of requiring an email address to look up their account, ask if they would prefer if you looked up their account using their phone number. The changes and choices only have to be minor (that is usually all it takes), but there do have to be choices. Within an average customer service organization, there are plenty of opportunities to offer choices to customers – it is just a matter of thinking about them.

Make the choices customer-centric.
All of the choices should be designed to make the customer service experience as smooth as possible. You don’t want to add choices just for the sake of choices, but you do want to add choices that let customers make their experience as smooth and convenient as possible for them. Keep in mind what is easier for one customer might not be easier for another, which is why giving customers choices is so important.

The important thing to remember is that customers like having options and that giving them options can make them happier (especially if they are good options).