2015 has barely begun, but already personalization has emerged as one of the hottest buzzwords in customer service this year. How can you take advantage of this trend and make your customer service more personal?
Of course, small businesses have always had an edge in that their smaller size inherently makes them more personal. But today, with huge companies using automation to personalize the customer service experience (how ironic, right?), your small business needs a combination of the human touch and automated systems to stay ahead of the pack.
Here are some suggestions for how customer service reps can personalize their interactions with customers:
- Human touch: Always find out and use the customer’s name, whether addressing him or her over the phone, in an online chat or by email. People love to hear their own names—it makes them feel “heard.”
- Automated system: Give customer service reps access to appropriate tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, so they can quickly review a customer’s history with your business. For example, being able to see order history and details of the most recent order placed enables ecommerce sales reps to dive right into solving problems (“I see that your order placed two weeks ago still hasn’t shipped. Let’s see how I can expedite that for you…”) without the customer having to provide a lengthy explanation.
- Human touch: Humanize reps by using their names in communications and conversations. Getting a response from Tracy.Wilson@yourcompany.com in response to an email complaint feels much more personal than getting an email from email@example.com. It also makes customers feel someone is taking ownership of their issue.
- Automated system: Have reps input details of their interactions into your customer service or CRM system. This enables new reps to pick up where the original rep left off if the customer is “handed off” or has to re-contact the company later on.
- Human touch: If possible, have the same rep deal with an issue from beginning to end. If not, humanize the handoff, too. Don’t just transfer the customer to another rep and hang up; instead, say something like “Mrs. Smith, I have Joe from Accounting on the line, and he is going to help you resolve this billing issue,” or CC the new rep on an email to the customer so that the two get introduced.
As you can see, a few simple steps can make the difference between treating customers like cogs and treating them personally.