A Happy Customer Is a Loyal Customer: 8 Ways to Make Them Smile

A great customer care professional can make an experience exceptional — and even turn a negative sentiment around. Here’s how to make your customers happy.

The digitally minded, always-connected consumer has made it clear: They need a positive experience when interacting with brands. Often, experience even trumps the product itself. They won’t just buckle down and suffer through another frustrating journey to purchase. They want to do business with brands that leave them happy and satisfied, with a smile on their faces.

That’s where customer care professionals (CCPs) step in. A great CCP can make an experience exceptional every time (and even cause negative sentiment to do a 180). Read on for eight tips you can share with your customer service teams and your own CCPs that will turn customer service frowns upside down.

1. Start with introductions. Consumers want to know with whom they’re speaking. Offer your first name, ask them how their day’s going, and don’t skip over the pleasantries. Your first impression sets the tone for the duration of the conversation. Using the customer’s name throughout will also make the experience seem more personal.

2. Get to the point quickly. When consumers need support they don’t want to chitchat. They want a timely and effective resolution. LivePerson research found that 82% of consumers believe getting their issue resolved quickly is the most important factor in a great customer service experience. Be friendly and polite without wasting their time.

3. Listen carefully. Make sure you get the full story up front by asking relevant questions and paying attention to the details. Not all customers are able to articulate their issues well, so a good CCP will put on his or her investigator hat to understand what they need. To make someone feel heard, repeat (or retype) what they’ve said back to them. This trick shows you’re really listening.

4. Demonstrate your expertise. Consumers want to know they’re in the hands of a professional. Use proper grammar and spelling, positive language, and thoughtful sentences to build credibility. You need to be able to read between the lines, anticipate questions, share relevant resources, and resolve issues as thoroughly as possible. And the occasional emoji never hurts.

5. Connect through mobile messaging. Mobile messaging apps are bigger than ever. In fact, the user base of the top four messaging apps is bigger than that of the top four social networks. You need to consider how to translate the messaging experience customers have with their friends and family into how they connect with your business. The brands that utilize messaging to reach consumers when and where it’s convenient for them will stand out in a crowd.

>> Related read: How Mobile Killed Omni…and Why We Love It

6. Stay in-channel. Mobile, desktop, social, apps, websites — there are so many places the customer journey can take place today. Consumers want a seamless experience in their #1 channel of choice — that’s mobile — not a disjointed one that requires they jump from their smartphone to desktop and back into an app. On the flip side, if the customer needs to put down his or her mobile device to continue from a computer, the conversation should carry over without disruption.

7. Be able to multitask. To address issues efficiently and assist the most people possible, CCPs must be multitasking pros! Successful brands will train CCPs to conduct multiple conversations with several customers at the same time. You’ll also need to know how to navigate CRM, product manuals, knowledge bases, company websites, etc. to provide thorough support.

8. Above all, be human. Eighty-three percent of US consumers prefer chatting with a human through digital channels to resolve customer services issues. Make sure you don’t sound like a robot! Chatbots may be on the rise, but they’ll never replace the power of the human touch. Humans can convey emotions, patience, understanding, and empathy in ways a chatbot never could. That alone can reassure consumers they’re in the hands of a calm and caring human being who takes their concerns to heart.

>> Related read: Lasting Digital Transformation Is Tech-Powered but Human-Led

They say smile, and the world smiles with you. A customer will often reflect a CCP’s friendly and measured tone and exit the conversation with a more positive outlook. Add these eight tips to your approach, and you’ll be on your way to creating a happy and loyal customer for the long run.

For more, check out my dos and don’ts for customer care professionals. Did I miss anything? Please share your tips in the comments below!

Article by Barry Lamm. Originally published on the Connected Customer blog.

Never miss a post. Subscribe here.