The recipe for remarkable and effective customer service is simple: The customer always comes first. But turning frowns upside down is just one half of the equation... Of equal importance is the happiness of your customer support staff. As a Senior Customer Hero at SpotHero, I’ve seen the benefits of this first-hand. Not only are we passionate about delighting our customers, we’re also dedicated to creating an environment that is positive, nurturing, and fulfilling for our staff as well.
Here are four tips on how to provide amazing customer service by maintaining happiness on both sides of the telephone.
1) Side with your customers (and each other).
When I have to make a customer service call to the internet provider or cellphone company du jour, I stand in front of the mirror and apply my war paint. As a customer, I expect a fight and robotic, empty apologies. I expect to be told that nothing can be done, until I insist that yes, something must be done.
When someone calls SpotHero ready to go to battle, I feel sad when I hear that forced bravado in the voice. We shouldn’t have to *expect* a fight in order to be treated with decency. I love the moment when surprise sets in and they realize that they don’t have to fight with us: we’re all on the same team.
We’ve been able to achieve this by making SpotHero a drama-free zone. It starts simply: do not talk negatively about each other or your customers. If you need a breather, walk it off, make a cup of tea, or lie face-down in a bean bag chair. We do this knowing our teammates have our backs — and that negativity only breeds more negativity.
2) Empower your support staff.
When I started at SpotHero and asked how I should answer calls, I was encouraged to “Listen, do your utmost to help, and let your personality shine through.” If you call us, you’ll see what I mean. We’re as real as it gets.
So rather than laying on the scripts and strict call guidelines, let intuition, empathy, and good judgment take the lead. You’ve hired all these brilliant team members — why reduce them to robotic automatrons? Embrace your support staff’s individuality and give them the tools to do as much as they can for the customer on their own. Just like negativity feeds on itself, positivity gives way to more positivity. An empowered staff will ultimately lead to happy customers.
3) Go above and beyond.
We aim to go above-and-beyond to make the customer happy in every single interaction, whether it be a refund, extra credit towards their next reservation, or a gift card towards their next cup of coffee.
Imbue your staff with a sense of duty to advocate for the customer on all levels. Encourage them to constantly look for opportunities to go that one step further. As a customer, it’s a refreshing surprise when a support person does more than what’s needed, especially in a climate when expectations already run so low. Stand out by exceeding people’s expectations.
4) Be a part of the bigger picture.
Our support team is located in SpotHero headquarters, which means that we’re not a siloed call center. We chat with the sales team over a cup of coffee in the kitchen, spend lunch breaks with the tech team, and bounce our ideas off the marketing team. The atmosphere is both relaxed and energized, the perfect environment to foster creativity and collaboration.
Your support team should have a voice and an identity, and also feel its place within the bigger picture. Strive to create an environment that encourages communication and realize the importance of fostering good relationships. Ensure your team members take breaks and eat lunch with the rest of the company. It’s a small effort, but makes all the difference in building those connections.
At the end of the day, when we’re happy, so are our customers. We’re happiest when we feel connected, inspired, a part of something bigger, and empowered to spread the love. We’re driven and passionate in what we do because we also understand the importance of enjoying the ride.
Give it a try. Your customers will thank you for it.