Editors note: In the month of March the Desk.com Blog will feature articles from a variety of experts and authors to help you and your team be more successful in delivering the next level experience to your customers. From ways to hire and train to methods to get your staff motivated to customer development and building a successful organization, we will share ways you can strengthen your customer support team, be even more effective and show greater results. To kick things off we start today with Dan Stern, VP of Customer WOW sharing the 13 Principles of Customer WOW and what they mean to us.
All great businesses WOW their customers, right? We call this concept “Customer WOW” and it is more than just providing customer service and support, it’s finding ways to go above and beyond what’s expected.
Leaders like Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Beth Comstock of General Electrics, and up and comers like John Pepper from Boloco believe delivering customer WOW through service is a competitive advantage.
Here at Desk.com, the Customer WOW Team is the support team who answers your questions and concerns. But they don’t stop there. The Customer WOW team at Desk.com is dedicated to proactively reaching out to customers to find ways to help them be more successful. The WOW team follows Google Founders, Larry Page’s philosophy of “Always deliver more than expected.” Consistently being better than what you’re expect to be is how you provide the best possible experience. One way we know we’re doing the job right is when customers say things like “Wow, I didn’t expect that!”
Creating this experience is at the core of what we do and since our early days at Assistly we work every day to perfect the experience our customers have with us. We’ve found some basic principles that have contributed to our success and ways to empower the team to be the best at what they do.
To WOW, you must:
1) Empower People. Our team is hired with the expectation that they work in the best interest of the customers and given the tools and authority to make decisions. 2) Create Trust. There’s no finish line when it comes to building trust with our employees, customers, and partners. Honesty, transparency, and accountability are the guideposts for every decision and action we take in delivering a high quality service that is secure, reliable, and available. 3) Dream big. Unbounded imagination, genuine passion, and the right attitude will take us to all of the wonderful places we want to go. We aspire to make the impossible possible.
Principles of WOW:
So how can your company stand out by WOWing their customers? These are the 13 Principles of WOW that we at Desk.com live by:
1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
It’s unreasonable to expect any individual to have a perfect grasp of what’s happening with all of your customers. Maintaining open lines of communication with your teammates allows everyone on the team to have a more representative view of what’s going on.
2. Ask Questions
What information do you need to answer people’s questions? Never hesitate to ask questions. The more you know about your customers and their needs, the more of an asset you are to both the company, and your customers.
3. Be Human
Robots are cool, but people would rarely choose to have a conversation with one. Show the customers that you aren’t a machine.
4. Be Personal
Get to know your customers. Having an open dialogue with your customers is key, but at the end of the day it’s how you make people feel that matters the most.
5. Be Honest
Nobody likes being lied to. A customer can’t expect anything more from you than the truth. When you maintain an open dialogue with your customers and keep them informed at all times, you’ll earn your customer’s commitment to your company.
6. Never Stifle Innovation
Listen when customers or coworkers make suggestions. The “Honey Pot - A Lesson in Creativity & Diversity” is a great reference for this. Even a half-baked idea might have a kernel of greatness to be extracted.
7. Strive for Knowledge
The more you know, the more of an asset you are to your customers. Take every moment you can to expand your knowledge base when it comes to the product.
8. Advocate for the Customer
Your support team is the closest connection between your customers and the company. It’s your responsibility to bring any problems they might be having to light. As Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
9. Angry Users Aren’t Angry at You
Be sure to listen to their problem and take time to understand how the issue is impacting their work. Often you may find alternative solutions to help them and if not you have more information to help be their advocate.
10. Be Objective
Use the information relevant to the given support situation when looking for a solution.
11. Not All Customers Are Angry
Always keep in mind that customers are more likely to send you feedback if something is wrong. While that does mean you’ll deal with angry customers, just remember that for every one angry customer there are ten more that love everything about what you do.
12. Seconds Lead to Hours
Help each customer as quickly and efficiently as possible without undermining the quality of the support experience. Reducing the time is takes to assist a customer directly reduces the time other customer must wait.
13. Be Empathetic
We’ve all been in a rough support situation before. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer when you take their case. Your empathy will show, and they’ll certainly appreciate it. The service you give to your customers is fundamentally rooted in your staff. If your employees are happy and cares about the job they do, that’s when the real wow happens and it will result in great support. What does WOW mean to you and how do you think it could come to life at your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts!