3 Creative Alternatives to Making a Customer Read (but it not feel like reading)

No time to read – lost in la la land

Perhaps I’m just bitter, but no one reads.

We’re all lost in our own la la lands, zoning in only on what we want to see.

“You say, I only hear what I want to.” ~Lisa Loeb

And, perhaps I’m bitter because it is a lesson that I’ve learned over and over in customer service. No one reads!

Two examples:

  • A disclaimer on a contact form that someone must read and check before submitting an email to customer support is checked with robotic motions – but not read or understood.
  • A statement in a self-help document tells someone what they cannot do. Yet, they write in from that exact page asking how to do said task.

And yet, I continue to add more words to try and explain it in a better format. I write it out so that Joe Schmo can understand it. It almost seems the more I write out details, the more people question it.

Clearly, I’m doing something wrong.

I step back, bite my nails, bang my head against my desk and then a light bulb goes off:

As much as my customer is not reading the material, I’m not effectively reading my customer. 

Sometimes, it’s not what you say or write to your customer, whether it is in 200 words or 5 words, it’s what you do to empower your customer to understand.

People want answers. And, they want answers fast.

How do you get detailed answers to a customer who doesn’t have time to read? How can you help a customer read without them actually realize they are reading and retaining information?

You get creative.

3 Creative Alternatives to Making a Customer Read (but it not feel like reading)

Wizards & Widgets

Wizards and widgets are fun, magical and interactive tools to provide information swiftly – the customer answers a couple of questions – they are carried along step by step – their answer appears.

Videos

People dig videos – so long as you keep them short and sweet. This may mean a video chat to your customer, whether it is recorded or live. This can be video training tutorials on your website. Or, branch out even further and give your customer service team a tool to create personalized tutorial videos and share with their customers via email or a direct link.

Pictures

A picture says a thousand words…or something like that. I recall in my early days of training customer service representatives, they were more likely to retain information if there was a goofy meme or other eye catching image attached to the training documentation. Some customers may benefit from screen shot images in an email, pictures of your agents in the email signatures to add a personal touch or pictures on your website that allow the customer to engage.

 

There are many tools out there that offer gobs of opportunities to create this experience for your customers. I’d love to hear what YOU have found success with. Please leave a note in the comments or share with me on Twitter.

Jenny is the Customer Care Manager for DMV.ORG. With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she's not helping or singing to customers, she can be found making her fiancé laugh, making her niece smile, hanging out her friends or her cat, Taquito, practicing yoga, eating cheese, drinking wine or all of the above at the same time. Be sure to follow her on social media!

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