Two Essential Ways To Respect Customers
This post was originally published on the FCR blog on March 2, 2016. Click here for the original.
One of our core values at FCR is respect. I recently polled our team of customer service experts to find out the best ways to show respect to customers. Here’s the list I came up with and I asked them to choose just one:
- Listening to them
- Going above and beyond to solve their problem
- Being friendly and professional
- Giving them as much time as they need
- Calling them by name
- Finding ways to save them time and money
- Proactively giving information they need but didn’t ask for
- Thanking them for their business
With an astounding 327 responses to my survey, made up mostly of FCR colleagues along with a few folks from our social network, a couple clear winners emerged.
The top way to show customers our respect, with 40% of the vote, is by listening to them. I asked respondents to comment on why they felt listening was most important and a few responses really stood out to me.
“It’s important to give them time, be friendly and professional, and always go above and beyond. None of the others matter if you don’t listen to them.”
“If we don’t take the time to truly listen to the customer and ‘hear’ their concerns, we won’t fully understand the issue and won’t be best equipped to solve their problem the first time.”
“A customer that feels unheard is the quickest way to escalate a minor issue into a major issue.”
It’s clear that by actively listening to customers, we pave the way for great customer service. We definitely can’t solve their problems quickly and efficiently without first listening.
Going Above and Beyond
The second most important way to show customers our respect, with 31% of the vote, is by going above and beyond to resolve their issue. This value speaks to the importance of solving the customer’s issue, and in the process, wowing them a bit. Here are a couple quotes that really capture this:
“It shows them that they are the most important thing to you at that very moment.”
“Customers want their problem to be solved above everything else. Giving a customer the runaround or vague ‘might help’ answers is rude and a waste of their time.”
Several respondents felt that when we go above and beyond and wow the customer, it builds strong customer loyalty to the company. Ultimately, communicating to the customer that they are important while working to solve their issue efficiently and exceptionally is a great way to respect them.
There were a few other interesting notes that emerged from the responses. First of all, eleven people wrote in “All of the above.” There’s a good shot I would have answered that way as well. It’s incredibly difficult to select just one when all are proven ways to show customers our respect.
There were a few responses with themes around being patient, showing empathy, assuming the best, and putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes. One colleague noted the importance of being consistent in all of these.
Customer service expert Jeff Toister was kind enough to complete the survey and he noted that according the 2015 National Rage Study, the number one thing that aggravates customers is wasting their time. It’s clear that two of the best ways to respect our customers is to actively listen to them and go above and beyond by solving their problem accurately and efficiently.