Let’s Get Personal: Dos & Don’ts for Customer Care Professionals

Posted by
Barry Lamm
Director, Partner Success
Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - 16:49

Purchasing is personal. Consumers won’t tolerate being treated like a number or a transaction. Luckily for brands, the latest customer-experience technologies (predictive intelligent targeting, cross-channel engagements, etc.) have opened the door to more meaningful relationships between brand and consumer.

It’s a new age for customer care.

According to Think with Google, micro-moments are pivotal in the customer journey. Consumers search for a need and make a decision — hence “heightened expectations for immediacy and relevance.”

The micro-moment between consumer and customer care professional (CCP) is critical. We are spoiled by the convenience of mobile, so, when we have a need, we expect a quick solution. With years and years of messaging experience, below are a few of my top dos and don'ts for those engaging on the frontline of digital customer care.

Dos (top 5 strategies)

1. Connect to a deeper goal. Before diving into 1:1 service, think about the bigger picture. What are your customers trying to achieve, and how would engagement play into an overarching strategy?

More and more resources are being allocated to the customer experience. Beyond single, one-off sales, CCPs have the unique opportunity to build customer loyalty, nurture brand image, promote company culture, and continue innovating the customer experience — all through intelligent, meaningful digital engagement.

2.  Be human. We’re all humans — make sure you act like it. Automated customer service is a time suck. Should you really have to press 1, 2, or 3 to select a language preference? No. Communicating with a machine is never as seamless as chatting with a real person.

Tap into the benefits of offering live service. This means focusing on making a personal, more meaningful connection over pushing a purchase. A few ways to do this include responding immediately, exhibiting patience, using a friendly tone (you really can hear a smile), tailoring your responses to the style of your consumer, and acting with empathy.

3. Be an expert. The best CCPs are knowledgeable in all aspects of their product or service. Be prepared for commonly asked questions and stay up to date on the latest policies, systems, or product information.

Consider yourself the consumer’s guide to navigating a product or service experience. As a CCP, you are the go-to resource for all branded questions. Tip: Be careful to remain confident in your advice but not condescending. Consider the teacher-to-student relationship — supportive yet empowering.

4. Be helpful. Ensure you’re adding value to the customer’s journey. Before firing off a quick answer, pause and craft a thoughtful response with actionable next steps. If the request is unclear, review behavioral history on-site and offer related resources.

5. Be a multitasking master. Seasoned CCPs can handle multiple messaging conversations at once, switching seamlessly from one engagement to the next. And, in the same breath, these professionals are also juggling information from CRMs, websites, product manuals, etc.

But don’t let multitasking diminish the quality of your interactions either. Have a personal gut check to ensure each customer feels like they have your undivided attention and support.

Don’ts (tactics to avoid)

1.  Make them wait. Real-time service is key. LivePerson research found that a consumer won’t wait longer than 76 seconds before jumping to a competitor. Today’s power consumer has access to a multitude of brands across networks and channels. Immediate response is a fundamental factor in meeting consumer expectations and offering the convenience they crave.

2.  Move the consumer to another channel. A seamless customer journey is a positive one. Moving a consumer from one screen to the next is disruptive and distracting. Offer real-time messaging in-channel, whether on social, mobile, or desktop.  

3.  Be too technical or overly casual. Customer engagement is not the setting to show off your technical jargon. Being overly formal mimics the robotic nature of automated service. But, on the other end of the spectrum, extreme informality is a no-no, too. Tip: Don’t use too many exclamation marks, emoticons, or slang expressions. The occasional emoji is okay, though, when the context is right. ;)

Find a middle ground and charm your consumers with warm expressions and positive language.

CCPs are leading customer support; they have great impact on the experience and overall brand image. In essence, they are the face of your brand. Here at LivePerson, we’ve learned that the best CCPs are deeply immersed in company culture. They understand the why behind the product or, in the words of Simon Sinek, the “purpose, cause of belief that inspires you to do what you do.”

Did we miss any essential skills? Please share in the comments below.

Does this sound like you? Join the Association of Customer Care Professionals International (ACCPI) to connect with your peers, find a support system, and get more information like this to help you on and off the job. 

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