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Culture of Outstanding Support

  1. The Culture of Outstanding Support Audrey Dotson
  2. What do these companies have in common?
  3. “It can take 30+ years to build a brand and just a handful of poor customer experiences to destroy it.”
  4. “You‘ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” Steve Jobs - Co-founder of Apple
  5. “I would define Amazon by our big ideas, customer centricity, putting the customer at the center of everything we do.” Jeff Bezos - CEO and Founder of
  6. "In the early days we never tried to be the neighborhood store," says a former employee. They didn't have to: Trader Joe's was the neighborhood store.
  7. “A businessman once said, ‘A business succeeds not because it is long established or because it is big, but because there are men and women in it who live it, sleep it, dream it, and build great future plans for it.’” – J.W. Marriott
  8. How did these companies succeed? Especially when we shifted from this… to this.
  9. 1. Find out what they want first. 2. Make yourself physically available, however your customers need it. Core elements for creating a super successful support culture
  10. Hug Your Customers 3. Treat customers like royalty, even pets and children. 4. Keep every part of your business in the same building the customers visit.
  11. Hug Your Customers 5. Provide your employees with a data system that helps them find what they need and helps them serve customers better.
  12. Hug Your Customers
  13. Hug Your Customers
  14. Hug Your Customers 6. Design your hugging culture to be recession proof.
  15. How does the customer experience journey look today?
  16. How does the customer experience journey look today?
  17. The Thank You Economy 1. Social media brings old-fashioned values back into business. 2. A successful business aims for the customers heart and builds trusting relationships.
  18. The Thank You Economy
  19. The Thank You Economy 3. Don’t reject social media as unreliable or unimportant, or you will lose customers, perhaps even miss out on getting new ones.
  20. The Thank You Economy 4. You can’t manage social media like traditional media. It follows different rules, but you should use both.
  21. The Thank You Economy 5. A caring culture starts form the top of the company.
  22. The ICARE Concept I – Ideal service C – Culture A – Attentiveness R – Responsiveness E – Empowerment
  23. The ICARE Concept I – Ideal service: Define what makes ideal service and work hard on achieving that. Try to exceed expectations.
  24. The ICARE Concept C – Culture: Make sure ALL your staff reflect your culture, not just one or two. This includes your values, goals, tone and company personality.
  25. The ICARE Concept A – Attentiveness: Know the person you are talking to well, or try to find out who they are, what they do and tailor your conversation.
  26. The ICARE Concept R – Responsiveness: Ask the right questions so customers feel understood. Empathy is extremely important to solve problems and help.
  27. The ICARE Concept E – Empowerment: Support staff should be able to innovate and come up with solutions for customers. Empowering them in this way also makes them feel more valued.
  28. Things to Say and Not Say First… Just listen. 1) Listening is key to initiating progress and overcoming resistance.
  29. Things to Say and Not Say 2) We feel positive emotions when our emotions are mirrored back to us.
  30. Things to Say and Not Say 3) Listening relies on the rational, not emotional or instinctual, part of the brain.
  31. Things to Say and Not Say 4) Online support, or any support mainly through chat, hinders the ability to show empathy, but this is where the right questions come into play.
  32. From the Vbout Support Bible
  33. What to say and what not to say First interaction: 1. Hello [name], I’m happy to look into that for you. 2. Ask for some time to look into it, and estimate the amount if you can.
  34. What to say and what not to say 3. If it’s taking too long, check in and say something like: “Apologies this is taking a bit longer, we are actively looking into it. I will keep come back in 5 minutes with and update.”
  35. What to say and what not to say 4. Never blame the client, be careful of your wording when you ask what happened. Try this question, “What was the last action you took on this?”
  36. What to say and what not to say 5. If a client is lost or disorganized, try to guide them in a patient way. Try saying: “Let’s tackle these one by one…” and explain each clearly and calmly.
  37. What to say and what not to say After the issue has been resolved: 1. Ask the client to “CHECK” from their side. Never use the word “TEST” with a client.
  38. What to say and what not to say 2. Never Say: I’m not sure, I think it’s fine, I don’t know, and so on. Say things like: the issue has been resolved by our team, please let us know if you need anything else or have more questions.
  39. What to say and what not to say 3. Always remember to thank them for being a customer. This is your last chance to leave a good impression.
  40. Do’s and Don’ts SELF-CONTROL: Never take a client response personal. Your job is to try and assure them that you are on their side and that you will do your best and beyond to help them out.
  41. Do’s and Don’ts CONFIDENCE: Never make it seem that you do not know what you are doing. You don’t want to put doubt in the customer’s mind affect their relationship with the brand.
  42. Do’s and Don’ts MASTERING GRAMMAR: When strictly communicating with text, you must master typing and avoid grammar issues at all times. Install grammarly app on your browser to highlight any grammar errors.
  43. Do’s and Don’ts WORDS NOT TO USE: Like marketing and sales, customer support needs to avoid negative words that trigger negative emotions. Like: You’re wrong, couldn’t you, already answered, busy, hate, not good, bad, sad, stop, nope, can’t do, unhappy, depressed, stressed, done working.
  44. Do’s and Don’ts EFFORTLESS SUPPORT: Make the whole experience for the customer simple, super responsive, helpful, positive. Have their back at any time, no matter how big or small the client. Your investment is the impact on your brand, not their total spend.
  45. 1. Outstanding support starts from the top down. 2. Care for your employees, and they will take care of your customers. 3. Do not underestimate social media as a customer service tool – it is an opportunity to offer individualized attention. 4. Hug your customers and treat them all like VIPs. 5. Above all else – LISTEN. Show empathy, understanding and connect emotionally to find common ground. 6. Digital communication has de-humanized customer support, but has also provided opportunities to use data to improve personalization. 7. Your support is your brand, use the same high level attention to your communication as you would sales or marketing. Conclusion
  46. www.vbout/p/request-a-demo /vboutcom vbout

Notas del editor

  1. Well, since you know this is a presentation on outstanding support, I think you’ll know what I’m doing to say. Does anyone disagree? Or has anyone had a really stand out, awesome experience with one of them to share? I’m a serious Trader Joe’s fan girl, so I have lots of examples… the guy remembering me and my mom when we came in a second time, in the super busy Cobble Hill location. The guy giving me my flowers free, when he found out I’d just moved to the neighborhood. He had asked me if there was a special occasion, and I said none, I just moved and wanted to make the room feel warm and happy, and a little gift to myself. These companies are consistently ranked as having the best customer support across all business categories. They probably have good leadership as well, and other internal business practices to learn from, but we’ll shortly see, these tend to go hand in hand.
  2. So, what do each of these companies do to keep that going and make sure their brands stay strong?
  3. Apple’s late founder, Steve Jobs, made customer service a priority from Day 1. The design of the company’s customer experience reflects the hallmark of their products — user friendliness. Apple’s CX philosophy can be summed up into one word — effortless — with their seamless in-store customer journey with the help of “geniuses” and friendly personnel, as well as transactional ease where check out lines literally don’t exist.
  4. Amazon consistently tops the polls when it comes to great customer service. Their omnichannel customer service system offers immediate and full refunds, no questions asked. Customers can also look to self-service, via the forums or Amazon Co-Pilot. In short, their customer service is expeditious and complete, and treats the user with care and respect.
  5. The two most challenging, elusive and yet most effective operational 'home runs' for your brand are atmosphere and courteous staff," according to StoreStream Metrics. "When you go to Trader Joe's, you are experiencing a 'story.’ Trader Joe's is a brand that is very good at storytelling and bringing that story to life. The 'typical' grocery story is merely a clean warehouse. Their story is ultimately that you’ve entered a shop in a small town, where people are friendly, and may even know your name.
  6. Marriott International put people at the center of their business, this includes both staff and customers. By offering their employees competitive benefit packages, superior training and empowering their decision-making capabilities, Marriott hires an all-star team that truly enjoys coming into work everyday and going out of their way to make guests feel at home. They consistently win awards for both customer service and best places to work – this is no coincidence.
  7. Is there a formula – one that applies whether online or offline? A lot of companies say they struggle with servicing customers as well in this digital environment, and research is also showing that service has gone down. More people are unhappy with the service they receive across channels and industries. It is true, without the human contact, it’s incredibly hard to achieve what the companies we just discussed achieved. But they’ve managed to do it, so it’s possible.
  8. In this environment, business owners are also dealing with increased competitiveness. Most of them also know, customer service can make or break your company. It’s no surprise that a lot of companies are spending an incredible amount of time, energy and resources, trying to get this right – across different channels.
  9. In the book “Hug your Customers” by Jack Mitchell he gives us more tactical ideas, and some background on this belief that the “customers are always right.” He says: Keep customers happy by creating a “hugging culture.” Find out what they want, and I mean REALLY want, by asking the right questions. This is not your usual “How may I help you?” That’s expected and easy to dismiss. Instead, customers in this store from the book were trained to ask things like, “What occasion is this for?” If you have a B2B software service, a version of that could be, “What problem are you trying to solve?” 2. This is easy to understand with brick and mortar. The stores employees were actually encourage to hug regular customers they knew well. Of course, other physical contact can be applied, like hand shakes, a touch on the shoulder. Human touch actually makes people feel good and emotionally supported. But how does this translate online? In a digital world? One way is with the use of cameras and videos for live conference calls. Just seeing a person’s face and emotions can bring in that dimension.
  10. 3. In the store from the book, this meant children’s play area so their parents could shop, and some staff would even hold on to pets while customers shopped, or they’d have treats and snacks for the regular customers with dogs. Every person got Obama level VIP service, basically. 4. Everyone under the same roof helps to remind back office staff of how important customers are to the success of the business. It keeps them connected and it makes it easier to build service throughout the company culture. It also makes it easier to make sure customers get attentive service, even when the service staff may be busy.
  11. 5. This final one is easy to apply both for online and offline businesses. Arm your staff with the knowledge to provide the best service using technology that’s available today. This is one of the upsides to how technology has changed customer service – it’s much easier to track every conversation and interaction a person has with your business. Knowledge base and self help is also important. Show examples of great help and knowledgebase. Support should be part of the culture.
  12. Apple is great example of a company with a really well thought out, useful self-help knowledgebase online.
  13. American Express went a step further with a knowledge base and created an entire online resource for small businesses. They’ve gotten a lot of awards for Open Forum, and it has done a great deal to powerfully impact their brand.
  14. 6. The last one is critical. In a downturn, often companies will cut corners on non-essential business expenditures. Your hugging culture is not one of them. When you learn more about the culture of outstanding support, you will see it’s part of your branding, your marketing and your sales. It’s essential.
  15. The example in “hug your customers” was a brick-and-mortar store, so how is this done in a complicated multi-channel customer journey today?
  16. Most customer service will happen in these ways: live chat, over the phone, online resources (like frequently asked questions or forums of similar problems that a customer can research on their own), and then one major change, social media as a support channel. As this space gets more competitive, between the web, social media and other channels, how can you make sure you’re reaching your customers everywhere you need to be?
  17. Gary Vaynerchuk makes a really strong case for why social media needs to be a very strong focus in your customer service, and he gives great advice on how to do that. This is where you can bring old fashioned values, like giving customers hugs, into actions online. High quality products don’t matter nearly as much as building trusting relationships and getting into the hearts of your customers. This is what creates customer loyalty. You have to show them you care, show them you appreciate their business. Almost like you would invest in friendships and family relationships. But here’s the real key: you must be genuinely interested.
  18. Old Spice was one company that ran a campaign interacting with customers on social media, and after the super bowl was over, they stopped. This did nothing for their long-term success, and they quickly realized to continue seeing increased sales, they would have to continue the care and interaction. Just like real relationships, they need to be nurtured and fostered over time and with consistency. This ended up being one of the top campaigns of the 21st century.
  19. A lot of companies reject social media as unreliable or unimportant because it’s difficult to measure how it impacts your bottom line. This is true, but take this example from Avaya who engaged one client on a single tweet and won 250k contract as a result.
  20. It may also be hard to measure the impact of positive perceptions of your brand, but this is something to be taken seriously, even if you can’t put a number next to it. It builds the trustworthiness of your brand when people can interact with you online, and get instant feedback. And people also respond more positively when they feel you are listening to them. We’ll go more into this in a moment.
  21. This is one of the most important parts that is echoed throughout the companies we talked about at the beginning – Apple, Marriott, Trader Joe’s, and it’s especially true at Zappo’s. To create a culture of outstanding support, the approach must be top down. When people care about a company, feel valued, are happy to come to work, all of this is communicated through how much they’re willing to go the extra mile for your customers. This treatment comes from management. Zappos is a great example because they were actually outperforming Amazon even with higher prices. It all came down to their amazing customer support, and is part of the reason Amazon began to invest a lot more into customer service.
  22. Ken Blanchard also agrees that to create Legendary Service you first need to treat your employees like internal customers, and then they will take care of your external customers. To do so at the highest level, you need a clear strategy for your employees as well, like the ICARE model.
  23. Ex, customer asks a question about how to order a product from your site. You can identify the order details the customer wants to add to the cart, and create that cart for them to check out. This exceeds the user expectations and it will resonate as a positive experience.
  24. Make sure everyone is trained on and knows your vision. This can be generalized, something like, “We always want to meet the needs of our customers.” Teach everyone your values, which are more specific than the vision and could relate to trust, quality or continuous improvement. Reward employees who exemplify that. Those who meet or exceed goals, can be rewarded with badges, prizes, time off, or other items.
  25. For example some of your clients might require more guidance then others because they are new to the platform or because their technical skills are basic. You will want to give the latter more detailed instructions. You can always use tagging to label customers based on plan and type of business, and level of expertise.
  26. While you’re asking questions and listening, show empathy by using verbal and nonverbal communication. One way to show empathy is by paraphrasing the other person’s remarks and mirroring their feelings, which communicates the fact that you’re really listening. Always remember that "the customer is not the problem, the situation is.” And the situation is actually an opportunity to set yourselves apart from your competitors.
  27. Support staff interact with clients often, and will have an eye for mistakes and customer concerns that top level management might not be aware of. Additionally, make sure your salespeople feel comfortable standing up for what they want and offering suggestions to help improve your business. Being empowered in this way will make employees feel valued, which will in turn make them feel more motivated. And that will result in better service for your customers, leading to better results companywide.
  28. Before being able to determine the right thing to say, you must listen and understand what the problem really is. It sounds so basic, but so many people miss this point, or they think hearing is listening. It’s not. Listening gives others the chance to share their feelings and concerns, which will engender a certain level of trust between us and our conversation partners.
  29. Brain cells called mirror neurons allow us to experience what we perceive that others are feeling. These are sometimes called mirror neurons, or “empathy neurons,” because of the way they bring people closer together. Ex, someone is crying or laughing we can also start to laugh, same for crying. This is relevant to support because we have to project a positive attitude and happy attitude so that it resonates with the customer you are trying to help. Showing empathy is important to connect, because people are always looking for approval from those around them. Showing apathy (resistance or “I” behavior) will create a disconnect and will shut down the conversation and listening.
  30. Our brains are divided into 3 parts, which respond to facts and stressful events differently. We have a rational, reasoning layer which is responsible for collecting and analyzing the data from the reptilian and mammalian layers of the brain – the layers responsible for fight or flight reactions (reptilian) and emotional responses (mammalian). The reasoning layer not only analyzes, but develops logical next steps. Think of this last layer as your inner Mr. Spock, the Star Trek character who always carefully weighed decisions through high level rational thinking. Just how you have different thinking layers that influence how you react to the world, so do your conversation partners. If you want them to be receptive to what you have to say, you’ll have to make sure that they’re thinking with the right layer.
  31. Online support is mainly done via chat, which involves the left side of the brain, the analytical side, not the emotional. So, our reaction to negative feedback has to be rational first, and we have to use different methods for establishing empathy and trust. This comes through what questions to ask and how your respond. Create a connection with the customer by asking the proper questions which we’ll go over next.
  32. Here are some important questions to ask straight from our very own support bible!
  33. This seems really basic, I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times when you deal with customer support for anything. But it goes back to what we discussed earlier with mirroring behavior and empathy. Try to sound genuine and it will go a long way to laying the foundation for solving a problem with your customer, especially if they are stressed or angry.
  34. If your investigation is taking-up some time, make sure you come back to the chat and inform the user. Ex: “Apologies this is taking a bit longer, we are still looking into it. I will definitely keep you posted.” Times suggested to do the outreach are: 5 minutes after first interaction, 15 minutes later if you have to inform them that you need a bit longer. Be reassuring as possible, especially if the customer is upset or stressed. The main goal here is to give clear updates to help them feel cared for. If you feel that you cannot answer in the same day, you have to notify client of that, and tell them you will have an answer by tomorrow or on a specific date depending on the specific task. You must manage expectations with estimates. This creates a feeling that you have things under control and will be able to solve the problem.
  35. I know it can get frustrating when you have this person who may be disorganized, all over the place, or doesn’t know exactly how to explain the situation. Remember the cardinal rules of empathy, and try to recognize they may be distressed because of this problem and the first step is to make them more calm. This method contains everything, and keeps you in control. It’s basically the idea of “Don’t Panic, Organize!” Remember what was discussed in “Just Listen.” You will not be able to really resolve the issue unless the person you’re speaking with is calm and rational, and part of support is helping them get to a more calm state.
  36. -They don’t test our products, they only use them. -Also, to help them feel calm and retain the positive image of the company and brand, you must seem like you have things under control and are confident in your work.
  37. -We all know the first impression is very important, but the last impression is equally as important. Always remember to thank your customer for their business and do so in a genuine, non-scripted way.
  38. Communication is your branding – you know this for marketing and sales and it’s true for customer support as well.