Customer Service Training:
The WOW Factor: Your Customer Service Secret Weapon

Do you ever wonder what happened to the once popular notion of “satisfied customers?” It wasn’t that long ago when companies took pride in satisfying the needs of their customers, and even put that goal above everything else. Now, however, I get the definite impression that such a lofty goal is the exception, not the rule. Take that ubiquitous credit card commercial as an example – the one where the CSR says “NO” to everything. The fact that this ad is making the point that there is at least one company left in the world that wants to satisfy customers provides a little hint as to how widespread the problem has become.

That’s why I am always excited when I encounter a company that still includes the WOW factor. Not too long ago, I was shopping for a new computer. I was just going to order one from this company’s online store, but there was a snag in the process, so I called customer service to complete the order. The CSR carefully reviewed the online transaction I was trying to complete, and identified the problem. However, instead of clicking a button and saying “Have a nice day!” he asked me several more questions about why I had chosen that particular model and configuration, and then he made a few suggestions. By the end of the conversation, he had adjusted my original order – which I would have been perfectly happy with – so that it now included a couple of added features, and sold it to me for LESS money than I would have paid in the original deal! When I got off the phone, all I could say was, “WOW!” because I got a better deal than I expected, and “WOW” because the CSR went out of his way to give it to me.

Do you want to create loyal, satisfied, enthusiastic customers who will not only buy from you over and over again, but will refer their friends to you as well? All you have to do is give everyone a reason to say “WOW” at the end of their transaction or conversation with you. Here are a couple of hints that will help you crank up the “WOW” factor.

  1. Always be friendly, personable and helpful. People don’t call customer service to be treated rudely and not get helped, yet these days this is too often what happens. When you provide friendly, attentive service that shows your concern that will provide a great platform from which to build toward a WOW.
     
  2. Listen carefully, ask good questions and do whatever it takes to clearly understand what your customer needs and wants. Again, the customer is not calling you to get a stock answer read straight from a script; this is a real person with a real issue that needs to be resolved. Even if you already think you know what to do, give the customer time to explain, and then confirm your understanding of what he said. This will prove to the customer that you are willing to make time for him. That happens so rarely in any aspect of our culture these days that it will provide more fuel for a potential WOW.
     
  3. If the problem involves any kind of perceived inconvenience or disappointment that your company or your product might have caused, always offer a sincere apology before you do or say anything else. Even if it is not exactly clear that your company was actually at fault, it is always appropriate to say something like, “I am certainly sorrow that you are having this problem. I know that you must be frustrated. Let’s see what we can do to straighten this out.” By expressing yourself like this, you not only connect with the emotion the customer is feeling, you also help defuse it. More WOW value here.
     
  4. It goes without saying that you should do whatever you can to resolve the problem or meet the need, but don’t stop there. People expect you to do that much or they wouldn’t have called in the first place. AFTER you have done the very best job you can of dealing with the problem, give them something extra. Extend the subscription or the warranty, or offer a discount on future transactions; maybe provide free shipping and handling if the product has to be returned. Give them something of value that they didn’t expect, and you have the WOW factor in the bag.

As I said earlier, businesses used to specialize in giving this kind of service because they recognized the value of having genuinely satisfied customers. Unless you are secretly in the business of creating dissatisfied customers (not a great long-term strategy in my book) why not ramp up the “WOW” factor? I have never heard anyone complain that they had too many satisfied customers.

More customer service training tips...