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ACCE Insider: 5 Things to Do Every Day to Rock Your Customer Service

As I type away from my desk in my home office on this rainy morning, I’ll admit that I’m experiencing a slight ACCE hangover.

As a new employee at ICMI, last week was my first ever ACCE experience, and it honestly far exceeded my expectations.  There were so many highlights!   I was able to attend many breakout sessions, listen in on the keynote addresses, have breakfast and lunch with new friends in the contact center community, attend a fabulous awards dinner, and broaden my customer service knowledge.  I loved every minute of it, so it’s hard to sum it all up in a tidy little article or pick just one key-takeaway, but if I had to describe the conference in just two words, I’d choose passion and energy.

Keynote speaker and Global Call Center Awards dinner emcee, Dayna Steele, epitomizes both those words, and I have a feeling her powerful message will stick with me for awhile.

I personally took a lot away from Dayna’s Keynote address “5 Things to Do Every Day to Rock Your Customer Service World.” She outlined actionable steps that are helpful for anyone in any industry, but I think her advice is particularly helpful for those of us in the business of customer service.

So, what is the recipe for rockstar customer service success?

1. Listen.  This seems like such a no brainer but it’s so often and easily overlooked.  In the fast-paced, mobile driven world we live in, it’s so easy to forget to stop and listen.  We often guess or predict what our customers are thinking/needing without taking the time to ask (and really listen to) what their needs are. Or we’re so busy multi-tasking that we can’t pay enough attention to what is important. If you don’t know what your customers want or need, how can you provide them with the best possible service?

2. Engage.  Listening is important, but it’s not enough to stop there.  To be truly successful, take it a step further. If you want answers, ask questions.  And if your customers are asking questions, respond to them—preferably in a timely fashion.  This sometimes means meeting your customers where they are, rather than where you’re comfortable having the conversation.  Many of your customers are seeking advice, asking questions, or commenting on your products online and via social media.  Are you listening?  Responding? Engagement is more important (and multi-faceted) now than ever!

3. Empower.  Empower your customers, empower your employees, and empower your employees to empower your customers.   Do your agents have all the tools and technology they need to be successful?  Do you have the tools you need to help make your agents more successful?  Be concise, and ask for what you need.   You might be surprised how likely people are to cooperate if you’re only willing to ask.  To illustrate this point, Dayna stopped her presentation to ask audience members for a dollar.  The outcome? Within a couple of minutes she had close to $15!  Try applying this principle in your everyday work environment and see what happens.

4. Innovate.  Don’t be afraid to do things differently.  Take risks.  Try new things.  The most successful people have failed at one point or another, and I loved the way Dayna put it: “It’s not failure if you can take something from it and use it to move forward.” Don’t let fear hold you back, or keep you from moving forward. What risks can you take to improve your customer service?  Think about it, and plan to do something differently next quarter. 

5. Wow. Dayna summed this last piece of advice up perfectly with a great quote from Disney.  “Do what you do so well that others can’t stop talking about you.”  Another blessing and curse of these technologically driven times: we have so much information at our fingertips.  It’s easier to find the competition.  If your customers aren’t happy with the service you’re providing they can easily find another company that better meets their needs.  Sometimes you only get one chance to “wow.”  What are you doing to differentiate your company, and go above and beyond to get people talking about the awesome service you provide?  Make it your goal to not just make the customer happy, but wow the customer.

How do you plan to apply Dayna’s 5 principles to rock your customer service?  What advice would you add?  Share your thoughts and comments.