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The Path to Delightenment: The 5 Fundamentals of Exceptional Customer Service

Written by Ian Landsman, published on 03.14.2016

By now, you’ve heard how bad customer service can cost businesses billions of dollars each year.

You’ve probably heard that bad customer service is a leading reason why customers take their business to competitors.

You’ve definitely heard that the customer is always right.

So… we’re not going to talk about all of those points anymore.

On The Delightenment Blog, we’re taking a new look at customer service.

You know that customer service is about more than money, about more than lost business. You provide your product or service to make your customers’ lives better. And that’s also why you provide exceptional customer service. You want to reduce your customers’ frustrations, not add to them.

Now, we’re going deeper. We’re thinking beyond reducing stress.

  • Beyond reducing call hold lengths.
  • Beyond reducing the number of times a customer gets transferred from department to department and has to repeat the. same. story. to. four. different. employees. (please hold)
  • Beyond minimizing the number of steps it takes for a customer to give your company the critical feedback you need to improve your operations.

We’re endowing our customer relationships with meaning. We’re prioritizing real human connection in a world where technology has allowed us to distance ourselves from others. We’re exploring the idea that, while the fundamentals of customer service remain the same, how we provide exceptional customer service is ever-changing. Your customers have unique needs and desires. You have the power to tailor your customer service to your audience. To show you’re paying attention. To show your customers they matter to you, and not simply because more customers mean more dollars and cents.

The Delightenment Blog is here to expand on the basic fundamentals of customer service. To engage in conversations with businesses and customers to share success stories and cringe-worthy moments we can learn from. To identify how we all can be more compassionate with our service, turning new customers not just into loyal customers, but growing them into compelling brand advocates.

Of course, to expand on these fundamentals, we have to establish them first. What are the foundational elements of delightful customer service? Or, as we call it, The Path to Delightenment?

1. Organizational Intelligence

Tasking interns with responding to customer service questions on Twitter? Sounds pleasant enough, but it’s a recipe for disaster.

Customer service requires action. It’s not enough to say “we’re sorry you feel that way” or, on the flip side, “we think that’s a great idea!” when your customer provides feedback. You need take that feedback and set it into motion.

Customer service can only be done well if everyone understands exactly what your company offers, why you offer it, what differentiates you from customers, how customers can be accommodated, what your company’s weak spots are, and what steps need to be taken to address a customer inquiry.

Understanding a customer is great, but make sure you have an understanding of your business, too.

2. Efficiency & Effectiveness

Don’t you love asking a business a question and hearing back four days later?

Just kidding.

Urgency is critical. We know this by now. People are expecting responses immediately, especially when customer service is taking place online. Customers are asking about your product because they have a craving, right now. But cravings pass. Attention spans are short. Options are plentiful.

You must act quickly, but remember that urgency is only great if that efficient response has any value. Has any accuracy. Provides benefit to the customer. Efficiency is critical, but so is effectiveness.

3. Compassionate Communication

So, what do we mean by effective? Well, it doesn’t only have to provide a response to the customer question or comment. It needs to emotionally connect with the customer, so they feel confident in their decision to work with you.

Excellent customer service means empathetic actions and active listening. It means proactive customer communication, making your customers feel their experiences matter so much to you that you want to maintain a relationship with them.

You don’t just answer complaints because that “ANGRY CUSTOMER FEEDBACK WHO’S NEVER COMING BACK HERE AGAIN” content looks ugly on your Facebook page. You have conversations with your customers online and offline so that their next experience can be better than any bad experience they just had, and because you’re also striving to give your customers an experience better than the good interaction they’re already had!

4. Relevance

You can have a rock star-filled customer service team, but if your business model is outdated, if how you’re prepared to help your customers is not the help they require… It just doesn’t matter. You don’t matter.

Stay relevant. Pay attention to your customer’s changing needs. Watch the ways in which they consume information changes. Monitor the data that shows, you know, that people don’t really buy product X anymore because product Y solves this problem customers didn’t really have three years ago. Or, three months ago, even. The world moves fast.

5. Follow-through & Follow-up

Awesome, delightful customer service requires commitment to 100% of customers, 100% of the time. You must make good on your initial promises. You must take their feedback and grow from it. You must follow-up to say, we’ve heard your story, we’ve taken it to heart, now how else can we help you?

Providing customer service is not for the faint of heart. There are tough days, but there is nothing like the feeling of knowing you truly made someone happy. Made their day. Made their life easier. Helping others have more awesome experiences That’s delightenment. That’s what we’re all about.

You, too? Then stay tuned for more from The Delightenment Blog.

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