The 4 Values of Post Market Customer Service

Full 03 humanity

While training new phone reps, one commented that they had many customers ask for me by name.  The new rep wanted to know why I had so many customers willing to wait to talk to me.  I explained there were several reasons.

1.     I respected the value of the customer’s time.

There are times when call queues are going to be long. In some cases, when the customer finally gets through to a live voice, they had been waiting for quite some time.  Queues happen, customers get frustrated.  When I queues were long I slightly altered my greeting to thank them for their patience in waiting.  I also made a point that while I was talking to them, they were aware they had my undivided attention. I would answer their questions as quickly and accurately as possible.

2.     I made a point of giving the correct answer, the first time we talked.

 If I had an answer that I was not sure of, or if I knew the customer would not like my answer, I would ask for the chance to see if I could verify there were no other options for them.  On the rare occasion where I had erroneous information I had passed on.  I took the time to call the customer back, apologize, then proceed to give them the correct information. 

3.     I made myself human to them by acknowledging their humanity.
Often there are times when you are waiting. Whether it is for the customer to gather more information, or for a computer to run a process.  This is your chance to connect.  Do you hear a dog barking in the background?  Then ask about their pet.  Are there children?  How old are they? What is the cutest/funniest thing their kid did in the last week? Are you remoted into the computer and see a picture of them with someone on a beach? Then compliment them on the picture and how much fun it looks like they are having. This encourages the customer to talk about something positive about themselves. Once whatever we were waiting for was completed, I would take the call back to business, and wrap up the call.  This process never added to call length, and it served two purposes.  First, it filled in what would normally be dead time on the call.  Second it gave me some insight into who they were, hobbies etc. 
One Customer, I will call Ann, who called in on a semi regular basis.  During one of our conversations, she commented that she had to cut the call short, her husband was in the hospital.   I told her I would email her the information, and CC someone else in her office in case she was not available.  When I was done with the call, I grabbed one of the “We’re thinking of you” cards we kept available.  Had the members of my team sign it and we sent it to Ann’s work office telling her we were sorry to hear her husband was in the hospital and we were wishing them both well.  The next time I spoke with her she was very thankful for the card and was amazed that we took the time to acknowledge a difficult time in her life. 
4.     I kept short notes on regular customers.
These notes were about important issues that I learned about while I was filling dead phone time.  I would quickly review, and I would touch back on something we had discussed in a prior call.  The customers were pleasantly surprised when I would bring up a prior conversation. A simple “How was Jimmy’s play?” would change the tone in their voice, you could hear them relaxing, and becoming less stressed.  Getting people to talk about positive things that they love in their lives, getting them to laugh releases endorphins.  Endorphins are addicting, it is natural for people to gravitate to something that makes them feel better, so if you can turn the conversation to positive and pleasant issues, then even bad news goes over better. 

Some people would state that small talk is a waste of time.  I disagree, here is why.

I was establishing a relationship with the customer, so when there were issues where they were upset, we would both use that relationship to solve the issue as a team.  

Upset customers would reach out to me, knowing that I would solve the issue because they “knew me.”  I would be able to use our established relationship to deescalate their frustration and anger.  I would not always be able to give the customer the answer they wanted, but a customer is more willing to accept bad news from someone they are convinced is looking out for them.

I was on the phone with a customer who made it very clear that she was using our product because her boss made the decision to switch.  She was not happy with the change, she was not happy with the software, and she really was not happy with me.  Due to the learning curve, what used to take five minutes, was now taking over an hour.   

I offered to remote in to watch her processes. I wanted to see if there was a way I could help her be more efficient.  I acknowledged her frustration with the learning curve. By the end of the call, her process was faster, and she was laughing.   Later, at a user conference she became one of our most vocal supporters.  Her company stated the main reason they chose our product, (that was more expensive than our competitor’s) was because of the customer service.   

Marketing tends to focus on how to get new customers.   Customer service is how you keep those customers.  Post Market customer service becomes a marketing tool.  Customer’s want to be valued, because they are valuable.  

Get your copy



Half leadership article

THIS is how you lead a Customer Support Team

Half content creating

The #1 Way to Create Compelling Content

Half airplane

How the top 5 Airlines Handle Overbooked Flights

Half shared email

5 Reasons to Quit Using Shared Email Forms

Half script

The Downside of Over Scripting Customer Service

Half stretch goals

Stretch Goals are Hot... Are They Helpful?


This is the official blog of Helpy, the open source helpdesk platform.