Great customer service. That’s what our customers want and that’s what we wish to provide. But it’s difficult remembering all the different steps to take to provide it. Thankfully, many have developed useful acronyms to help. In today’s post, I compiled my list of the top 10 customer service acronyms to use every day. Store these in your CS toolbox to use as needed.
According to several employees and training manuals, Apple Inc’s sales associates are taught an unusual sales philosophy: not to sell, but rather to help customers solve problems. “Your job is to understand all of your customers’ needs—some of which they may not even realize they have,” one training manual says. To that end, employees receive no sales commissions and have no sales quotas. “You were never trying to close a sale. It was about finding solutions for a customer and finding their pain points”.
- Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome.
- Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs.
- Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
- Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
- End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.
Click here to read more about A.P.P.L.E. in this Wall Street Journal article.
B.L.A.S.T. is a great tool that is used by companies such as Yum! (Parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, A&W, and Long John Silvers) for training their employees in the basics of handling customer complaints. The acronym stands for:
- Believe – The customer may be lying and be incorrect about their situation. It is important to understand that your customer believes that your establishment has wronged them.
- Listen – Stop and listen to your customer’s complaint. When the customer is done venting; in a calm, non-judgmental tone, repeat their problem so you’re sure you understand the issue and to reassure the customer you’ve paid attention.
- Apologize – Always apologize even if you did nothing wrong. From your customers’ perspective, they have a legitimate complaint, and they expect an apology.
- Satisfy – Make it right. Ask the customer “What can I do to make this right for you”? Be the judge of what is fair of course but allow them the opportunity to feel empowered over the situation.
- Thank – At the beginning, at the end, in the middle; it doesn’t matter, thank the customer for calling and complaining. Why? With the simple act of complaining, your customer is telling you “I care about your business and your success”. They are giving you the opportunity to fix the problem and invite them back so they can give you more of their money.
Thanks to Albert Barneto for sharing this method in his post. What are acronyms for good customer service?
Customer Service Acronyms You Need to Know
The internet has heightened expectations of self-service and responsiveness. Call center technologies make it easier for agents to solve problems (but not every company uses it equally well). And many of customers’ “moments of truth” occur during customer service encounters while many potential miscues create poor experiences.
To top it all off, people used to tell 10 people about a bad experience, but now they can post a blog or a video on YouTube and tell thousands of (or more) people.
So, what can companies do to improve customer service? Use the C.A.R.E.S. approach. These are 5 things that companies need to design into their customer service interactions.
- Communication – Clearly communicate the process and set expectations.
- Accountability – Take responsibility for fixing the problem or getting an answer.
- Responsiveness – Don’t make the customer wait for your communication or a solution.
- Empathy – Acknowledge the impact that the situation has on the customer.
- Solution – At the end of the day, make sure to solve the issue or answer the question.
Thanks to Qualtrics XM Institute for sharing the C.A.R.E.S formula.
4. The LAURA technique
This is a technique you can use to defuse angry customers and refocus on finding a solution. L.A.U.R.A. is an acronym that outlines specific service steps, but it also serves as a quick reminder.
Picture a kind and patient professional named Laura who never seems to get rattled by a difficult customer. She’s an empathetic listener, and always finds a way to make customers feel better.
These are the specific steps outlined by the LAURA acronym: Top customer service acronyms list.
- Listen – Our instinct is to jump into action and solve the problem, but you’ll get a better result if you take a moment to listen. Let the customer talk or vent and try to understand what’s really bothering them.
- Acknowledge – Customers can be extra difficult to serve when they are experiencing strong emotions. We can help them feel better by validating their emotions with a sincere acknowledgment. For example: “I apologize for this error.” Or “I’m sorry you’ve had such a difficult experience.”
- Understand – Customers often do a poor job of telling their story, so try to understand what they really need. For example, in technical support, studies show the thing customers need even more than fixing their issue is to feel relief about whatever problem that issue was causing.
- Relate – Empathy comes from understanding what someone is experiencing and being able to relate to their emotions. You don’t have to agree, or even think the customer is right, just try to imagine a time when you experienced something similar and show your customer that you get where they’re coming from.
- Act – It’s time to act once you’ve addressed your customer’s emotions. Avoid getting caught up in the blame game and instead re-focus on working with your customer to find a solution.
Thanks to my friend and customer service expert Jeff Toister for sharing this technique with us. Read more about the LAURA technique here.
Gerard Egan defined the acronym S.O.L.E.R. as part of his “Skilled Helper” method of actively listening to the people. It is a non-verbal listening process used in communication, and a key skill taught to counselors as part of their training. But what is it?
- Squarely face the customer, preferably at a 5 o’clock position to avoid the possibility of staring.
- Open posture. Maintain an OPEN posture at all times, not crossing your arms or legs which can appear defensive.
- Lean forward. LEAN slightly in towards the client.
- Eye contact. Maintain EYE CONTACT with the client without staring.
- Relaxed and natural. RELAX. This should in turn help the client to relax.
S: Sitting squarely says “I’m here with you, I’m available to you.” Turning your body away from another person while you talk to him or her can lessen your degree of contact with that person. If for any reason, facing the person squarely is too threatening for them, then an angled position may be more helpful.
O: Adopt an open posture. Crossed arms and/or crossed legs can be a sign of lessened involvement with or availability to others. An open posture says you are open to the client and what he or she has to say. It is non-defensive in nature.
L: It is possible to lean in towards the client. It says, “I’m with you, I’m interested in you and what you have to say.” Leaning back can suggest the opposite. Remember not to lean too far forward, or this may be seen as placing a demand on the client. He or she may find it intimidating.
E: Maintain good eye contact. It’s another way of saying, “I’m interested, I’m with you.” Remember this is not the same as staring. You will need to look away every so often, in order not to stare, but monitor the amount you look away. It could say something about your own level of comfort/discomfort.
R: Be relaxed or natural. If you are fidgeting nervously, it will distract the client. Being relaxed also tells the client that you are comfortable with using your body as a vehicle of personal contact and expression. It helps put the client at ease.
From “The Skilled Helper, 10th Edition” by Gerard Eagan