Acronyms for Great Customer Service
There are many versions of H.E.A.T. On my blog, I’ve written about the H.E.A.R.T. acronym for customer service which adds an “R” for Resolve (the issue) with the “T” for Thank the Customer. You can read the post here.
- Hear Them Out – This isn’t always easy to do, but in the end, the customer is going to feel better. If they can just get it off their chest, they’ll likely be much more open to your solutions. We’ve all been there; sometimes a person just needs to vent. Let them talk, and simply listen.
- Empathize – Feel what your customer is feeling by putting yourself in their shoes. Name their emotions: “I understand that you are frustrated, and I can see why. I would be too.” By showing your customer you understand, you can begin to defuse the situation.
- Apologize – This one is important, especially if you did not personally make the error or create the situation that’s making the customer angry. The last thing the customer wants to hear is that you didn’t do it. Maybe “you” didn’t do it, but your company did – and you’re a team. A simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way. Stand united and take the HEAT for your team. Hopefully, your team members will do the same for you when the tables are turned. After all, we all make mistakes.
- Take Action – Make sure you have an action plan ready to follow your apology. How are you going to fix the problem? What can the customer expect next? It will probably sound something like, “I’m so sorry that this has happened. Here is what I can do for you now….”
Delivering exceptional service to every customer – to every guest — is the responsibility of all employees in your store. Use the G.U.E.S.T. acronym as part of your customer service training and you’ll see improved service and increased loyalty.
- Greet – To make a positive first impression with every customer, store employees should greet every person as soon as they walk in the door.
- Understand – To understand customers’ needs, employees should listen carefully to customer requests and respond effectively and efficiently.
- Eye-contact – Making eye contact lets customers know they are important. Remember that positive body language is just as powerful as the spoken word.
- Speed of Service – Convenience store customers aren’t in your store to browse – they expect to be served quickly, even when the store is busy. Train your employees to prioritize tasks, always putting customer needs at the top of the list.
- Thank You – A personalized and sincere “thank you” at the end of a customer experience will let customers know they’re appreciated and encourage them to return again.
Harsh words are not always indicative of insight, and complaining customers are not always a sign that something is wrong. Be that as it may, sometimes great feedback is buried within the vitriol—give credence to every message.
To give credibility to a customer’s complaint and stay consistent in your tone and process, use the C.A.R.P. method:
- Control the situation.
- Acknowledge the dilemma.
- Refocus the conversation.
- Problem-solve so the customer leaves happy.
Thanks to HelpScout for this tip. Creating an emotional connection – that’s how you establish a very powerful and unusual emotional relationship with the customer.
As businesses think about overhauling their customer service organizations or re-strategizing on how they engage with the customers, it’s useful to understand the different attributes, aspects, and components of a great customer service experience. Use the S.E.R.V.E. method that expands on the following attributes of great customer service.
- Simplicity – Simplicity is the foundational element of all great customer service experiences. Simplicity for a customer service organization means reduced complexities of the systems that are used by the customer service personnel and quick access to customer data, analytics, and well-designed business processes.
- Efficiency – Efficiency is simplicity scaled. When common bottlenecks and complexities have been weeded out of a customer service experience, efficiency comes alive. Efficiency for a customer service organization means continuous evolution of systems and processes that are lean and integrated.
- Repeatability – Repeatability is an attribute of consistency and is achieved when a customer service organization channels its efficiency gains to deliver consistent experiences. Repeatability for the customer means having the confidence and trust that a great support experience will be delivered post-purchase (or even during the purchase).
- Versatility – Versatility is an attribute of delivering a support service that engages customers across many interaction channels and creating a community of customers across social media channels and forums. Versatility to a customer is the ability to be heard on a channel of his/her choice, and the ability to seek out the collective intelligence of the customer/user community.
- Excellence – Excellence for a customer service organization means striving to perfect every part of the customer service experience journey. It is about taking the support organization to heights where employees don’t differentiate between a sales and support interaction and all interactions exceed customer’s expectations. Every interaction is deemed priceless and an opportunity to shape the future of the company’s products and services.
The S.E.R.V.E. method is shared by Ravindran Gangadharan.
The L.E.A.S.T Method has many variations, others are called L.A.S.T. and is touted by numerous companies and customer service experts. This version comes from RTO.
- Listen – To show that you’re actively listening to your customer, repeat their concern: “I understand the service mechanic hasn’t arrived at your house yet.”
- Empathize – Show genuine concern while putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.
- Apologize: A sincere “I’m sorry” goes a long way. “I’m sorry this happened. I’m happy to help fix it.”
- Solve – Find a solution as best you can. You may not be able to completely solve the customer’s problem right that minute but moving toward a solution is often enough. “The mechanic’s earlier appointment is taking longer than expected. Let me see if there is another mechanic available who can come over soon. Will that be OK?”
- Thank – Thank customers for bringing the problem to your attention and for simply being a customer. “Thank you for letting us know so we can get this corrected.”
I had to leave you with a few more CS tidbits. This one is from John DiJulius. best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker, and President of The DiJulius Group. He says, “Create an emotional connection with the customer. Then, you’re able to create the feeling that they’re a part of a community.” Use his 5 E’s.
*The 5 E’s of Genuine Hospitality
- Eye Contact
- Enthusiastic Greeting
- Ear-to-ear Smile
Hotelier and customer service expert, Bill Quiseng shares this next bonus tip, the “3 P’s of Customer Service”. It’s so easy to implement and he asks that we deliver them consistently to every customer.
*The 3 P’s of Customer Service
We’ve all heard this one.
Don’t dazzle your customers with your brilliance. Make it easy (simple) for your customers to do business with you.
*D.I.R.F.T. stands for Do It Right the First Time
As you can see, these top 10 customer service acronyms, some may call them “customer service mnemonics”, have one thing in common; to help you find the best way to serve the customer. It’s up to you to determine which one applies best to your company, your style, and your approach to service. Then train your team to remember them and use them as needed.