Why The First Customer Service Impression Matters
When it comes to customer service there’s a lot of talk about strategies and tools. Even though they are essential to delivering a seamless omnichannel experience, there is another aspect to be considered: the quality of conversations. Taking care of each one of them is paramount in order to let the customer love your brand. So, since the first customer service impression matters, let’s dive into its facets.
Real Story of a First Customer Service Impression
Last Friday, I went to meet a client here in Milan. As I arrived some minutes early, I decided to have my second espresso of the day. Picture this: it was 8:30am and this tiny bar was packed with 20-30 people rubbing shoulders one another, trying to get their espresso as soon as possible. Even though the two bartenders were very fast, they could barely serve all customers on time. Important: when we say ‘on time’ we refer to the customer’s perception. And that is subjective! In fact, one of them, after a 5 minute wait, complained saying ‘I’m still waiting for my espresso!’.
That’s the typical moment of truth because: you are under stress → your customer already got nervous → your answer will be public (physically in a bar or virtually across social channels) → this is THE first customer service impression that will make it or break it.
Back to the story, guess how it ended up? The barman replied to the customer ‘I’m working, you have to wait like all others!’ with an aggressive tone. As you can imagine, the customer got really angry, he yelled some bad words (we’re in Italy) and left the bar.
- End of the story: this bar lost a customer and made a very bad impression to many others.
- Moral: if your support agents or assistants are not resilient, they will react impulsively when under pressure. They will add fuel to the fire, instead of promptly solving the issue.
What You Assume vs What The Customer Perceives
You are a customer. When you enter a store or visit a website or interact via digital channels you immediately have your first impression of a brand. Did you easily find the information you were looking for? Was the assistant friendly? Did s/he carefully listen to your question? Accordingly, did s/he reply in a clear and effective way?
Like it or not, there are still too many brands not listening or learning from such customer feedback. Therefore they wrongly give more importance to their assumptions because they think they really know what their customers think about them. The problem is, they don’t!
Over To You
In order to prevent this delivery gap, you need to take action on two levels:
- Build your own customer service ethics – i.e. the moral principles that govern your company’s conduct with your customers (potential, current or ex). Here’ a great article by Userlike about this topic to learn from.
- Focus on people that provide support to your customers – that means training your agents and empowering them in order to meet and exceed customer’s expectations. You can read more here.
Have great conversations.
If you’d like some consulting or other help with your customer service, please contact us
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