Recently, after a night on the town, I decided to order my first Uber ride. I had always been a skeptic – opting for taxis, buses, or, more often than not, exploiting my loved ones for late night transportation. My nervous anticipation for the potential stranger danger and/or forced, awkward small talk was quickly remedied at the arrival of my Uber.
Sporting a suit and a warm smile, the driver got the door for me, offered bottle water, and provided gum and mints to all persons in my party. The conversation was easy and comfortable, saturated with deep-belly laughs and the inescapable feeling that this person was actually being authentic. I arrived home safely, having more leftover money in my pocket than a taxi would afford, and the notion that I had fully hopped onto the Uber bandwagon.
OK, so why am I telling you this?
Because Uber is killing it with the customer service. It is not that the other transportation services I previously utilized had bad customer service, but they did not focus on the details that really make all the difference for a customer’s experience.
This lead me to do some investigative work on what little things other small businesses are providing for their people. My favorite find: a Forbes Article that provides a unique list (and who doesn’t love lists?!) chock-full of ideas on how to go above and beyond. I also found a Customer Think Blog Post that lists awesome customer service policies that could really set your business apart. I decided to include some of my favorites, as well as a few things we do over here at FluentStream to make our people feel appreciated.
- Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity. I am writing this one three times, and giving it the number one spot, so you know I mean business. More than anything, your customers want to feel like they are dealing with real people who also really care. This means overcompensating for mistakes, hiring people who fully get behind what you’re doing, and making your customer relations as personalized as possible.
- Curate your online presence. You are probably thinking: “How does this relate to customer service at all?” and I will tell you, it is absolutely essential. A recent J.D. Power Study showed that 67 percent of the company’s customers used their social media for service-related purposes. More than that? Each social media site can target a different demographic that will extend your reach and strengthen existing relations, by going to them instead of making them come to you. An user-friendly Facebook page takes little effort to make, and goes a LONG way in the eyes of your social media savvy customers.
- Make painful stuff as painless as possible. At Fluentstream we pride ourselves on having the best customer support system possible. On a Previous Blog Post we shared some of the developments we’ve made to make our customers feel heard, respected, and informed during the customer support process. Not to mention a wait-time average of 7 seconds…
- The tried and true. That’s right people, as my father told me and all the fathers before him told theirs, look them in their eye and shake their hand. It makes a difference if you do, and it really makes a difference if you don’t.
- Make your team feel all warm and fuzzy inside. When your team feels the love, they are going to do a lot better at making your customers feel it too. And hey, they probably deserve it. One way to do this: send out a survey to your team and ask them what their favorites are – beers, local hangouts, Sunday activities, baked goods. The options are endless. This way, when you want to show some gratitude you will have a personalized gift registry for each team member.
- Celebrate – it’s Tuesday. So you do not have to celebrate on every day that ends with the letter “y”, but you also don’t need to save your dancing shoes for the big stuff. Celebrate the smaller accomplishments as well. Maybe your company had an especially lucrative week. Surprise your team Monday morning with doughnuts and coffee. Or, maybe you just added some new people to your team. Organize a social event to celebrate your newbies. Open tab at the local pub Friday night? Office morale is sure to rise.
- Real connections really matter. So you don’t need more people on your team now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t look out for your future self. Companies like Upwork hook you up with freelancers for positions you don’t need permanently filled, but hey, you never know what your business will look like in 3 months so keep those connections alive.
- Real connections really matter pt. 2 – customer edition. Your customers are, in fact, real humans. More so, if they are your customers and support your brainchild (read: business), they are probably pretty cool. You can send quarterly thank you emails, personalize thank you’s to your most avid patrons, and use Send Out Cards to stay on top of your growing network.
- Do NOT give people what they don’t want. This should be a no brainer. I am sure many of you will skip this point because it seems like common sense, but hear me out. How many times are you on the hunt for a service or product but it (1) isn’t exactly what you need, (2) is not malleable to the needs of the customer, or (3) along with the stuff you DO need, it gives you a bunch of stuff you DON’T need. We’ve all been there. At Fluent Stream we decided to do something about this. You can see on both our Solutions by Industry and Pricing pages that our services are adaptive and put our clients needs as a priority. Check them out!
- Be human. As you have probably figured out by now, the common thread through all points in this list, is humanity. People like to be treated like people. From the smallest things, like having breath mints in an Uber vehicle to the bigger things, like taking the time to send out a personalized thank you note to a great customer. These little things can set you apart from the competition because, more than anything, it shows that you care about your people. A little dose of humanity goes a long way.