Coming into Customer Service interactions, preparation is crucial. With the right prep, you come across as a true professional and leave a great impression, allowing you to connect with your customer and align on shared objectives.
What to Research
Think about what you can share with your customer to help them enjoy your company’s product or service in a way that adds value to them. This should drive your preparation. Focus on how you can add value and what you can share with them to that effect.
That said, a common mistake Customer Service representatives make is to focus their research too much on the customer. While it’s important to know who you’re speaking to and about the company if it’s relevant, you should also be an expert in your company’s products and policies.
Position yourself as a subject-matter expert in your company. Spend time reading up about your company, new products you’re launching, and interesting use-cases that might work in different industries. Also focus on the ecosystem your business operates in, and keep up to date with relevant laws or regulations that might be relevant to the customers you’re speaking with. Explore how different industries are using similar solutions as yours. This background knowledge will help you quickly connect the dots and identify new ways to add value to your customer.
The 4 Focus Areas
I’ve found these 4 focus areas helpful in structuring my research to make sure I have all my bases covered before I interact with a customer. The four focus areas are: Company, Attendee, Agenda, and Test. Let’s go through each of these.
Company Make sure you look into the company your customer is with, if it’s relevant. Deep dive into how they’re using your product or what challenges they might be facing.
Attendee Research the person you’re speaking to. Adding little details will help you add personalization to the interaction and will spark delight in your customer. For instance, when researching a customer, I realized he was an engineer. It so happened that I was speaking to him on Engineer’s Day, so I began my interaction by wishing him. Needless to say, he was pleased that I’d put the effort to find out about him before our conversation.
That said, stick to LinkedIn or other professional channels for your research. Don’t look at Facebook or Instagram, as referencing information you’ve gathered from those channels will come across as creepy. We don’t want that!
Agenda Think about how to structure your interaction with the customer. What are some key points you want to cover, and how can you steer the conversation in an authentic way? Without a clear agenda, your conversation will go all over the place, and you might reach the end of your time without meeting any of your objectives. Outlining an agenda and sharing that with your customer at the start of the call will make sure you’re both on the same page throughout.
Test Online tools fail sometimes. Make sure that you’ve tested the communication channel ahead of time so that you don’t face unexpected delays on the day of the meeting. This gives you a buffer to resolve any tech issues and create a smooth experience for your customer.
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National Head of Customer Service, Enterprise Business
Vodafone Idea Limited