11 Ways To Delight Your Customers AND Keep Your Mind Sound

Yeah, yeah.

The gurus tell you to love your customers.

But sometimes customers aren’t so lovable. They’re lazy. Impatient. And they bother you with questions that are answered on your website. Are they stupid?

When listening to complaints and silly questions it’s hard to keep your cool and your sanity. I know that! In our team it’s me who answers emails and calls.

But see the light at the end of the tunnel. You can turn it around and make it a positive experience for both your customer and company.

Ready?

Customer Support With Love

I am a customer success manager at Antavo and my aim is to make sure our customers can use our product effectively and with ease. We build an online marketing tool for smart marketers doing social media and email marketing.

While working with Antavo I realized that customer service is not much different when you sell to companies or to consumers.

Because in the end you talk with people.

Here is my own checklist to stay calm. This list inspired the post you are reading now.

Here is my own checklist to stay calm. This list inspired the post you are reading now.

Now I try to stick to my own guidelines. It’s a process! (That means that it’s not easy.)

Here are my guiding principles for customer support. I am sure these will help you too.

#1. Believe That The Customer Is Always Right

Even when they are not.

Have you ever thought that “Duh, it’s a stupid question” or “Isn’t it obvious?”.

Well, customers don’t talk to you because they want to read your charming words or hear your silky voice. They actually need something.

(Or they are lazy.)

You always have to see things from their point of view, assure them that you understand their frustration, and you are willing to help.

In the long run these questions can help you to do your marketing better. You will know when the questions arise, and answer them right away.

After you have done everything, and they are shocked by your kindness, you might even receive something like this below.

Our customer managed to solve her issue and apologized for her previous messages. Being nice pays off every time!

Our customer managed to solve her issue and apologized for her previous messages. Being nice pays off every time!

#2. Count to Ten Before Answering

I never ever answer a question when my pulse is above normal..

Yes! Customers are blah sometimes. But you are a professional.

Taking some time for yourself before you answer will help you to collect your thoughts. Take a break, grab a coffee or read a previous positive feedback – I always bookmark a few for these moments.

Keep calm and… just keep calm.

Keep calm and… just keep calm.

#3. Be Empathizing

Understanding the emotions of your customer is critical. You need to let your customer know that you understand his feelings, and be apologetic about his dissatisfaction.

As Gregory Ciotti says on the HelpScout Blog:

People care about others empathizing with their situation, which is why apologies can be given out liberally—even if an employee didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not about placing blame; it’s about letting a customer know that you are personally apologetic that their experience didn’t live up to their expectations.

He says that you can’t control a customer’s reaction, but you can influence it.

This is why this second option is much better than the first one:

1. Sorry you are having issues. Let’s get that fixed for you.
2. I’m very sorry about that! I know how disappointing that must be, and I’d like to make things right by…

By showing empathy you make sure you feel what your customer feels.

Our customer had trouble setting up her campaign so I helped her (empathized with her pain even though we didn’t do anything wrong). She sent this thank-you message afterwards.

Our customer had trouble setting up her campaign so I helped her (empathized with her pain even though we didn’t do anything wrong). She sent this thank-you message afterwards.

#4. It’s Okay To Have Limits

There are cases when you are not able to help or do not want to help. In such cases you need to find a nice way to express it.

Never lie about what you can or can’t do. If you know someone who may be able to help, connect your customer with that person.

I loved how Groove was super nice saying “no” to a customer asking for a discount.

Groove is a customer support tool. They know how to handle their own, for sure!

Groove is a customer support tool. They know how to handle their own, for sure!

#5. Ask A Colleague For Another Perspective

When talking to our customers I am in constant conversations with our developers. Most of the time they are the ones who can answer my questions, but I am better at putting it nicely to the customer.

Sometimes I need help, because I feel a conversation is getting out of control. When this happens I ask Andy, our Head of Sales.

We use Intercom.io for customer support, so I can simply assign the conversation to Andy.

It’s okay to ask your colleague who has more experience than you, don’t be shy about it!

The conversation got to the point where I needed a more experienced colleague to pour oil on troubled waters.

The conversation got to the point where I needed a more experienced colleague to pour oil on troubled waters.

#6. Track Feedbacks And Follow Up

Most of the time I close my email with an open question to make it easy for your customer to reply. I use terms like: “Did you manage to do it?” or “Was my answer helpful?”

These questions help us to gather fundamental feedback from customers. They come up with feature requests that set our development pipeline in the right direction.

Here is how we track feature requests – see the image below. Once we release the sought after feature we follow up. Customers are always happy to get what they wanted (moreover, without an extra fee) and pleased about the personal message.

We track the requested features. We always tell customers when their desired function is released.

We track the requested features. We always tell customers when their desired function is released.

#7. Accept It. You Are An Interpreter

How did you feel last time when you purchased a phone or a TV? They have these product descriptions with all the features. Plasma, blu-ray, LCD, LED, LOL!

When doing customer support you are actually translating the features of your product to the benefits. See, it’s essential.

You have to know your product inside and out, and be able to speak about it in a language people understand.

He is Gabor, CTO of Antavo who is one of the greatest minds I ever met, but he can’t talk “customer”. I translate his „features” and „functions” to „benefits”.

He is Gabor, CTO of Antavo who is one of the greatest minds I ever met, but he can’t talk “customer”. I translate his „features” and „functions” to „benefits”.

#8. They Hate The Problem, Not You. Never Take Anything Personally

Unless it is a compliment, then you definitely should! Haha!

People don’t hate you. You know that? Simply you are the person they can talk to, and well, they have pain.

Try to give them answers, do your best, and… surprise! Among some sour ones a new nice feedback just came from nowhere, feels good, doesn’t it?

Just two of my favorite feedbacks from awesome customers. We always forward these to the Antavo team.

Just two of my favorite feedbacks from awesome customers. We always forward these to the Antavo team.

#9. Mistakes Happen

Mistakes happen. Don’t make the same again.

Here is a quick and sad story from our company. In the early days of Antavo we had a server downtime when we lost customer data. It was terrible. We called everyone one by one and managed to turn it into a good experience. (The team didn’t sleep for days though.)

Admit mistakes. It will never make you less credible, but only more trustworthy.

Just like Buffer did it. Buffer, the social sharing app was recently hacked, and they handled the situation in an honest and open way. I hope you will never need such a crisis communication, but if you once will, do it like them.

Buffer talked about the unfortunate event in detail. It was their fault; they admitted it and made sure that it won’t happen again.

Buffer talked about the unfortunate event in detail. It was their fault; they admitted it and made sure that it won’t happen again.

#10. Do Not Overpromise Even Though You Would Love To

Whilst admitting your limits, you should never lie about what you will do.

Never tell a customer something that you will never do. It is okay to say no, you just have to do it gently.

Our customer asked for a feature that was not available. But we loved his idea, so we added it to our development pipeline.

Our customer asked for a feature that was not available. But we loved his idea, so we added it to our development pipeline.

#11. Be Yourself

When you are emailing with your utility provider it’s hard to believe that there is an actual person sitting there, right? Isn’t that a machine talking jargon?

You can do it better. Your customer service can be personal, it can be you. It’s okay to sign your email with your first name or use emoticons, because people use emoticons all the time. 😉

We show our smiley faces even on the “Knowledge Base” of Antavo. This is where our customers head first when they have a question, and then they can contact us.

We show our smiley faces even on the “Knowledge Base” of Antavo. This is where our customers head first when they have a question, and then they can contact us.

The Watchful Barista in Málaga

I had an experience some years ago that set the bar for me on how I want to deal with our customers.

I spent some wonderful weeks in Málaga, Spain. We visited the same coffee shop every day after lunch, and on the 4th day the barista already knew my favorite. “Your latte with brown sugar and cinnamon?” He had hundreds of guests going into his shop, be he remembered how I take my coffee. I will never forget.

This is Zsuzsi Szabo, Antavo’s CMO with Terra Zahn, Marketing Coordinator at Dakotacare. Terra is Antavo’s customer, and they met at the Social Media Marketing World conference. Antavo has an online product, but we meet customers personally whenever we can.

This is Zsuzsi Szabo, Antavo’s CMO with Terra Zahn, Marketing Coordinator at Dakotacare. Terra is Antavo’s customer, and they met at the Social Media Marketing World conference. Antavo has an online product, but we meet customers personally whenever we can.

How To Make It Memorable?

Do you think you can make your customer’s experience memorable just like that barista in Málaga?

I am sure you can. Openness, friendliness and staying human helps.

I find point #8. the hardest. After a series of furious emails it’s hard not to take it personally. I feel it’s the end of the word, but then I look at our happy customers and calm down.

It’s not easy to love your customers. Especially when they are lazy.

But you know their feedback can help, they pay you money, thank you for helping, ask smart questions and smile. They are quite loveable after all.

11 Ways To Delight Your Customers AND Keep Your Mind Sound by
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Vanda Cornea

Vanda is a Customer Success Manager at Antavo, a marketing tool to create sweepstakes, contests and giveaways. She supports Antavo's customers on three languages, and knows what you need before you think about it.

Latest posts by Vanda Cornea (see all)

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  • Pingback: 11 Ways To Delight Your Customers AND Keep Your...()

  • http://www.antoniocalero.com/ Antonio Calero

    Nice article Vanda, which could you summarised in one of your first sentences: we talk with people.

    Great (and obvious) truth that however gets forgotten too often by many. So your article comes up as a handy reminder for those businesses. Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

      Antonio, Vanda put it well, and we are so happy to have her. She know that she talks *with* people (not “to” people) every time she answers an email or picks up the phone.

  • http://www.flaviafurtos.com Fla’Fla’

    This was a great read. Thank you, it was very helpfull!.

    • http://www.antavo.com/ Zsuzsa Szabo

      I am glad Flavia :)

  • Rifle Scott

    Great way to show your skills by this combination of text and pictures with infografics, like it much

    • http://www.fullmoon88chan.extra.hu/blog/ Timi Garai

      Hi Scott, Thank you so much! We are glad that you have liked it.