I’ve written here before about the effect that one person’s thank you had on me (thank you, Brad Feld!) I believe that “The Thank You Effect” is an example of a small action that prompts meaningful next steps to measurably improve service in any company. In my experience, there are a number of these small actions that when evangelized through a support team or through the larger company can really make a difference on the customer experience.
So I made a list of 50 small things that you can do to improve customer service measurably in your company. I’m not a purist, so some of these things might be “bigger than a bread box” – or need to be broken down into component steps – and aren’t quite ready to be measured on their own. And I do believe that adding only some of these steps will really improve the service culture at your company.
50 Small Things to Improve Customer Service
- When in doubt, be nice.
- Say “Thank you” in your response.
- Suggest a solution to the problem at hand in addition to asking for more information.
- Offer to provide additional assistance – email or call back.
- Commit random acts of kindness and deliver Customer Wow (Be More Awesome.)
- Follow up after an issue has been resolved and let the customer know you haven’t forgotten them.
- Come up with a list of the top 10 “cringe items” to fix.
- Drop everything and fix them.
- Implement standard responses for the 20% of cases you encounter 80% of the time.
- Reduce the number of clicks it takes to do something important in your app.
- Place more “closed question” choices inside your application and reduce decision fatigue.
- Identify the top 10 highest rated and lowest rated knowledge base articles that your customers use, and rewrite them on a content calendar.
- Review searches that result in zero results in your knowledge base.
- Define what it means to “love the product”: how does your service tangibly change a customer’s life and what problems does it solve?
- Define the lifecycle of a customer case – what are the stages, and how does a case move from stage to stage?
- Make sure that one person owns the customer’s case throughout the lifetime of that case.
- Create a report (shared widely within the company at an interval that makes sense to you, probably weekly) with positive and negative customer comments.
- Catch people in your organization doing something right.
- Identify cases that drive new knowledge content, revision in existing knowledge content, or removal of knowledge content.
- Put an expiration date on knowledge content (good, review, remove.)
- Define customer segments and decide whether they deserve extra attention – then make that part of your service process.
- Create a clear escalation path and understand how many cases are in a state of escalation.
- Define customers that have custom solutions and make sure it’s easy to find why they’re custom.
- Create a simple data driven measurement to determine whether a customer is likely to churn.
- Maintain relationships with top customers and talk to them on a schedule – they should probably hear from you at least once a month.
- Define simple goals that everyone can measure and do to improve service, even if it’s outside of their “job description”, e.g. “answer 5 customer emails/day”
- Try whatever you’re doing from the customer’s point of view; then observe the customer doing it with your mouth shut and your ears open.
- Be able to deliver a 2 minute demo of the key differentiators and benefits of your product.
- Respond as fast as you can, and if you don’t know the answer, say so. If you can’t solve the problem and will let the customer know when it’s going to be solved, do so. And if it’s unlikely that you’ll ever solve the problem, say so.
- Send physical thank you notes by “snail mail” to your customers.
- Eat your own dog food, drink your own champagne, and use your own product every day.
- Provide off-hours support by email, pager, or smoke signal. (Probably not by smoke signal.)
- Have lots of ways to be contacted (whichever way the customer prefers) and funnel all of those inbound contacts into one place.
- Get more sleep and make it easy for your team to eat breakfast.
- Ask your customers what gifts you should buy for a friend – you’ll learn more about what they like.
- Stack rank your projects internally and limit the amount of active projects to force decisions.
- Have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal as your North Star.
- Build Bench Strength of Amazing People with Different Strengths.
- Share some interesting content with customers every day.
- Ask customers, employees, and partners: “how can we do better”?
- Ask daily or weekly: “what’s one thing that we should change?”
- Ask daily or weekly: “what’s one thing we should stop doing?”
- Ask daily or weekly: “what’s one thing we should start doing?”
- Find other people who care about customers and talk to them.
- When in doubt, beg forgiveness rather than ask permission and just do the right thing.
- Go home and hug your dog, your kids, and/or your significant other more often.
- Take more walks during the day.
- Spend more time being passionate about the causes and things you love.
- When you find a new rule that helps the customer, write it down and share it.
- #Go for it.
I’m going to use this as an anchor post for other items I write about the Thank You Effect, and I’d love to hear any ideas you have about measuring and improving the customer experience (in a service business or otherwise.)
Greg, great list, powerful stuff. Awesome things to keep in mind for any organization. Thank you!
John – thanks for the kind words.
Fantastic stuff Greg, thanks for sharing 🙂 Do you have any that are daily habits?
Thanks! Key daily habits include asking for what you should start; what you should stop; what you should change, and making sure to thank people for communicating. You should also respond as fast as possible – responding that you don’t have time to talk is an acceptable response 😉
Really powerful ideas here. I take a lot of pride in my company’s knowledge base, but hadn’t thought of 12 or 13–going to implement them right now. Thank you, Greg!
Reblogged this on Kristy Graves and commented:
Nice post & good reminders from Greg Meyer.
Greg, Just found your slides for the Thank You Effect on HaikuDeck. LOVE it!