The 5 “A”s of Customer Service

What makes a repeatable Customer Service model?

The last time you found a broken customer service process (probably, as a frustrated customer), did any one part of the conversation or interaction really stick out?

Customer service is tricky, because trying to explain to someone how to do it well is a combination of process (what are you doing; and how are you doing it; and what are the order of the steps) and feel (how are you feeling; how are you assessing what and how the customer is feeling; and how do you react inituitively.) It’s easy to get it wrong, yet most people easily identify when customer service is doing right by the customer.

In this presentation, I tried to make a simple model that can be adapted to many different customer service situations. It’s not a call flow model (but it could be used for one); and it’s not a multi-channel guide that helps you when customers are contacting you in multiple places at once. But it should give you a pretty good idea of what to do when people contact you to make them feel heard; to accurately capture the issue; and to allow the organization to adjust and change in response to the customer’s suggestion.

The “A” are as follows:

  1. Acknowledge – let the customer know you’ve heard them
  2. Apologize (if necessary) – offer a sincere apology if necessary
  3. Answer (and ask) – offer a potential solution, ask for more information, and restate the issue
  4. Analyze – determine the root cause if the initial solution didn’t resolve the issue
  5. Adjust – based on what you’ve learned, propose changes
I hope you find this model useful – here’s a presentation sharing the ideas in a bit more depth – and I’d love to hear your comments as well.

Building a Better Customer Experience

Since I started my current role as a Customer Experience Manager in October 2008, many people have asked me “what’s customer experience and how do you deliver it?” Aside from cheeky remarks like “I ensure customer delight”, I didn’t have a good answer.

So I wrote this presentation to help answer the question:

I’d love to get your feedback, to hear whether you agree with me or not, and to hear any suggestions for improving the customer experience.

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