When it comes to customer service, all you need is love - or should we say L.O.V.E.
That was the main lesson preached by contact center Hazel Shakur in her recent seminar at Intelligent Office of Alexandria. The seminar was targeted at Member Service and Communications personnel from trade associations.
Hazel shared a statistic produced by the American Society of Association Executives, that associations have an average retention rate of 88%. That sounds pretty good, but it also means that they lose 12% of their members every year. Many of those losses could be saved with a little L.O.V.E.
What is L.O.V.E.? Laughter, Organization, Value, and Empathy. It’s all about answering the phones.
Laughter really means “smile!” Hazel demonstrated how a smile physically changes the mechanics of the voice. We closed our eyes, and we could hear the difference between a smiling “hello” and a neutral “hello.” “The members don’t care that it’s the end of a long day for your customer service representative,” Hazel cautioned. "They expect a warm greeting, a friendly hello.” No cackling, maniacal laughs, though, please; Hazel loves acronyms and laughter was the closest she could come to “smile” to make the whole concept work.
Organization means that the rep should have a simple process to take care of issues. Whatever that process is, it should be consistent for all representatives and it should be designed so that the representative can take care of as many issues as possible. Take control of the call and your caller will feel like they are in competent hands.
Value means that the member should feel important. Listen to their issues, and design moments in the call to express your appreciation for their patronage. “The caller should never feel like they are interrupting their day,” says Hazel. "They need to feel like you appreciate them.”
Empathy means you understand how they feel. The reality is that most people do not like to take the time to call a customer service center these days. So by the time they pick up the phone, they might be feeling frustrated, confused, or otherwise irritated by something, fairly or not. Make sure they know you understand that their feelings are legitimate.
Put all those pieces together, show your members or customers a little L.O.V.E, and you may find that you keep those members or customers for longer than you expected.
We thank Hazel Shakur for sharing her insights, and we invite you to join us for one of our future seminars.