The recent research from The Belding Group identified that the single most important factor in creating positive word of mouth is to take ownership in customer service situations. This was the common element in 86.7% of the time. The study also identified that, when we take ownership over customer service situations, customers are more likely to perceive that you actually care about them.
But what does ‘taking ownership’ really mean, and what does it look like?
Here Are A Few Examples Of Taking Ownership In Customer Service
- Empathize With A Personal Journey: When a customer comes to you because an item they purchased isn’t working properly, don’t just say, “That’s too bad.” Let them know you understand their feelings on a personal level with something like, “Oh no! There is nothing more frustrating than buying something, getting it home, only to find out it doesn’t work!”
- Don’t Take The Easy Way: It’s way to easy to just say to yourself, “that’s the customer’s problem, not mine,” and leave them on their own to solve it. Take it the next step. I had a great example of this just last week. I showed up to a Marriott Courtyard in Mississauga only to find out that I had accidently booked my reservation for the following month. To make matters worse, the hotel had no rooms left. Rather than just leave me in the lurch, the employee immediately picked up the phone and began searching nearby hotels. It was my problem, but she chose to make it her problem as well!)
- Be A Resource: You could just say, “I don’t know anything about that.” Or, you could say, “Let me check to see if anyone else here might know the answer.”
- Tell The What You Can Do: When you have to say ‘no’ to a customer, or absolutely aren’t able to give them what they want, make a point to tell them what you can do for them. For example, instead of saying, “No, that’s not covered under your warranty,” you could say, “Unfortunately, that’s not covered by the warranty, but let me talk with someone to see if we can find a cost-effective way of getting it repaired for you.”
It is amazing how memorable these kinds of experiences are. Taking ownership does take a little more time and energy, but the payoff is huge.
If you are leading a customer service team, you may want to take a look at the Applying The Science Of WOW whitepaper for tips on creating a sustainable customer service culture.