Customer Service Masterclass: Turn Buyers Into Raving Fans | Brad Merrill | Skillshare
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Customer Service Masterclass: Turn Buyers Into Raving Fans

teacher avatar Brad Merrill, Media Entrepreneur

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome!

      4:20

    • 2.

      How To Get The Most Out Of This Course

      0:54

    • 3.

      What Is Customer Service?

      3:19

    • 4.

      Why Does Customer Service Matter?

      3:09

    • 5.

      The Foundations of Exceptional Customer Service

      0:17

    • 6.

      [Foundations] Getting To Know Your Customers

      3:55

    • 7.

      [Foundations] How Well Does Everyone Else Know Your Customers?

      1:47

    • 8.

      [Foundations] The Importance Of Knowing Your Product

      1:09

    • 9.

      [Foundations] Your Brand Voice

      1:36

    • 10.

      [Foundations] Customer Service Communication Channels

      6:51

    • 11.

      The Importance of Effective Communication

      0:20

    • 12.

      [Communication] Improving Your Listening Skills

      3:44

    • 13.

      [Communication] Friendliness In Customer Service

      2:25

    • 14.

      [Communication] Optimizing Your Appearance & Body Language

      5:36

    • 15.

      [Communication] Mastering Your Voice

      3:52

    • 16.

      [Communication] Words & Phrases To Use (Or Avoid Using) With Customers

      7:13

    • 17.

      Proactive Customer Service

      0:41

    • 18.

      [Proactive] The Most Important Aspect Of Proactive Service

      1:32

    • 19.

      [Proactive] Building Customer Service Into Your Systems

      5:26

    • 20.

      [Proactive] Help Your Customers Help Themselves

      2:20

    • 21.

      [Proactive] Checking In With Customers

      1:56

    • 22.

      [Proactive] Using Social Media To Delight Your Customers

      3:32

    • 23.

      [Proactive] A Better Way To Handle Mistakes

      1:40

    • 24.

      [Proactive] Going Above And Beyond For Your Customers

      3:27

    • 25.

      Reactive Customer Service

      0:37

    • 26.

      [Reactive] Don't Keep Them Waiting

      1:39

    • 27.

      [Reactive] A Reminder To Listen

      1:34

    • 28.

      [Reactive] How To Apologize To Customers Effectively

      6:45

    • 29.

      [Reactive] How To Turn Unhappy Customers Into Lifelong Fans

      4:39

    • 30.

      Customer Service Examples

      0:45

    • 31.

      Example #1

      2:56

    • 32.

      Example #2

      2:06

    • 33.

      Example #3

      2:53

    • 34.

      Example #4

      1:13

    • 35.

      Mental Health In Customer Service

      6:18

    • 36.

      Reviewing Key Concepts

      4:57

    • 37.

      Wrapping Up

      0:38

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About This Class

Welcome to the Customer Service Masterclass, your guide to delivering exceptional customer experiences and turning casual buyers into raving fans.

Customer service has never been more important. In the digital age, one bad customer experience can have a devastating impact on your brand’s reputation.

But the reverse is also true: by consistently overdelivering on expectations, you’ll have customers singing your praises and driving powerful word-of-mouth marketing in no time.

Designed for both customer service professionals and other teams within your organization, this course takes a uniquely holistic approach to customer service, encouraging company-wide awareness of customer needs.

Here are some of the things we’ll cover:

  • Customer Service Fundamentals: Understand the basics of customer service and why it’s so important in today’s world.

  • Foundations of Exceptional Customer Service: A few basic principles you’ll want to master before interacting with customers.

  • Communication Skills: Strategies for communicating effectively with customers, including listening skills, body language, and even specific words and phrases that you may want to use (or avoid using) to make every interaction more positive and productive.

  • Proactive Customer Service: Learn what it takes to optimize the experience and proactively delight the customer before they ever reach out to you.

  • Reactive Customer Service: Respond to customer inquiries like a pro and solve problems in a way that leaves the customer satisfied and impressed, turning any negative emotions into positive ones.

  • Customer Service Examples: Draw inspiration and learn from a collection of real-world customer service stories.

  • Mental Health: A few tips for approaching customer service in a way that is both healthy and rewarding for you as a human being.

After this course, you should walk away with a high-level understanding of what it takes to deliver outstanding customer service in the modern world. You can use this knowledge to improve your own business, or to boost your customer service career with your current or future employer.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Brad Merrill

Media Entrepreneur

Teacher

Brad Merrill is the CEO of Merrill Media, a modern holding company focused on building independent, scalable businesses at the intersection of technology and media. He is regarded as an expert in his field, teaching business and technology courses to more than 100,000 students and providing marketing training to a number of prominent startups and Fortune 500 companies.

Merrill considers himself a passionate creative: he loves creating articles, videos, websites, companies, workflows, and new ideas. He has been creating things on the web since 2007, working on dozens of projects and reaching tens of millions of people in the process.

In 2010, Merrill founded VentureBreak, which became a leading source of news about innovation for forward-thinking entrepreneurs, investo... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Welcome!: Hello and welcome to the course. My name is Brad Merrill. I will be your instructor and I'm so excited that you decided to join me to learn about exceptional customer service. This course draws from my experience building and consulting with businesses across multiple industries over the course of the last decade plus. And really going all the way back to where I started my career, which was providing customer service for a large jewelry company. These days, I'm interacting with thousands of customers through my digital media company and always trying to deliver exceptional service. The goal here is to provide you with a high level understanding of what good customer service looks like. Modern world, it's both philosophical and practical. We're going to cover the overarching principles of customer service, as well as some more actionable strategies to implement those principles. Of course, with plenty of examples along the way. Now, who is this course for? The obvious answer would be anyone working in customer service. But this is also for small business owners, startup teams, and even people working in other departments of a larger organization. Because as you'll see, I'm a huge proponent of baking customer service into the DNA of the entire company. After all, the entire company only exists to serve customers, right? So if we can get everyone on the same page and working together to provide a positive customer experience that is gonna do wonders for the company as a whole. And as I'm sure you're aware, the stakes here are higher than they've ever been. One bad customer experience shared online can have a nasty impact on your brand's reputation. But the reverse is also true when you become known for consistently delivering outstanding service. That's going to build a lot of strong customer relationships and bring a lot of new people into your business. So whether you're a customer service representative, a startup founder, or just someone looking to boost their skills for their next role. You're going to find a lot of value in this course. Specifically, here are some of the things we're going to cover. We'll start with the basic fundamentals of customer service. We'll talk about what it is, why it matters, and how it looks different in the digital age compared to years past. We'll then talk about some of the foundations of good customer service. Some basic things you want to get right from the start to make sure you're prepared for the more actionable stuff. Then we're going to dive into some of the most important communication skills that you need in customer service. Things like listening skills, body language, even specific words and phrases that you may want to use or avoid using to make every interaction more positive and productive. From there, we'll move into actually providing service. And we're going to cover this from two distinct angles, proactive customer service and reactive customer service. Proactive customer service is everything you do to optimize the experience and proactively delight the customer before they ever ask for anything. Reactive customer service is where you're responding to customer inquiries and you'll learn how to do so in a way that leaves the customer satisfied and impressed, turning any negative emotions into positive ones. Towards the end of the course, you'll find a collection of stories and examples that sort of illustrate the principles we cover in the lectures and will also take some time at the end to discuss mental health and how to approach customer service in a way that is both healthy and rewarding for you as a human being. You'll notice that throughout the course there's a great deal of emphasis on exceeding expectations, going above and beyond for the customer where possible, and overcorrecting any mistakes. I believe this is the key to standing out from the competition. And I mean that both at a company level where you're competing with other brands in your industry. And on an individual level, if you're looking for a new role in customer service, possessing the skills is going to set you apart and make you the right candidate for the job. So with all of that in mind, I want to thank you for joining me. And without further ado, let's dive right in. 2. How To Get The Most Out Of This Course: To get the most out of this course, I'd highly recommend watching it from start to finish and then returning to specific sections later. If you feel like there's something you need to revisit, you'll notice that I take a fairly holistic approach to customer service, meaning I recognize the interdependence between different individuals and different teams within an organization. There may be times, depending on your particular role where I'm discussing something that doesn't really apply to you personally. For example, if you're a customer service representative, chances are you don't have much influence over the functionality of the company website. But I encourage you to listen to these parts anyway, because it's all part of the overarching philosophy of customer service. And maybe you can even take the opportunity to start discussions within your organization to implement certain things that might ordinarily be outside of your scope. 3. What Is Customer Service?: Before we dive into the specifics of what it takes to deliver exceptional customer service, we need to begin with an understanding of what customer service actually is. So we'll start with a basic definition courtesy of Wikipedia, which states that customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase. Pretty simple, right? Customer service is exactly what it sounds like. It's about serving the customer. But when it comes to the quality of customer service, there's a wide spectrum. There are companies out there that put absolutely no thought or effort into their customer service strategy in those companies typically aren't all that successful. Now they may get away with it for awhile. Maybe they have a monopoly in a certain area, or the price is right, so people are willing to lower their expectations. But let's be clear, poor customer service is a serious point of failure. It's a weakness that's just waiting to be exploited by a competitor. Now you've also got companies that provide relatively good customer service. So as a customer, you're usually going to get what you're looking for. You're going to be treated with respect most of the time. But you're not going to walk away feeling truly valued and you're not going to feel any particular affinity for the company or brand. And then you have companies that strive to deliver a positive experience every single time they go above and beyond to delight the customer, to make them feel valued, to write any wrongs, and to build a lasting relationship. These are the companies that succeed in developing brand loyalty and turning customers into raving fans. That's what this course is all about. Now when you hear the phrase Customer Service, there are probably a few specific images that pop into your mind. I think the most common association that people have is the call center representative. The person you call on the phone to help with whatever you happen to be experiencing. Sitting at a desk wearing a headset in a room full of other customer service reps. That's sort of the image that most people think of now that we're fully into the Internet age, you may also picture a live chat session on a website where you're typing back and forth with a support rep, same general idea. These are people who are there to help customers to solve any problems they may be experiencing. But customer service is much bigger than those individuals. Again, think about the phrase itself, customer service. It's about serving the customer. And isn't that what the entire company is trying to do? Everyone from the CEO to a product designer, to the sales team. Literally, everyone within the company is contributing to that end goal of customer service. And you might say, well, isn't the end goal of most companies just to make money? And you're right, it is. But think about how you make money as a company by serving customers. Customer service. See what I'm getting at here. There is no customer service department. The entire company is the customer service department. It's all connected and it's all about that end result of delivering the best possible experience. 4. Why Does Customer Service Matter?: Why does customer service matter? Well, we discussed how customer service is technically the primary goal of any business, or at least it should be. But let's discuss that in a slightly more granular way. What is the real-world impact of customer service? Well, when you provide a positive customer experience, you're building a relationship with the customer. That relationship can translate into repeat business. If a customer is satisfied by your service and they have confidence that you're going to continue to deliver and provide a positive experience. They're going to come back to you and buy again and again. This may also lead to referrals. Once you've built that relationship, if the customer has an enthusiastic opinion about your brand, they're going to share that opinion with friends, family, colleagues. And you may find that those people become your customers based on that recommendation from someone they trust. Similarly, if a customer has a bad experience, they're likely to share that with the people in their life as well. And that may end up costing you business in the future. Now this has always been the case in business. You provide a good customer experience. The customer is happy they keep buying from you. They refer their friends, and it's all good. But the world has changed a lot in the 21st century. And these things are now happening at scale. Instead of talking to one or two friends over dinner, your customer is now talking to hundreds or even thousands of people on social media. They're leaving reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp, which means your customers influence, is no longer limited to their own small network of friends and family. They can actually influence all of your future prospects. Who happened to Google the name of your business before they buy from you. So clearly the stakes are high. You have this massive accountability system that's now built into every customer interaction. And that might feel a bit overwhelming. But if you look at the other side of the coin, It's also an opportunity with every customer interaction, you have the opportunity to delight them, to create a story that you'd love for them to tell the world. And as you're doing this, you're going to be organically building a collection of social proof that is positive reviews and endorsements from customers that will give future customers the confidence they need to choose your product or service over your competitors. Speaking of competitors, thanks to the Internet, it's never been easier to find them. Consumers have essentially unlimited options these days. So what is it that's going to set you apart when people are searching for the type of product or service you offer, it's your reputation. Your product itself may be great. But if you're not making your customers feel respected, valued, and cared for, that's going to be reflected in your brand's reputation and ultimately your ability to drive new business. On the other hand, if you're a beloved brand with lots of satisfied customers who have become raving fans, you will be unstoppable. 5. The Foundations of Exceptional Customer Service: Now that we have an understanding of what customer service is and why it's so important, it's time to cover some of the foundations of good customer service factors that you need to get right in order to deliver that optimal customer experience. That's what this section is about. 6. [Foundations] Getting To Know Your Customers: One of the most important things to consider in customer service is who your customers actually are. To serve your customers. You have to know your customers. And knowing your customers is something that should happen on both a macro level and micro level. Let me explain what I mean by that. On a macro level, you want to have a deep understanding of your customer demographics. What kinds of people do you serve and what do they have in common? What do they value? How old are they? Where do they live? Why did they need the product or service you offer? Understanding all of this will help you communicate effectively with your customers and relate to them. And the good news. Companies have this data readily available because they use it for marketing, but it's equally valuable for customer service. If you can get your hands on some buyer personas, which is a marketing term, that's going to be really helpful. So a buyer persona is essentially a customer avatar. It's a fictional person that represents a certain demographic of your customer base. It'll usually have a name and occupation, a certain income, a selection of interests. It's basically just a character that represents a particular segment of the market that you're trying to reach. And most companies will have several of these buyer persona's pertaining to different types of customers. This is something that's widely used in the marketing world. And again, if your company already has this data available, it can be really helpful for your customer service strategy as well. So that's the macro level, understanding your customer base as a collective whole, but it's also important to know your customers on a micro level. This is about getting to know the backgrounds, expectations, and preferences of individual customers. For example, think about the regular customer at a restaurant who walks in and doesn't even have to order because the staff already knows exactly what he wants and how he likes it prepared. Now think about how that makes him feel. It makes them feel special, right? He feels valued. He has a relationship with the people in that restaurant. He knows he's always going to be treated well. So he keeps coming back again and again. You don't have to work in a restaurant to build that kind of relationship. You just have to pay attention to the details in every customer interaction and make note of anything that can help you deliver a better experience in the future. You can even gather information that's completely unrelated to your business because it may come in handy at some point in the future, whether just for a conversation topic or maybe surprising the customer with a gift or some sort of customization to your product or service. These are things that are going to take your customer service to the next level. And it all begins with knowing your customers. Now, how you manage this information is going to vary depending on your individual circumstances. In the restaurant example, if you've got a regular customer coming in every couple of days, you're going to get to know and probably memorize his order organically just through those repeated interactions. But if you're a larger company with thousands of customers, well, the human brain can only store so much information. Plus you're going to have multiple points of contact across different individuals within the company. So that's where I'd recommend making use of a CRM or customer relationship management software that's going to allow you to gradually accumulate valuable information about individual customers that'll help you serve them better in the future. Again, all of this is about building that relationship and actively demonstrating to your customers that you care about them and their individual needs. 7. [Foundations] How Well Does Everyone Else Know Your Customers?: Now you know why it's so important to know your customers. And of course, it makes intuitive sense that anyone working in customer service should know their customers well. But how well does the rest of the company know them? Remember the point we discussed earlier about how the end goal of the entire company is essentially just customer service. So it follows that every person in the company should also have a thorough understanding of the customers and their needs. This applies to everyone from the executives guiding the high level decisions to the people creating the product or performing the service. Marketing and sales teams who are trying to reach new customers. A deeper knowledge of your current customers and their expectations will benefit all of these roles. Think about it by paying attention to the experiences and feedback you hear from customers, You may notice opportunities to improve the product or service in some way that allows you to provide a better experience next time around. But in order to do that, you need to have lines of communication between those in customer service and those working on the product itself. And of course, the same applies to marketing by listening to and understanding the experiences, pain points, and language of your existing customers, you can really hone your messaging to reach similar prospects in your target market. Now the internal logistics of actually making this happen are a little outside the scope of this course. It can be complicated, particularly for a larger organization. But I want to encourage you to keep an open channel of communication between those and customer service and those in the rest of the company. It will only lead to positive outcomes. 8. [Foundations] The Importance Of Knowing Your Product: On a similar note to knowing your customers, it's essential that anyone working in customer service also have a thorough understanding of the product or service itself. Think about it. Customers are going to have questions. They're going to have problems. And those questions and problems can only be addressed if you have a deep understanding of what it is they're asking about, ideally, you will have used the product, had the service performed, tasted the food stayed in the hotel room. Whatever the case may be with your particular business, you want to have that experience. So you can understand the perspective of the customer. Even if you don't have the opportunity to use the product yourself, you want to gather as much information about it as possible. Talk to other people in the company, ask questions, and always be learning. Competence is one of the key factors that people will judge in every customer service interaction. If you're not familiar with the product and prepared to answer any common questions, it's going to be hard to satisfy the customer. So make sure you've taken the time to get to know the product ahead of time. 9. [Foundations] Your Brand Voice: Once you know your customers and you know your product, you also want to know how to communicate with your customers about your product from the very first of contact with your brand, which is usually in some sort of marketing material or your website or on social media, you're creating expectations about future interactions. And ideally, you don't want to depart from those expectations. Your brand has a specific voice or tone that corresponds to how you want to be perceived by your customers. So for some businesses, this may be a very formal, professional tone. For example, if you work for a legal firm, your clients are likely to respond best to a professional, authoritative voice that communicates a thorough understanding of the law. In an entertainment business, you'll probably want to be more casual and playful. In the hospitality industry, you want to be warm and friendly and make people feel at home. The point here is that when customers contact you, they expect consistency across the various different touch points of your business. Whether they're browsing your website, calling customer service, or getting a reply from you on social media. So this idea is something you'll want to apply to the words and phrases you use, as well as your tone of voice, use of emojis when you're communicating online, and so on. Once again, all of these things are going to vary from one brand to another. So take some time to learn about the brand voice of your company to ensure that you're delivering an experience that's consistent with your customer's expectations. 10. [Foundations] Customer Service Communication Channels: We are living in a vastly different world than we were just a couple of decades ago. And that is reflected in the ways that we deliver customer service. In the past, the way you'd interact with a customer was pretty much one of two scenarios. Either they would physically come into your store, your restaurant, your office, and you'd have a face-to-face conversation or they'd call you on the phone. There may have been other cases where you'd write a letter or something like that, but those were really the two primary forms of customer interaction. Today, there are basically a million different ways to interact with customers. And every customer is going to have their preference. And these preferences are shifting all the time. So that's something that you as an individual and as a company need to be aware of. As a company, you want to be able to offer support through all the different channels that your customers prefer. It should not be difficult to get in touch with you and it shouldn't feel like a chore. A lot of younger people today who have grown up in the digital age, straight up do not want to pick up the phone and call accompany for customer service, they prefer to send an e-mail message you through your app or your website, something along those lines. Now on the other hand, if you have an older demographic that's a bit less tech savvy, they may prefer to have that experience of calling and speaking to a human being. It also depends on the situation. Sometimes there's an urgent problem that needs to be resolved in real time. Whereas in other cases, asynchronous communication like an e-mail will suffice because there's no rush and then the customer can move on with their life while the issues being addressed in the background. So all of this is to say it's important to offer multiple channels of communication for the various ways that your customers prefer to get in touch. And then on an individual level, it's important that you are comfortable using these different channels and providing a positive and consistent experience through each of them. So let me give you a few examples of different channels where you may want to offer customer service. So first we've got phone calls. Again, this is sort of the traditional mode of communication. The customer calls in weights in a queue and then speaks to a representative in real time. But as I mentioned, this is decreasing in popularity. So while I absolutely recommend offering phone support, there is no scenario where it should be your sole channel of communication. Next, we have text messages, SMS. Now this is widely used for things like order confirmations, status updates, surveys, coupons. All of that can be really valuable. And if you have a B2C company, you're probably going to find that customers really appreciate being able to send a simple text for support. Similarly, we have messaging, that is messaging on various messaging apps. For some customers, this is preferred over texting you from their phone number. And it may actually be easier to find your business on a platform like Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, or Instagram. These are all platforms you need to be monitoring if your business has a presence there, It's important that you are checking incoming messages and replying to them in a timely manner. E-mail is our next channel. I would say this one is pretty much mandatory outside of maybe health care or financial institutions where you're exchanging information with specific legal requirements concerning data privacy. Again, e-mail is asynchronous so your customers can submit their requests on their own time. They don't have to wait on hold and the issue can be addressed while they're continuing to go about their business. E-mail can be a little more lengthy than a text message. So it's good for more complex issues. And it's also great to have everything in writing so you can easily go back and reference anything in the thread. These days, email is used autonomously quite a lot for marketing purposes like sending out offers and promotions, as well as ascending order confirmations, status updates, things of that nature. In addition to that, it can and should be used for providing customer service before and after the sale. Now a little side note here, if you're sending out e-mail automatically, whether for marketing purposes or updates about an order. Please please please do not use one of those. No reply or do not reply email addresses. There is absolutely no reason to send communications to your customers that they cannot reply to. If they have a question about an order they placed or about a promotion that's going on, they should be able to click reply and get in touch with your customer service team without any additional steps. Again, I know you may not be the person making these particular decisions, but if you are or if there's someone you can pass this advice onto, It's going to enable you to offer a much better experience for customers who may be confused and disappointed when they reply to your email and never hear back. Social media is another important place to be as a brand, you want to be watching for mentions of your business. Now of course, if you're a large brand, you don't necessarily have to hop into the conversation. Every time somebody mentions you on Twitter. That can be a bit much. And it can also come across as a little creepy when people are just mentioning your brand in passing. But if somebody has an issue, a complaint, anything that warrants a response, you want to be able to handle it right then and there on the platform where it was posted, may move the conversation to a private message. And if it's a little more complex, you may even need to switch to email or something, but I encourage you to handle as much of the process as possible right then and there without sending generic responses or referring them to a contact form or something like that. Treat social media as just another channel where you can provide excellent customer service. Finally, we have live chat. This is a real-time text-based conversation that the customer can initiate while browsing your website or using your app. This is a great way to provide instant support in a way that's convenient for your customers, both before and after the sale. Now, obviously, you'll have to dive into each one of these channels to really familiarize yourself with the specifics of each one. And depending on your role, you may personally only work with one or two of these channels. But even so, it's a good idea to become familiar with each of them and understand how the customer experience translates from one to another. The other point I want to emphasize here is that at the company level, it's important to offer as many of these different options as you can in order to set yourself apart and provide the most positive, convenient customer experience possible. 11. The Importance of Effective Communication: Effective communication is such an important part of good customer service. In this section, we're going to cover a variety of ways to improve your communication skills and engage with customers in a way that makes them feel valued and respected and leads the interaction to a positive outcome. Every time. 12. [Communication] Improving Your Listening Skills: One of the most important skills for anyone working in customer service is being a good listener. There are multiple reasons for this. First of all, we have the obvious. If you don't listen carefully to what the customer is saying, there may be a misunderstanding and you may not be able to properly address whatever issue they're experiencing. Similarly, we discussed the importance of knowing your customers. And to do that, you have to listen to them. You need to hear their concerns, understand their experiences, and get to know their perspective. But it actually goes deeper than that. You may find that when you have a customer who's angry or upset, half of what they're looking for is simply to feel heard and understood. They may not even be aware of this, but it's a basic human need. Often the most disarming thing you could do is listen to the customer, acknowledged their concern, let them air their grievances and express empathy. It's all about being a good listener. So how can you become a better listener? First, obvious as it may sound, it's crucial that you give the customer your undivided attention. This means focusing entirely on what they are saying, not what you are going to say in response. And when you think about paying attention, think about it as a total body experience. It's not just your eyes and ears. Your entire body should be conveying the message that your focus is on this conversation and nothing else. Along the same lines, you don't want to multitask when speaking with a customer. This means checking your phone or your computer, shuffling papers. Anything that could potentially take your attention away from the conversation, or anything that could send the message that your attention is away from the conversation. Again, you want to make it abundantly clear that the customer has your full attention. It's also important not to interrupt the customer while they're speaking. Remember, they want to feel heard. So make sure you're hearing what they have to say. You will have things to say in response, of course, but always wait for the customer to finish before you jump in and respond. And when you do respond, you want to be encouraging, ask follow-up questions and occasionally repeat things back to them to demonstrate that you are listening. You are engaged in the conversation and you hear what they're saying. If you're talking in person, you can also encourage the customer with your body language, things like eye contact, nodding, hand gestures. This is about providing verbal and nonverbal feedback to continue to show that they have your full attention. Next, you want to express understanding and empathy. You don't want to argue with the customer or undermine anything they're saying. You want to show them that you understand their perspective and how they're feeling. This is important when a customer is upset, validating their frustration is a key part of moving forward toward a solution. And finally, do something about it. That's the whole point, right? You've listened, you've made the customer feel heard, you're on the right track. But ultimately you still have to solve the problem. And when you've truly listened to the customer, that shouldn't be hard to do because you understand how they're feeling and what sort of resolution they're looking for. So remember, give the customer your undivided attention. Avoid multitasking. Don't interrupt, encouraged the customer with verbal and nonverbal feedback, express empathy, and then move forward to solve the problem. 13. [Communication] Friendliness In Customer Service: In addition to listening to the customer, it's also important to communicate with them in a friendly and respectful manner. This is easier in some circumstances and more difficult in others, but it is a key part of delivering goods service. So what are we talking about here? First, smile. It sounds simple and trivial, but it makes a huge difference in the interaction. Smiling is a universal expression that creates a perception of friendliness and approachability. And it can make any conversation a bit more positive. Almost every customer interaction, especially in person, but also on the phone, should begin with a smile. You've probably noticed that when you smile at someone, they'll usually smile back. And although we tend to think of facial expressions as an indication of our emotions at that moment. It also works in reverse. A smile can actually trigger those corresponding feelings and create a more positive emotional state. So if you're smiling and you get the customer smiling, the whole interaction is going to get off to a much better start. And this isn't just for negative interactions where the customer has a problem, can improve the mood. In any conversation, the customer is going to walk away feeling good about the way they retreated. Next, be prompt. Don't keep customers waiting if you can avoid it. For example, when someone comes in the door, be sure to acknowledge them, even if you're not able to help them write that second. You want them to feel welcomed and you want to show that you respect their time, even if they have to wait along the same lines, always introduce yourself warmly and make them feel like a guest. You want the customer to feel important and valued, and you want to give them that feeling in a sincere way. When you're speaking with a customer, always try to maintain a positive attitude and approach every interaction with the goal of being as friendly and helpful as possible. Think about how you would like to be treated and try to deliver that for the customer. Instead of dwelling on problems or mistakes, shift your entire focus toward creating a positive solution. At the end of the day, what you're trying to do here is create a positive, friendly environment where every customer feels welcomed and confident that you'll be able to help them. 14. [Communication] Optimizing Your Appearance & Body Language: When you're interacting with customers in-person, face-to-face, you want to make a good first impression. And two things that largely influenced that first impression or your appearance and your body language. People are going to see you and start making unconscious judgments about you within seconds for better or worse. That's just how it works. We've always been told not to judge a book by its cover, but the reality is, that's exactly what we do. First impressions matter. So we want to optimize them as much as we can. Now in terms of appearance, we're talking about things that are well within your control. You don't have to be a supermodel. You just want to show that you've put some effort into your appearance in terms of your style and grooming. This is different for every individual and every company. So we're not going to dive too deep into this, but you basically just want to look approachable, right? You don't want to look disheveled like you just rolled out of bed. You want your clothes to be clean and neat, et cetera, et cetera. Most of the specifics here are pretty much common sense, but I just kinda wanted to mention it because it does make a difference. The other side of this coin is body language. You may have heard that body language accounts for a significant portion of human interaction. Facial expressions, posture, eye contact, gestures. When you're speaking. All of these things can either support or negate the words you're actually saying. We use body language to connect with people, to gauge character and trustworthiness, to understand how someone is feeling and so on. What you say is arguably less important than how you say it. And even before the conversation starts, the body language you're projecting contributes to that initial impression when a customer sees you for the first time. So let's briefly cover a few basic things to keep in mind when it comes to body language. We already discussed the importance of smiling, but I do want to quickly reiterate that here. Always look for opportunities to smile with the customer whenever it's appropriate. It's a simple thing that can quickly improve the quality of basically any interaction. Next, be sure to maintain eye contact when the customer is speaking. This is a way to demonstrate that you're engaged in the conversation and actually listening to what they're saying. Now, I contact doesn't come naturally to everyone. Some people struggle with getting the right ratio of eye contact to glancing away. And it does take practice, but a general rule of thumb that you can keep in the back of your mind is the 50 70 rule. Basically, you want to maintain eye contact for about 50 percent of the time while you are speaking and about 70 percent of the time while the other person is speaking. And you can do this in about four to 6 second intervals, glancing away briefly in-between, the idea is to give the customer your full attention without coming across as overly intense. Now of course, every situation is different and you don't want to be running a stopwatch in your mind, focusing more on your eye contact ratio than what the customer is saying. This should happen naturally, these numbers are more observational than strategic, so just sort of how good conversations tend to work. So it really should happen organically. Another thing to keep in mind is your posture. Good posture can project confidence and approachability, which are key traits for delivering good customer service. This means standing up straight and maintaining an open stance. An open stance is one where your arms and legs are uncrossed and out to the sides of your body. The reason for this is that when you cross your arms or your legs, you're essentially placing a barrier between yourself and the customer. And it comes across as very closed off and unapproachable, right? Because if you think about what we're actually doing and what we're conveying when we have that habit of crossing our arms and legs, It's like we're protecting our vital organs. Were putting up that barrier to make ourselves feel more safe and to physically close people out. Now all of this is subconscious. I don't think many of us cross our arms and consciously think I'm doing this to protect my vital organs. But that is the natural basis for that behavior and it's something that other people do pick up on. Also subconsciously as sort of an aura of an approachability and a lack of confidence. When you open up that body posture, you're projecting a much better image that says, Hey, I'm confident, I'm friendly, I'm here to help. You can trust me and you can feel comfortable approaching me. Something to avoid is fidgeting and unnecessary movement, like crossing your arms. This tends to project a lack of confidence. It could also be distracting or worse, it can make the customer feel like you're not interested in the conversation and you're more focused on another task. Now, you can definitely feel free to use hand gestures that can really add to the conversation and demonstrate confidence as you're speaking. But again, just be careful not to overdo it because too much can be distracting. It's a delicate balance. Again, so much of in-person communication is nonverbal. So make an effort to be aware of your appearance and the body language you're projecting in every customer interaction. 15. [Communication] Mastering Your Voice: Now let's talk about your voice. As I mentioned, the way you speak often says more than the words you're actually saying. This is true both in-person and on the phone and arguably more so on the phone. Because you're losing all the benefits of body language and you have only your voice to convey the ideas and feelings you're trying to get across. So what can you do to optimize your voice for the purposes of customer service? Couple of quick tips here. First of all, the energy in your voice is important. You want to come across as upbeat and positive. You want to have natural fluctuations in your tone of voice and you don't want to be monotone. So let me give you two examples here, using my own voice and you tell me which one sounds better. I'd be happy to help you today. I'd be happy to help you today. Notice what I did there. I said the same exact words, but conveyed two completely different messages. The first time I said the words with absolutely no effort, no enthusiasm, and no energy. The second time I added some energy, I fluctuated my tone in a natural way, and I smiled a little bit. And notice how that smile comes across. Even when you can't see my face. You want to bring as much positive energy to the conversation as possible because energy is contagious when you are projecting positive energy, your customers are going to feel more positive and more comfortable talking to you, which will enable you to make better connections and assist them in a more meaningful way. You also want to speak in a natural way. The nature of customer service means you're probably going to be repeating a lot of the same things over and over to different customers. But when you do that, it's important not to come across as robotic. This is a human interaction. You want to connect with the person you're speaking to and you want them to feel comfortable speaking with you. So use natural language, be personable, and while you are trying to inject that positive energy into the conversation, you don't want to overdo it to the point where it feels forced or inauthentic. It's all about striking the right balance. Similarly, you also want to find the right balance between a formal and casual tone. This is another thing that varies from one business to another and one industry to another. But in general, while you do want to establish rapport and connect with people, in most cases, you still want to maintain some degree of professionalism. So you probably don't want to use a lot of slang or be too casual. But you can still find that balance where you're getting just familiar enough to create an enjoyable experience out of what could otherwise be a very boring task talking to customer service right? Now, this is a spectrum and it's something that you can adjust from one customer to another. So maybe you start with a sort of baseline tone. And if a customer is obviously cool with being a little more casual, you can loosen up a little bit. And then if you're speaking with someone who is perhaps older or just seems to prefer a little more formality, you can go in that direction as well. You can always adapt on the fly. One more thing to note here is the importance of speaking clearly and deliberately. A lot of us have a habit of speaking too quickly and having more ideas running through our heads, then we can physically get out. But if you can slow down your cadence, you're going to be able to communicate more effectively with fewer misunderstandings. And again, the customer is going to interpret that as a sign of both confidence and competence. 16. [Communication] Words & Phrases To Use (Or Avoid Using) With Customers: In this lecture, I want to take some time to talk about your words themselves. Although nonverbal communication is important, your words matter too. And that's especially true when you're using communication channels like e-mail and messaging, where you lose all of those valuable nonverbal cues. So specifically, what I wanna do here is encouraged you to be mindful of your word choice. The words and phrases you use convey a lot of subtext beneath the literal message you're trying to get across. There are a lot of scenarios where you can say essentially the same thing in two different ways. But one of those ways is going to be superior in terms of making the customer feel cared for and moving the conversation in a positive direction. I'm going to give you a few examples here of some words and phrases that are good and not so good. And once you start to notice the patterns, you'll be able to apply these ideas to many other situations as well. Let's begin with, I understand. This can be a powerful phrase and it goes hand in hand with the listening skills we discussed earlier. If you recall, one of the key parts of being a good listener is expressing empathy, acknowledging the customers concerns, but more importantly, acknowledging how the customer is feeling. So try this phrase. I understand how blink this must be. Now, the word you use to fill that blank is going to make all the difference because different problems create different emotions and even different individuals will have varying reactions to the same issue. You could say frustrating, stressful, annoying. It depends on the problem and it actually requires genuine empathy to be able to read the situation. What you don't want to do is inadvertently downplay with the customer, is feeling with your word choice because that's just going to amplify any negative emotions that they're experiencing. So if you were to say, I understand how inconvenient this must be, although that would be perfectly acceptable in some situations where you've caused a minor inconvenience. Let's say your scenario is at an auto shop in one of your team members was repairing a customer's car, his dream car, his prized possession, and ended up setting the engine block on fire and doing irreparable damage. I understand how inconvenient this must be. Just take a second to imagine the rage in this customer's face. On the other hand, you could say, I understand how devastating this must be, but I assure you that we're going to do everything we can to make this right? Huge difference. Now let's talk about yes and no. Two words. That seems simple enough, but do tend to carry a lot of weight. First of all, yes. Should not be underestimated. Whenever a customer has a request and you have the opportunity to say yes to that request. That's a really straightforward way to delight the customer. And it doesn't have to be the word yes, specifically, you can say, of course you can say absolutely, any of those alternatives are fine. But the point is, the more often you can say yes to customers, the better. On the flip side, no should be avoided whenever possible. You obviously can't say yes to every single request. Some things have just outside the realm of possibility. But specifically saying the word no can feel a bit dismissive and it doesn't exactly provide a productive path forward either for the conversation or for what the customer is actually trying to accomplish. So here's a great alternative for the word no. As much as I'd love to help fill in the blank. Again, sometimes you have to decline a request, but you can do it respectfully while providing as much support and direction as possible. For example, as much as I'd love to help, your request is beyond what we're currently able to do. And then you can follow up with alternatives, which leads us into our next phrase. What I can do is just like the word no. You also want to avoid saying that you can't do things. Saying I can't do that, offers no value to the customer and gives the impression that you're not sufficiently empowered to solve customer problems. Instead, offer alternatives and emphasize the positive aspects of the situation. For example, I can't get you that item today becomes what I can do is order that item for you and get it here by Friday. Let me find out. You're not going to know every answer to every question, and that's okay. But when you get a question that you're not able to answer, avoid saying, I don't know. Just like the word no, I don't know is a very closed ended response and it offers no value whatsoever. I mean, what's the customer supposed to do, right? If the person representing the company can't answer a question about the company, that's not very helpful and it can give the impression that you're not competent. So instead of saying, sorry, I don't know, try let me find out or great question. I'll find out for you and then immediately find out and get back to them as quickly as possible. Similarly, it's wise to avoid phrases like I think Or if I remember correctly, don't guess for the customer. You don't want to give them incorrect information and you don't want to leave them with a feeling of uncertainty. If you're not sure of the answer, tell them you'll find out and then find Anything else I can do for you. This is one you'll use at the tail end of the conversation. Try to avoid saying something like, Is that all that sort of implies that you're eager to exit the conversation and you don't want to give that impression. Beyond that, not every customer is going to immediately let you know if they're unsatisfied with the outcome of the conversation. So you want to keep the door open and end every interaction with an invitation for the customer to share additional issues or concerns and make it clear that you're happy to help with whatever it may be. When it comes to written communication, this is super easy because you can end almost every e-mail or chat conversation with something along the lines of let me know if there's anything else I can do for you, I'd be happy to help. So I hope these word choice examples have been helpful. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, your individual company, they have specific words and phrases to use or avoid using with your customers. And often you just have to put yourself in the customer's shoes and think about the words and phrases that you would appreciate someone using to show that they care about you and your experience. 17. Proactive Customer Service: In this section, we're going to dive into some strategies for providing what I call proactive customer service. This is about delivering a top notch experience for the customer without them having to reach out to you. So usually when a customer is contacting you through one of your various communication channels, they either have a problem or they need some kind of action to take place. Proactive customer service is about what happens before that point, and it can substantially reduce the volume of problems that you have to deal with later in reactive customer service. So let's go ahead and get into this section on proactive customer service. 18. [Proactive] The Most Important Aspect Of Proactive Service: This may sound obvious, but by far, the most important aspect of proactive customer service is providing a high-quality product or service to begin with. After all, the product or service that your business offers is the entire reason that customers are engaging with you and doing business with you in the first place. So naturally, that's where the vast majority of what we could call customer service actually happens in the delivery of the product or service itself. If your product is good, it does what it's supposed to do. Quality control is on-point in you're always delivering in a timely manner that's going to eliminate 90% of the problems that customers are going to complain about. It has to start there. The best customer service team in the world can't fix a bad product. So again, if you're solely working in customer service, this is somewhat outside the scope of your responsibilities. But remember that idea of keeping open communication between those in customer service and those who are actually creating the product or performing this service. If you're hearing the same complaints over and over about an issue with a particular product. That's something that needs to be addressed at a more systemic level. The product itself needs to be adjusted. Now there are always going to be mistakes and sort of one-off problems. But by focusing on quality from the start, you're going to provide a much better experience for the vast majority of customers. 19. [Proactive] Building Customer Service Into Your Systems: Another way to deliver proactive customer service is by building it into your systems. Now again, what this looks like is going to vary from one business to another. But the general idea is that customer service should never be difficult to access. And sometimes it should even include a self-service component. I'm gonna give you a couple of quick examples here and you can determine how this may fit into your business. And these are things that a small start-up company may be able to implement very quickly. Whereas in a larger organization, it may involve having some conversations between departments about why these things are important and how the company can move toward providing a more convenient customer experience. The first example here is a bit of a personal anecdote. So one afternoon I was traveling internationally. I was returning to the United States after some time abroad. And I had two flights booked through the same airline. I was flying into Miami International where I would enter the US, go through customs, hang out for a couple of hours and then get on my next flight to my local destination. So as I was waiting for my first flight to fly into the US, it kept getting delayed for whatever reason, the boarding time just kept getting pushed back until ultimately it was multiple hours late. So eventually I finally get on the plane and at this point I'm sitting there calculating how much time I'm going to have to clear customs, recheck my bags, go through security again, and then run across the airport to catch my next flight. And I realized I was going to have like 15 minutes to do all of this, assuming the best-case scenario where my flight actually lands on time and there are no further delays. So I had pretty much given up hope on making my connection and I knew I was going to have to go to the Customer Service counter and see if they could put me on another flight. Obviously, I was not thrilled about this. I was way behind schedule, is going to have to go and stand in line with a bunch of other passengers who also missed their connections. And then I may not even make it to my destination today. But the airline was prepared for this situation. They know that delays happen and those delays often cause people to miss their connecting flights. So they do exactly what I'm advising you to do here, which is building customer service into their systems. When I landed in Miami, as soon as I had phone service, I already had a push notification on my phone from the airlines app. It was a little apology for the delay saying it looks like I won't have enough time to make my connection. And it had multiple options for flights to my final destination that I could choose from an instantly rebook at no cost. Additionally, because the next available flight was not until the next morning. They issued me a hotel voucher for the night, as well as multiple meal vouchers that I can redeem for a free meal at any restaurant in the airport. All of this happened automatically without me having to go to the customer service desk or even call the airline. I didn't have to speak to anyone. I didn't have to complain. And not only did I get my flight rescheduled, but I had a place to stay for the night, a free dinner and a free breakfast the next morning. They made the situation right without me even having to ask. So while it was still an inconvenience, I walked away feeling impressed by the way that they handled it, rather than walking away feeling bitter or angry. It was just so easy it with the right way to handle the issue and it all happened automatically. I noticed another perfect example of this when I had some food delivered recently and one of the meals that I ordered was missing. Now, these mistakes happen. It's just the nature of food service. So naturally, the delivery service I used to place my order was prepared to handle it. All I had to do was open the app and use their self-service support system to report the issue. So I just marked the items that were missing and instantly a refund was issued for the value of those items. I didn't have to call anyone. I didn't even have to write a message to the support team. It was all self-service. The reason this is so valuable is because when a customer is already disappointed by something that's gone wrong with your service, the last thing you wanna do is subject them to additional inconvenience. It's just going to make them hate you. Really, it's just going to make them hate you. But by offering self-service refunds or some other equally painless resolution, you're going to make the best of a bad situation and instill confidence that even when things go wrong, it's easy to make them right. Many businesses are understandably hesitant to offer self-service refunds. But in my experience, the customer satisfaction and loyalty you gain by making the process easy is a huge net positive and you can always place limits for the rare cases where the system is abused. These are just a couple of examples. Every business is different and you may or may not be able to offer these sorts of features specifically. But the main point here is simply to build customer service into your existing systems and make it as seamless as possible for your customers to get the help they need. 20. [Proactive] Help Your Customers Help Themselves: In the previous lecture, we discussed the importance of building customer service into your systems with an emphasis on self-service features. Now I'd like to give you another example of self-service support and that is a knowledge base. A knowledge base is an online collection of documentation about your products and your business. This can include answers to frequently asked questions, how to guides troubleshooting tips, and so on. The idea here is to empower your customers with information, allowing them to make the most of your products and services and answer many of their own questions without having to call or write into customer service. This allows for a much more convenient experience for many customers, while also reducing the volume of questions and problems that your support team needs to handle. Providing customer service often involves answering the same questions over and over again. How do I do X, Y, or Z with this particular product? How long do your products take to ship? What are your office hours? How do I troubleshoot when the product isn't working as expected? These are the kinds of questions you could include in a knowledge base to answer them in a much more proactive way. We're living in a digital first world. So regardless of what your business is, chances are a significant segment of your customer base will check your website or even Google a problem as their first means of finding a solution. And if you can have those answers readily available in a knowledge base or FAQ, that's going to increase your customer satisfaction and reduce those inbound questions and complaints. And the nice thing about a knowledge base is that it's something you create once. And then it's there for people to benefit from again and again. And of course, it's an evolving document. It's something you can continue to add to as more questions pop up. But the bulk of it is really a onetime investment that's going to make life easier for your customers and your team indefinitely. So I highly recommend getting together as a team and taking the time to compile a list of those frequently asked questions and then answer them clearly and completely in a section of your website or your app that's easy and intuitive for your customers to find and navigate. 21. [Proactive] Checking In With Customers: Another way to be proactive in your customer service strategies by following up and checking in with your customers after the sale. This is a great way to obtain feedback and show the customer that you care about their experience. So depending on the nature of your business, this can happen in a lot of different ways. If you're in a restaurant, this could be going out to tables at the end of a meal and asking customers how they enjoyed the food, if there's anything else they need and so on. If you're selling a higher ticket product or service, it may be worth reaching out to customers individually after a certain period of time to ask about their experience. A lot of businesses, the way to go about this is by sending out simple surveys or questionnaires by e-mail. And this can be automated. You can ask questions like, what do you wish we had done differently? Or how could we have improved your experience shopping with us or working with us? And because surveys take time and a little bit of effort, it may be worth incentivizing the survey in some way, for example, by offering a certain percentage off the customers next purchase. And then the key, of course, is to actually take action based on the feedback you receive. If you find that some aspect of your service is not meeting customer expectations, that's valuable information that you can use to make adjustments for the future. And by the way, it doesn't always have to be about feedback. A simple thank you, goes a long way in making a customer feel appreciated. If you want to go above and beyond, you could send a handwritten note saying, Hey, thanks for your business. If there's anything else we can do for you, please don't hesitate to reach out and so on and so forth. Again, this isn't going to apply to every company and every scenario. You're probably not going to send a handwritten thank you note to a customer for a $3 purchase. So it's up to you and those on your team to determine what sort of follow up or check in is appropriate for your business and your customers. 22. [Proactive] Using Social Media To Delight Your Customers: We're living in a world where everyone is sharing everything all the time. So it's likely that customers of yours are sharing things about your business, good experiences, bad experiences, and everything in between. With that in mind, it's worthwhile to monitor social media for mentions of your business and your products. It's easy to think of social media as a marketing tool, and it absolutely is. But it's also a customer service tool. And if you look at it through a customer service that lens, you'll find a lot of opportunities to deliver a better experience and delight your customers. So on one hand, people are going to be sharing positive experiences and endorsements of your brand. And that's fantastic. Every business loves to see things like that. But those endorsements are actually an opportunity to take the customer satisfaction to the next level, reply to them, engage with their content, thank them for the support. In some cases, you may even want to go a step further and maybe send him a free gift. For example, I once tweeted a very positive review of a restaurant and they actually DMD me, asked for my address and mailed me a handwritten thank you note along with three or four free entree coupons. I was already a satisfied customer. But by sending me that stuff just for a tweet, they really made me feel valued and cemented that brand loyalty. You want to give your customers those experiences where they feel disproportionately appreciated. In addition to brand loyalty and repeat business, it's going to turn people into evangelists of your brand. I mean, think about it, that becomes a story, right? Like I had this great meal at a restaurant. I tweeted about it and they appreciated that so much that they sent me a thank you note and multiple free meals. What happens when I tell that story? Other people develop a favorable disposition toward that brand as well. And they're going to be more likely to go there and become customers themselves. Now, unfortunately, not everything people say about your business is going to be positive. So you need to be on the lookout for problems and complaints as well. For example, say someone tweets about how frustrated they are about a late delivery. Well, hopefully you're paying attention on social media and you can immediately respond and offer some sort of solution. And by the way, please don't do the thing that far too many companies do on social media, which is directing people somewhere else to get support. Don't reply with a link to a contact form. Just reply DM the customer treated as just another communication channel and handle everything right then in there. And just like the positive interaction we discussed previously, this is also an opportunity to delight the customer. They're in a negative state of mind right now. They're upset enough that they're complaining publicly, but you can turn the situation around. You may not be able to fix the late delivery. It's already late. Unless you have a time machine, you can't really make it undulate. But if you can go above and beyond in your resolution, you just might win the customer over and get back on their good side. We'll talk more about that shortly. For now, just keep in mind that social media is an integral part of today's world and it's essential that you monitor your social media mentions and be ready to provide support through whatever platforms your customers are using. 23. [Proactive] A Better Way To Handle Mistakes: Another cornerstone of proactive customer service is discovering and handling mistakes before customers find out about them, mistakes are going to happen. That's just a reality. And it's always better that a customer hears about a problem from you, rather than discovering it on their own and having to reach out to you to complain. As an example, if you're a software company and you discover a bug that's causing your product to not function properly, you want to be completely upfront and transparent about it. Let your customers know that you are aware of the issue and you're working on it and offer some sort of resolution in the meantime. Similarly, if you notice that you've got an order wrong and you've shipped the wrong product to a customer, reach out to them ahead of time, I apologize. And get the correct product out the door as soon as possible. In this case, you'd probably want to expedite the shipping, maybe offer a discount or throw in a free gift. Either way, the fact that you were diligent and honest enough to not only discover the mistake, handle it before the customer even noticed, is going to instill confidence in your brand and show that you're truly dedicated to providing the best possible experience, even when things don't go perfectly according to plan. So I would encourage you whenever possible, to be extremely attentive to areas where mistakes are prone to occur, double-check things, and be on the lookout for issues that may have slipped through. Don't wait for the customer to reach out to you. Be proactive about solving the problem as soon as it's discovered. 24. [Proactive] Going Above And Beyond For Your Customers: When it comes to actually delivering service, your customers are going to have certain expectations. And it goes without saying that you want to meet those expectations. And if you can meet those expectations consistently, you're not gonna get a lot of complaints and you're not gonna get a lot of negative reviews. But the reality is by simply meeting expectations, the customer is going to walk away with a fairly neutral to neutral positive perception of the experience. And if your brand were not looking for neutral, right? We're looking to delight every customer and create raving fans. To do that, you cannot simply meet expectations. You have to exceed the customer's expectations. And there are a lot of ways to do this. You have to know your customers, of course. And remember, there's a difference between knowing your customers on a macro level and knowing your customers on a micro level. On a macro level, you should absolutely make it a habit to over-deliver on your advertised promises in any way that you can in your particular field. Maybe every purchase comes with a little bonus gift that's related to the product itself. For example, if a customer orders a hand-held mirror, maybe the mirror ships with a free Coleman, the box, something along those lines. It doesn't have to be anything particularly crazy. It's just about delivering more than customers expect on a consistent basis. Now, of course, on a micro level, this looks a little bit different. That's where you're dealing with one individual customer. And you can create those sort of wow experiences that people go on to tell their friends about. So again, this may be something like a free gift that's tailored to that particular customer or a happy birthday note. Or it could just be something about the product or service itself that takes the individual customers preferences into account. Hotels are always a great example of this and I draw a lot of inspiration, particularly from high-end hotels, in terms of what it means to overdeliver and go above and beyond customer expectations. So when you go to stay in a hotel, you're going to have certain expectations about the room and the location and whatever you know about the hotel brand itself. And hopefully the hotel will meet all of those expectations. But beyond those baseline expectations, the hotel can also customize the experience for an individual guest. This may come in the form of a tailored welcome gift or fresh snacks in the room or room that's decorated for the occasion. For example, if it's honeymoon or some other kind of celebrates Cory trip. And then at a more basic level, many hotels will keep profiles of repeat customers to ensure that they always deliver on the customer's individual preferences, like foam pillows versus feather pillows, the location of the room, that type of view they prefer. All these little details add up to an experience that absolutely exceeds the customer's initial expectations. So think about your business and what kinds of things you might be able to do to overdeliver and go above and beyond for your customers, what might that look like? And remember, this is about over-delivering across the board for everyone while also treating your customers as individuals and providing a tailored experience when possible. 25. Reactive Customer Service: After spending some time covering proactive customer service, we of course, have to get into reactive customer service. This is the type of service that happens in response to a customer inquiry. And often, this is going to involve problems that need to be resolved. Once again, things are not going to go perfectly a 100 percent of the time in any business. But as we'll see, the way you handle customer problems can be an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan. With that in mind, let's go ahead and dive right into this section on reactive customer service. 26. [Reactive] Don't Keep Them Waiting: Ideally, a customer or client should never have to wait for an extended period of time for service. Long hold times on the phone or long wait in a store can make them feel under appreciated and undervalued and they might start looking elsewhere. It's so important to prioritize timely service, which means greeting, assisting, and responding to customers promptly. Now, you're not always going to be able to drop what you're doing to help a customer as soon as they walk in the door, you may be in the middle of something, perhaps helping another customer, and that's fine. Most people will be perfectly understanding of that, but it's important to at least acknowledge them. Greet the customer, say hello, and let them know you'll be with them in just a moment. There's a big difference between asking a customer to wait after you've greeted them versus not even acknowledging their presence whatsoever until you're ready to help them. So when you're not immediately available, make sure the customer knows that you know that they're waiting, and then get to them as quickly as possible. Similarly, when you get an inquiry through email or a contact form or some other asynchronous communication channel. The customer is not going to be expecting an instant response, but you still want to reply as quickly as possible, ideally the same day or within 24 hours, if it consistently takes a week or more to hear back from you, the customer may understandably be enticed by your competitors who take their correspondents more seriously. So again, regardless of the mode of communication, be sure you're always delivering service in a timely manner. 27. [Reactive] A Reminder To Listen: We already spent some time discussing listening skills earlier in the course, but it's worth reiterating here that listening is the first and arguably most important part of resolving customer problems on the other side of every call, every email, every customer inquiry is a real human being looking for understanding and assistance when a customer experience as a problem, particularly one that triggers negative emotions for them. They are first and foremost looking to feel heard and understood. If you've been in that position yourself, you know how frustrating it can be to try to voice your concerns only to be met with robotic, scripted responses from the customer service agent. Remember this is a human interaction. You want to listen closely and express empathy. Make it abundantly clear that you're hearing them and that you care about what they have to say. And by the way, be careful not to get defensive. In most cases, when the customers emotions are running high, they're not trying to attack you as an individual. They just have a problem. They're upset, and it's up to you to show that you hear them and understand them. And then, of course, when the customer's finished sharing their feelings and their experiences, it's time to step up and actually solve the problem. So again, we covered the specifics of active listening earlier. Feel free to refer back to that. But I just wanted to remind you here in the context of reactive customer service, that good listening is absolutely essential to the process. 28. [Reactive] How To Apologize To Customers Effectively: When a customer has a bad experience with your business after listening to their concerns, one of the first things you wanna do is offer a sincere apology when a customer can tell that you're genuinely sorry, it really diffuses the situation and gets the two of you back on the same side so you can work on solving the problem together. So in this lecture, I want to talk a bit about what makes an effective apology, as well as some things to avoid. So let's start with the latter. Something you definitely want to avoid when apologizing to a customer is placing blame on others. This is really common because for most problems, it legitimately will be someone else's fault, right? You're not personally responsible for everything that goes wrong, but to the customer. You represent the company as a whole. It's one singular entity. So you're apologizing on behalf of the company and it's up to you to take full responsibility without saying, oh, it was this individual or this department or this payment processor, that just feels like you're avoiding responsibility which doesn't look good at the customer. Likewise, you definitely want to avoid non topologies. These are the sorts of apologies where you technically say you're sorry, but you're not actually taking ownership of the situation. I'm sorry, you feel that way. I'm sorry. You think that I'm sorry. But whenever you follow an apology with, but you're subtracting from the topology itself. We don't wanna do that. We want to offer an unconditional apology that takes full responsibility for the situation. Another thing to avoid is the sort of robotic, cliche apology phrases that we hear all the time. Things like, sorry for the inconvenience, sorry for the trouble, Sorry for the wait. Your call is important to us. These phrases, because they're so overused, just feel a little bit empty. You could apologize for all of these things, the inconvenience, the trouble, the weight, but you want it to feel a little more personal and genuine. So what exactly does that look like? Well, there are a few key steps here. First, start by making sure you truly understand the problem. It's really hard to offer a genuine apology for something if you don't fully grasp the nature of the issue. So again, this requires that you listened carefully and actively to what the customer is saying. But then also follow up with questions where appropriate. Ask them to elaborate or share a little more context about the issue, repeat things back to them and then ask, am I understanding this correctly? You want to have as much information as possible so you can understand the problem well enough to apologize and ultimately to fix it. Now once you feel that you do have a solid understanding of the situation, it's time to acknowledge the mistakes you've made. And when I say you, I mean the company as a whole. And then acknowledge the impact of those mistakes, whether it's a mild inconvenience or a genuinely grave mistake. Be aware of how the problem is actually impacting the customer's life in verbalize that. I'm so sorry for the problems you've been facing with our product. I know you're a busy person and this is taking time out of your schedule. So I'm gonna make sure we get this taken care of as quickly as possible. Along the same lines, you also want to empathize with the customer, put yourself in their shoes, try to see the situation from their point of view and show that you understand how they're feeling. Again, so much of this process is making the customer feel heard and understood. What is the emotional impact of the problem, determine that and incorporate that into your apology. Remember the phrase I recommended earlier. I understand how blink this must be. Making sure of course, to fill that blank with a word appropriate to the situation. You can also say something along the lines of, I would be just as frustrated if I were in your situation or we know we really let you down here, you're basically disarming the customer, showing that you understand their perspective and taking full responsibility for your mistakes. Finally, once you've apologized and acknowledged both the practical and emotional impact of the problem. The very next thing you say should be focused on a solution, a path forward. In your personal life, you probably agree that a verbal apology without a change in behavior is essentially worthless, right? And the same is definitely true in customer service. So when you apologize, the topology should be followed by specific steps that you're going to take to resolve the issue. And you may also want to share what you're gonna do in the future to avoid making the same mistake. Again, if you can explain exactly what happened to provide a little bit of transparency without passing blame. Even better. So to sort of bring this all together, let me give you an example from start to finish. Now here's the scenario. My business is an online software company for e-commerce stores. We had some unexpected downtime causing our clients to be unable to process transactions from their customers for about 30 minutes. My client, Chris, has contacted me to discuss the issue. He's already explained his experience. I've asked some follow-up questions and I'm also gathered in tell from my team to fully understand what went wrong. Chris, I am so sorry about the downtime we experience today. I know your store relies on our service to sell your products and we totally dropped the ball here. Our platform supposed to help you make money. So for you to be losing revenue because of downtime on our part is definitely unacceptable. So I would be just as frustrated in your position to make this right. We're gonna go ahead and credit you for this month's service fee. And just to give you some context, the reason this happened because we inadvertently deployed an update that was not ready to go live yet. We've already made some changes to our workflow and added an additional review process to ensure that in the future we always catch these types of errors before they have a chance to impact your store. So you can see what I did there. I apologized unconditionally for the mistake without passing blame, I acknowledged both the practical and emotional impact of the mistake. And then I immediately shifted toward a solution. I explained the origin of the problem again without casting blame on any one individual or department and shared exactly what we're going to do to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Again. 29. [Reactive] How To Turn Unhappy Customers Into Lifelong Fans: This might sound a little weird, but I love mistakes. I do. I love when things go wrong from a customer service perspective. Now, not disastrously wrong. I never want to ruin somebody's day obviously, but I do love those little mistakes that are bound to happen from time to time. And let me explain why when things go wrong. I view that as an opportunity to create a lifelong fan. Because the way I handle mistakes is not just by apologizing and taking responsibility, both of which are important as we've discussed. But I'd like to take it a step further and go above and beyond in my resolution. It's a little counter-intuitive, but a mistake can be an opportunity to delight a customer even more than if everything had gone perfectly in the first place. I really believe this because when you mess up and then you take full responsibility and follow through by going above and beyond to resolve the issue, you're going to earn a serious amount of respect from that customer. If you recall, we already discussed the idea of going above and beyond. It's about exceeding customer expectations, right? But we covered that in the context of proactive customer service when we're talking about reactive customer service, where a mistake has been made and a customer has a problem. Over-delivering on expectations is no longer a luxury. It's a requirement if you want to have any chance of turning the customer into a fan. So what does this look like in practice? I'm going to use a hotel example again. So let's say a customer arrives, checks into their room, and it turns out that for whatever reason, housekeeping has not been to that room yet. It's not been cleaned. The bed is unmade, and the previous guests trash is still all over the place. Ideally, this situation wouldn't happen in the first place. But look over the course of thousands of guests checking in and checking out housekeeping staff having different schedules, et cetera. It's going to happen at some point. And when it happens, the customer, understandably is not going to be impressed. So what do you do? What's the ideal solution in this scenario? They're obviously going to need another room. But you put them in the same type of room just across the hall? If it were me, here's how I would handle the situation, assuming that we had the appropriate availability and I was empowered to do so. I'd start, of course, with a sincere apology. I'd make it clear that this is unacceptable should not have happened, and let them know that I would be just as frustrated and unimpressed. To make up for it. I would upgrade their room to a nicer suite at no cost. And then I would also throw in a free night, whether they wanted to extend their stay or simply credit one of the nights they've already reserved. And finally, depending on the amenities offered in that particular hotel, I go ahead and offer him a complimentary meal in the restaurant, or maybe a complimentary spot treatment. By this point, the customer is actually going to have a higher-quality stay at a lower cost than what they originally signed up for. And instead of being upset that we screwed up the housekeeping schedule, they might actually be happy that they had that problem because it resulted in a lot of advantages. And next time they need a place to stay, they'll more than likely go with my hotel brand because they know that even when things go wrong, we will do whatever we can to make it right. Now, think about the alternative. We could have just apologized and bump them across the hall with no upgrade, no free night, no meal, no spot treatment. And while they're stay, probably would have met their initial expectations. The inconvenience of being put in a dirty room and then moved is probably going to deter them from ever staying with us again. And you better believe the leave us a nice one-star review. So in one case, we made a raving fan. In the other case, we made an enemy. Same situation, same mistake, but a completely different outcome based on how we handled it. So once again, think about how this could apply to your business. Think about the types of mistakes that tend to happen, the types of problems that tend to come up and think about how you might be able to over correct those mistakes, meaning over-deliver to the extent that the customer is actually more impressed by your response than they were disappointed by the mistake itself. 30. Customer Service Examples: In this section, I'd like to share with you a few examples of the customer service principles that we've discussed throughout the course. Just to sort of put things into a more real-world context. Now, up to this point, I have already shared some examples for specific points that I wanted to illustrate. I'm not going to rehash those here. These are just some additional examples to serve as inspiration and sort of show what outstanding customer service actually looks like in the real-world. None of these examples are necessarily endorsements of particular brands. I don't have a relationship with any of the companies mentioned. These are just stories that I found particularly impactful from a customer service perspective. So with that in mind, let's go ahead and dive right in. 31. Example #1: By now, you should be pretty familiar with the importance of proactive customer service. And I want to give you an example of a company that does this very well, and that is the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Now, you may recall, I am always inspired by luxury hotel companies because they tend to be masters of customer service, right? Their entire business model is based around creating incredible experiences for their guests. I'm going to read you a passage from John Deere, Julius, author of What's the secret, where he describes his experience for getting his laptop charger at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. I left the Ritz Carlton Sarasota in such a rush for the airport that I forgot my laptop charger in my room. I plan to call when I got back into my office, but before I could, I received a next day air package from the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. In it was my charger with a note saying MR. to Julius. I wanted to make sure we got this to you right away. I'm sure you need it. And just in case I sent an extra charger for your laptop, the note was signed by Larry Kenney in loss prevention. Just as he said in the box, was a second charger. Now, this is extraordinary. The company noticed an issue that John forgot his laptop charger, which by the way was no fault of theirs. But they actually went out of their way to solve the problem for him before he even had a chance to reach out. In this kind of exceptional experience is sort of their secret sauce. Ritz-carlton employees are authorized at their discretion to spend up to $2 thousand per day to improve guest experiences. That's a very important cultural thing. It enables employees to be highly, highly engaged in providing memorable experiences for their guests. And just think about how impressed you would be as a customer if you forgot your laptop charger and before you can even contact the hotel, they overnight it to you along with a backup, instant brand loyalty for life. Now that was the main story that I wanted to share about Ritz-Carlton. But John goes on to share another great example of the company's unique approach. You may recall our discussion about knowing your customers and building profiles about individual customer preferences. John writes that Ritz-Carlton accounting employees go through room charges, other items on their guests bills, noting guests purchases. It provides a significant opportunity to record guests preferences for future visits. So when a guest returns, the database may tell them this person loves Canada Dry ginger ale. So the Ritz-Carlton can stock it in the rooms minibar. This is an excellent example of knowing your customers and proactively tailoring the experience to the individual. 32. Example #2: The next story I want to share illustrates multiple points that we've discussed in this course, including the importance of monitoring social media, as well as going above and beyond for your customers. So Paul Brown was flying out of Logan International in Boston and he was flying with JetBlue. Now at Logan International, the JetBlue terminal has two separate areas. There's the main portion that houses the majority of the gates, and then there's a smaller wing with only a handful of gates separated by its own TSA security area. And of course, because that area is smaller, it has fewer dining options. And while the larger wing has to Starbucks locations, the smaller one has none. When Paul got to the airport, he realized he was flying out of the smaller wing and he was disappointed because he was looking forward to getting some Starbucks coffee. He happened to tweet about this and jokingly asked JetBlue if his mosaic status comes with coffee delivery, saying he wanted a venti Mocha at gate 42. A few minutes later, JetBlue replied and said, We don't currently deliver in the airport, though there is free all you can drink, Dunkin Donuts, coffee, waiting on board. So that's nice enough. And obviously the interaction could have ended there, but it gets better. Paul writes, my flight was delayed, but the JetBlue gate agent was able to squeeze me onto an earlier flight. Shortly after getting seated, I hear over the airplanes loudspeaker. Can passenger Paul Brown, please press the flight attendant call button. Sure enough, a JetBlue employee arrived with a venti mocha from Starbucks, written on the cup sleeve. Was Mr. Brown, enjoy your flight. They even brought me some comments for afterwards. Once again, this is one of those situations where the company absolutely did not have to do this. Paul knew that I don't think he expected and actual coffee delivery from that tweet, which makes it even more impactful that it happened. And I can only imagine his affinity for the JetBlue brand went way up after that experience. 33. Example #3: This story was shared with consumerist.com by a reader named James, and they summed it up pretty well. So I'm just gonna go ahead and read it as written. James and his wife, both big Doctor Who fans on a limited budget, decided they would only give each other one gift this year for Christmas. Problem is, his wife was very specific about what she wanted. So that took a lot of the fun out of the process for James. So he decided he was going to surprise her anyway with a gift from think geek. Making matters more complicated since his wife handles the finances, James couldn't simply use his cards to charge a purchase and risk having his purchase spoiled when his wife sees think geek on the statement. So James scrounged up and saved as much change as he could. He even founded old Sears gift card that had a few bucks left on it. When he had enough money, he took the cash and the card to Kmart and bought a twenty-five dollar MasterCard gift card, exactly what he thought he'd need to buy the doctor who toy he wanted to surprise his wife with. But when he went online at work to places order, he suddenly realized that if you wanted to make sure he got it by Christmas, the purchase would actually cost him 26, 34. So he goes on to think geeks customer service chat and explains his minor predicament. The rep asks if he's gotta think geek account. He tells her yes, but he's not expecting she'll be able to make an exception for him. Two minutes later, she replies and tells me she's putting through a five-dollar gift certificate for me. He tells consumerist totally gravitas, totally unexpected, did not have to do that at all. She literally could have just said, oh, well, nothing we can do, sir. But instead makes this Christmas super Mary and full of when the extra $5 actually allow James to pay for even faster shipping, saving James's Christmas and turning him into a customer who wants to tell everyone about thinking service. So that's the end of the story. Great example of a brand going above and beyond to help a customer out a five-dollar gift certificate may not seem like much. And for the company, it isn't much. It's a very easy thing to do. But for the customer, it's solved the predicament he was in left him with a very favorable impression of the brand. Now you don't go above and beyond as a means to an end. You're not looking for anything in return. You're just doing it to provide a good experience for the individual customer. But at the end of the day, we are in business here. And think about what that five-dollar gift certificate ultimately bought for the company. I'm sure James told multiple friends about it, earned think DKA mention on consumerist.com. And now it's in this course. So seemingly small actions like this can create a much larger impact than what you may intuitively expect. So keep that in mind. 34. Example #4: This example is about B Dalton bookseller before it was acquired by Barnes and Noble. So a customer went into the store looking for a specific book that her son wanted for Christmas. So a bit of urgency there. The employee looked in the computer system and it said the book was in stock, but it was still packed. So she went to look through the packed books, but ultimately, she couldn't find it. When she came back. Instead of just leaving the customer hanging, she actually called the competition, which was borders, reserved the book for the customer and print it out directions to the borders Bookstore. When she got there, all she had to do was go up to the counter in the book, was waiting for her. Now, traditionally, this does not make good business sense, right? I mean, B. Dalton did not make a sale from that customer that day, but they did make an impression. They showed that they're willing to do the unexpected and put their own interests aside to help a customer get what she's looking for in time for Christmas. That's the kind of impression you should strive to make, even if it doesn't result in short-term monetary gains. It results in a relationship that will continue to pay dividends for years to come. 35. Mental Health In Customer Service: This lecture is going to be a bit of a departure from the rest of the course because we've been focusing on the customer naturally. But I want to pause for a moment and focus on you. If you've worked in customer service for any length of time, you don't need me to tell you that it can be emotionally demanding work when your entire job is centered around the needs of others, it can be quite easy to neglect your own needs. Now, just to be clear, I cannot speak about mental health from any position of professional authority. But as someone who's worked in customer service and interacts with thousands of customers. I just want to give you a few sort of bullet points to keep in mind to hopefully keep this work as positive and healthy as possible. So first, let's address the elephant in the room. We haven't really gone into this. But it needs to be said, you're going to encounter bad customers. And when I say bad customers, I mean, people who are difficult, people who are rude and unappreciated, people who take out their frustration and anger on you. Now, depending on the type of business you're in and the types of customers you serve. This may happen more or less frequently, but understand, it's going to happen at least occasionally. So what do you do about it? First and foremost, understand that you are in control of the situation. A customer may have completely lost control of their emotions. But it's important that you keep control of yours. You don't want to lose your cool because nothing good comes out of that. So stay calm. Try to steer the conversation in a productive direction and use the techniques we've discussed in this course to disarm them and get them on your side. If you're unable to calm the customer down and they're being aggressive or treating you with outright disrespect. It may be time to end the phone call, ask them to leave, call security, whatever you need to do to remove yourself from the situation again without losing your temper at any point. You may have noticed that not once in this course did I say the customer is always right. I think that phrase probably comes from a good place with good intentions, very similar to the intentions behind this course, which are about providing an exceptional customer experience in any way that we can. But you are a human being and you deserve to be treated with respect. Once that line is crossed. In my view, customer is never right. Now. Hopefully, these sorts of extreme interactions will be few and far between. However, you're still going to have negative interactions that don't necessarily cross any lines. When things go wrong. Customers naturally get upset. They get upset at the company. And you are the representative of the company, right? So the key here is to not take it personally when customers are upset. It's a bit of a paradox because in delivering goods service, you want to get personal. You want to have genuine human interactions. But at the same time, you don't want to take things personally because at the end of the day, it's not personal and it's so important to keep that in mind. The customer may be upset with the company about something that went wrong. But chances are they're not upset with you as an individual. When these things happen, try to detach yourself from the emotional heat of the situation, the customer's tone of voice and so on. Focus on what they're actually saying and try to get to the root of the problem. I want to reiterate that empathy is very important in these situations. In the vast majority of cases, an upset customer has a valid reason for being upset. They're dissatisfied with the company. They have unmet expectations. And once again, in terms of the interaction itself, they probably just want to feel heard. So listen closely, apologize where appropriate, and express your understanding. That's going to go a long way toward diffusing and emotionally charged situation. And then of course, if you can remedy the problem and end on a truly positive note, even better. If you find yourself stressed from a particularly difficult situation, I highly recommend reaching out to others for support. This could be a manager, it could be a colleague. They may be able to step in and help with the situation or simply provide emotional support. Chances are the people you're working with have dealt with similar challenges in the past. And it can be really helpful to get their perspective or even just vent to someone who understands. And of course, be sure to lend an ear to those around you when they are experiencing stressful interactions as well. A strong support system is so incredibly valuable. I would also encourage you to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Please leave work at work, disconnect, live your life, spent time with the people you care about, do things you enjoy and come back refreshed and recharged without carrying the stress of a negative interaction around with you. Now, talking about this stuff in detail sounds inherently a little bleak. But the reality is the vast majority of customer service interactions are positive. And it's important to remind yourself of that. As human beings, we tend to focus disproportionately on negative experiences, but with a little conscious effort, you can shift some of that focus to the positive. Celebrate your wins when you solve a problem for a customer, or make someone's day with something you did. Those things are worth celebrating. Customer service while challenging at times can be incredibly rewarding. So let it be rewarding. Again, I can only speak from personal experience here, but please do make an effort to take care of yourself and show yourself the same level of compassion that you show your customers. 36. Reviewing Key Concepts: Let's take a few moments to review some of the key concepts we've covered in this course. We're gonna go section by section and basically just do a rapid fire review of the most important takeaways. Hopefully this will refresh your memory and sort of bring everything together. And if you feel that you need to revisit anything or hear something in more detail. By all means, feel free to jump right back into that section and give it another watch. We'll begin with the fundamentals of customer service. If you recall, we started the course with a very basic definition. Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during, and after purchase. It's all about serving the customer. And that should be the primary goal of the entire company. Not just the customer service team, but every team and every individual within the company. Everyone is contributing to that end goal of customer service. And remember it, providing good customer service is more important than ever before because of the built in accountability system created by the internet and social media. Whether you provide a good experience or a bad experience, you can expect people to hear about it. It's going to impact your brand and it's going to impact your ability to drive business in the future, either in a positive way or a negative way. Moving on to the foundations of exceptional customer service, it is so important that you know your customers. You need to know your customer base as a collective whole. And you need to know your customers individually. And this applies to those working in customer service as well as those working elsewhere in the company. Because once again, the entire company only exists to serve customers, and you can only serve your customers well if you actually know them. You also need to have a thorough understanding of your product itself. You need to know your brand voice and you need to be familiar with all the different communication channels that we use to deliver service in today's world. Next up, communication skills. Do you remember what we said is the most important skill for anyone working in customer service. It's being a good listener. Good listening skills can help you avoid misunderstandings. Get to know your customers better. And perhaps most importantly, make your customers feel heard and understood. When they've had a negative experience. Remember to speak with customers in a friendly and respectful manner and always bring as much positive energy to the conversation as possible. Take care of your appearance, be mindful of your body language. So you're always projecting confidence and approachability. Practice your vocal tonality, and be intentional with your word choice when speaking with customers. In terms of proactive customer service, the top priority in any business should be delivering a high quality product or service. That's the solution to the vast majority of customer problems and complaints. Beyond that, you want to build customer service into your existing systems to make it as seamless as possible for customers to get the help they need. Check-in with your customers after the sale, see if there's anything you could do to improve their experience and listen closely to their feedback. Monitor social media for mentions of your brand and your products, and use it as a channel to creatively delight your customers. Be sure to handle mistakes proactively, and always go above and beyond for your customers. Once again, going above and beyond is about over-delivering across the board, as well as personalizing the experience for individual customers whenever possible. Moving onto reactive customer service, when a customer has a problem, you want to help them as quickly as possible, listen carefully to what they have to say and offer a genuine apology, taking full ownership of any mistakes that have been made. And then of course it's time to solve the problem itself. And when you do that, you want to go above and beyond wherever you can. It's counter-intuitive, but mistakes are an opportunity to turn dissatisfied customers into lifelong fans. So always be sure to take that opportunity. Customer service strategies vary from one organization to another. So there are plenty of companies specific details and processes that couldn't make it into this course. However, I do believe we've covered the key principles that are timeless and widely applicable that you can carry with you and apply to any business in any industry. Specific processes and technologies and things like that are simply extensions of these core principles. So whether you're working in a law firm, software company, a restaurant, the principles are the same. It's just a matter of applying them to your individual business. 37. Wrapping Up: With this course, we have covered a lot of ground from the basic foundations of customer service to communication skills, proactive customer service, and reactive customer service. You are now armed with all the tools you need to deliver exceptional customer experiences. Please feel free to refer back to the lectures as needed and do let me know if you have any questions or if anything is unclear. Before I go. I just want to thank you for joining me in this course. I know there are a lot of other things you could have done with this time. So I really hope it's been valuable and I wish you nothing but the best in your career and your customer service efforts.