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customer service techniques

Best Customer Service Techniques Used By Brands People Love

People choose their brands as they choose their friends. You choose friends not usually because of special skills or physical attributes but simply because you like them as people. — Stephen King

And what we value in people, besides a sharp mind and a good sense of humor, is sensitivity and responsiveness.

We strive to surround ourselves with people who lend a helping hand when we need it. And as we choose brands the same way we choose friends, we have the exact same expectations.

As a customer service rep, you are responsible for customer happiness. And mastering the right service techniques will make this task easier for you.

Let’s learn from the best. Here are some of the best customer service techniques that icons of customer service, such as Apple or Disney, use.

Table of contents:

  1. How Apple Mastered Its Customer Service
  2. 5 Steps of Service
  3. Name Memorization Technique
  4. Customer Empathy Technique
  5. The Rule of Positive Language
  6. How Disney Mastered Its Customer Service
  7. Failure Recovery Customer Service Technique
  8. Explanation Customer Service Techniques

How Apple Mastered Its Customer Service

Apple is known for its idea of taking control over people’s desires.

Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves. — Steve Jobs

Apple’s customer loyalty rate is around 90%. Apple was able to achieve this rate by making the customer experience a priority from the very beginning.

You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around. — Steve Jobs

Before opening the first store, Apple sent its store managers to attend hospitality training.

There they have learned a three-step service technique, including a warm greeting, fulfillment of customer’s needs and a fond farewell using the guest’s name.

The highest mission of Apple is the genuine care and comfort of its guests, including fulfilling their even unexpressed wishes and needs.

With time they worked out their own techniques that helped them to take their customer service to the next level.

Let’s start with A.P.P.L.E Technique – a five points guide for serving any client, or selling any product.

5 Steps of Service

Let’s see how this technique works on the example of the conversation I had with Jacob, an Apple Store Specialist, along with the steps and my notes.

  • A – Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome.

Every customer should be greeted in a friendly and personal way. A customer’s perception begins to be formed in the first 10 seconds of an interaction. So you have 10 seconds to make a good impression.

Jacob – Hi, Kate

Kate – Hi, I would like to learn more about the iPhone 11. I’m trying to figure out if I should upgrade my iPhone.

Jacob – For starters, iPhone 11 is just the right amount of everything.

Jacob already knew my name, because the person who initially greeted me entered my name and description into the iPad he was carrying. So Jacob knew exactly who to approach. The Apple approach is very personal, it makes the customer feel special.

  •  P – Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs.

This simply means to ask a series of closed and open-ended questions so you can know more about the customer and match him with the right product. Not the most expensive one, or most popular.

You need to match the customer with the product that actually meets his needs and wants – the right one. Otherwise, you are not helping, but pushing the customer to the wrong decision. Do you think he will come back after that?

Jacob – Do you play the guitar?

Jacob just started a series of closed and open-ended questions to better understand my needs. He may have assumed I’m a musician because I was carrying a guitar case I just bought.

Kate – Yes, I love playing the guitar.

Jacob – Let me introduce you to GarageBand. GarageBand turns your iPhone into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio — so you can make music anywhere you go.

Jacob takes me on a tour of GarageBand. The conversation is personalized and that’s what makes customers remember.

  •  P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today.

No one likes wasting time or waiting. That’s why you need to provide a solution for the customer today. Even though it wouldn’t be the solution he expected, it’s always something.

For example, when you walk into Apple Store to see a technical specialist and all of them are busy, you will not leave with anything.

A trained specialist would offer you an alternative solution – sign you up for tomorrow or show you how to reserve an appointment on the web site.

Kate – iPhone 11 looks great. I’m not going to buy it today, but I will talk to my boyfriend about it.

Jacob – Please do. We have something called personal pickup. You can purchase the iPhone online and pick it up here in the store.

Jacob’s goal is not to sell me the iPhone at all costs, his goal is to provide a solution and great experiences.

  • L – Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.

Each person has their unexpressed wishes and concerns. In Apple, even those should be uncovered and resolved. You need to pick up on them during the «probing» step, that’s why it’s important to ask good questions.

Jacob – Kate, before you go, can I ask how many gigabytes you have on your iPhone?

Kate – 64GB

Jacob – May I see it?

Now, he is going to look at how much capacity I use.

Jacob – I see you are using almost all of your capacity. You might want to consider the 128GB version.

Jacob knows that the ‘capacity’ question is common, and if I buy it on my own I might have questions.

  • E – End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

How you feel when you leave the Apple Store significantly impacts how you perceive the brand and whether you are likely to come back or recommend the brand to others.

That’s why they train their specialists so hard and put so much effort to make this one visit special for you.

Jacob – You will love the iPhone 11. It’s a great phone. Please come back any time and bring your boyfriend. We can show him some features he might enjoy. I hope to see you again, Kate.

Kate – Thanks, I’ll do that.

Jacob remembers, that I make decisions with my boyfriend. It means he was present during our conversation and really listening to me.

I left the store with a smile and a good feeling about my experiences.

These steps will help anyone in any industry enhance the customer experience. They are so powerful that leaders should train their staff immediately to follow each and every step in each and every customer interaction.

As you can see, personalization plays a critical role in good customer service. And one of the ways to achieve that is to use the customer’s name during the conversation.

A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. – Dale Carnegie

If you want to build a connection and make a good impression, remembering names is a good start.

Isn’t it annoying when a person doesn’t remember your name? But we ourselves often forget the names of others…

Name Memorization Technique

To better memorize names use F.A.C.E Technique:

  • F – Focus

Very often we are more focused on how to impress the other person, than the acquaintance itself. Focus on the conversation itself and hammer into your head that their name is the only thing that’s important to you.

  • A – Ask

After you’ve focused on someone, ask whether you’ve heard their name correctly to show that you care enough to get it right.

  • C – Connect

Think of something that gives the name meaning to you. Connect it with a famous person or someone you already know.

  • E – End

Use the person’s name in conversation to reinforce your memory. And end your interaction with someone by using his or her name one last time.

Unsurprisingly, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Apple does much more, they train its reps to understand the customer and empathize their way to a sale.

As a good customer service rep, you should be empathetic. Apple uses empathy as the key element in empowering customers to alter their views.

But don’t confuse empathy with sympathy, which is the ability to feel sorry for someone. While empathy is the capacity to place yourself in another’s position, to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

Never apologize for the business or technology. Instead, express regret that the person feels the way he feels.

And if you don’t feel empathetic, you will sound insincere. In such situations, you can use the 3 Fs technique. It works especially well when the customer is mistaken or has bad information.

Customer empathy technique

  • Feel

Empathize with how the customer feels in that moment, and let them know that you understand

  • Felt

Explain that you, too, once felt that way in the past.

  • Found

Tell the customer how you found that your concern was actually incorrect.

Need an example?

Customer: This Mac is just too expensive.
You: I can see how you’d feel this way. I felt the price was a little high, but I found it’s a real value because of all the built-in software and capabilities.

Moreover, to be truly empathetic, you need to cut out negative speak and redirect customer’s moods through positive language.

The Rule of Positive Language

Try to avoid saying negative words that may create a bad association with your product.

For example, don’t use ‘problem’. Instead say ‘condition’, ‘issue’ or ‘situation’.

It’s obvious that to express empathy, you need to know how the person feels. The problem is, that the customer doesn’t always outright say how does he/she feel.

For that reason, you need to study customers’ unconscious movements and what do they mean, so you can determine Emotion Portrayed through Nonverbal Gestures.

Here are the meanings of some popular gestures:

Boredom – Drumming on Table, Head in Hand, Blank Stare.
Frustration – Short Breaths, “Tsk!”, Tightly Clenched Hands.
Acceptance – Hand to the chest, Touching and Moving in Closer.

How Disney Mastered Its Customer Service

Another good example of excellent customer service is Disney.

Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends. — Walt Disney

And Disney is doing it so well, that the return rate for first-time customers is 70%. And all because you always know what to expect, whether you are a child or an adult – magic.

Disney’s brand promise – to create happiness through magical experiences, has not changed since Walt Disney opened the very first park in 1955.

How does Disney create that magic feel, whose absence causes Post Disney Depression Disorder, a condition characterized by high-level anxiety when forced to leave from a Disney vacation?

Like Apple, Disney applies guidelines to make outstanding customer experiences their trademark.

But no matter how good you are, you can not please everyone. Even though most of these failures are not your fault, they’re definitely your problem.

To deal with unhappy customers and recover from a service failure, take Disney’s H.E.A.R.D technique.

Failure Recovery Customer Service Technique

  • H – Hear

Listen. Don’t interrupt. Let your customers finish first. Let them release their frustration. Give them the freedom to share their full story.

  • E – Empathize

Empathy creates an emotional connection, moreover, it creates deep bonds of trust between the company and the customer.

  • A – Apologize

You know this feeling when someone lets you down. At such a moment there is nothing stronger than the simple apology. Apologizing means that you care and assume ownership of the problem at hand.

  • R – Resolve

Stands for speed in resolving issues. You can achieve this through training and empowering employees.

  • D – Diagnose

Analyze what led to the service failure, avoid blaming anyone, but ensure the issue will not happen again.
Seek perfection, and settle for excellence — Disney Institute

Problem-solving is directly related to the ability to explain, simply because people want to know details, that they don’t always understand.

Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. — Steve Jobs

Luckily, there are some techniques for that.

Explanation Customer Service Techniques

SEE-I

  • S – State It

Clearly stand the concept in 1 or 2 sentences.

  • E – Elaborate

Explain it further in your own words.

  • E – Exemplify

Provide examples.

  • I – Illustrate

Provide a picture, diagram, metaphor or analogy of the concept.

ELI5 – Explain Like I’m 5-Year-Old

Create a very structured message, using a very simple language, as if you need to explain something to a 5-Year-Old child.

Using both techniques during the explanation will significantly increase the chances of your customers to understand complex concepts.

Let me give you an example.

Imagine you need to explain how to turn on the computer to a person that just yesterday was trying to delete the sentence rubbing the screen with the eraser. Yes, such people exist.

How are you going to do that?

Something tells me that ‘Press a power button on the System Unit of the Desktop Computer, make sure the flat-panel display is turned on, log in.’ is not the best option.

Try this one:

To turn on the computer we need to find the power button, make sure the monitor is turned on and log in.

Let’s start with the power button.

Can you see the System Unit of your computer? – the main and the biggest part of the computer that usually has a rectangular shape.

We need to find the power button on it, most likely the biggest button on your computer. Probably it will be in the middle center or top-right corner.

Now, when we found the power button, press on it. The computer should begin booting. Can you see something on the monitor – the display of the computer or is it completely black?

If it’s black, we need to turn on the monitor. Look for the Monitor Power Button in front of the monitor, commonly on the bottom right corner. Press on it.

If the monitor turned on you need to enter the username and the password.

If you pressed the power button, but the computer does not turn on, it may have a problem and you need to contact the service.

It’s not an easy task to provide good customer service.

A single mistake and 51% of your customers will never do business with you again.

And Crazycall is here to help you.

To master these customer service techniques, record your calls and analyze the conversation. Provide even better customer experience and become an icon of customer services such as Apple or Disney.

Test Call Recordings and many other features for free for 14 days. During that time you will get full access to our software and a free phone number to fully try it out.

To Sum Up

Disney like Apple emphasized customer service experience long before they began thinking about profit. It allowed them to use their customer reputation as an anchor when they were little in size and still vulnerable.

These techniques are not just techniques, they are an introduction to the whole mindset of the customer-oriented companies. Companies that believe that a strong focus on customer satisfaction makes the company intimately engaged with its customers.

Once you understand the importance of customer experience and start to perceive customer service as hospitality, and your customer as your guests, everything about your job will change.

And remember,

The only way to do great work is to love what you do – Steve Jobs.

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