What makes a customer service interaction great? Is it speed? Efficiency? Some other tangible thing like average handle time? While all of these things contribute to stellar customer service, the north star for all customer service teams is customer courtesy.
Customer courtesy is one aspect of customer service that can’t be measured. However, the results of its implementation are undeniable.
59% of customers surveyed for Gladly’s 2022 Customer Expectations Report say that they are more likely to recommend a brand to their friends because of its customer service. And customer service starts with treating your customer with kindness and empathy. In this article, we’re going to spell out some of the details of customer courtesy and what makes it an all-important practice in the world of consumer service.
What is customer courtesy?
Customer courtesy refers to behaviors and practices commonly followed by consumer-facing teams, such as call centers, customer service teams, and service reps. Actions and behaviors rooted in customer courtesy aim to make customers feel listened to, respected, and prioritized.
Why is customer courtesy important?
Key customer courtesy behaviors — like compassion and understanding during customer service interactions — have several benefits. They’ve been shown to create more repeat customers and yield better results and a higher number of fully resolved issues. All of this adds up to improved customer satisfaction, which is a win for both your customers and your company.
From Gladly’s 2022 Customer Expectations Report, consumers said:
- 66% of them would prefer brands that know them and can recommend things they would like
- 59% of them will recommend a brand to a friend because of great service
- 42% of them will stop buying from a brand after two bad service experiences
As we can see from these statistics, bad customer service has the potential to do irreparable damage to customer relationships. Not only will you lose a customer, but you may even lose the business of their friends and family.
Conversely, positive customer service interactions can lead to increased customer AOV, more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to happy shoppers, increased word-of-mouth referrals, and a decreased likelihood of brand switching.
What Affects Customer Courtesy?
While there’s not a dedicated CX metric for customer courtesy, there are several landmark behaviors, experiences and actions that drive or support customer courtesy.
1. Speed of response to customers.
Your customer’s time is important. This should be a fundamental belief held by anyone in any role in customer service. And your customers should also know that you believe that. But it’s something you have to prove, not just say. So, the first way to show courtesy to customers is by addressing their issue with speed and efficiency.
Of course there will be waiting periods depending on the urgency of the issue, and no one expects you to solve a complex issue right away. But your customer should be updated promptly when there are shifts in their resolution, and first introductions should be made as quickly as possible.
A Strategic Shift to Slash Your CX Volume by 35%
The biggest CX time-wasters are agents being are forced to cobble together multiple tickets into a single issue, or needing multiple tools to gather details on a single inquiry. Using customer-based platforms like Gladly not only reduces overall volume by up to 35%, but also provides faster, more intuitive interactions, thanks to a single, ongoing customer timeline view — regardless of channel.
2. Acknowledging the shoppers’ relationship with your company
This factor is especially crucial for brands that are looking to build or improve upon customer loyalty. When interacting with a customer who has shopped with your brand for months or years, acknowledging their history is a natural way to drive connection and demonstrate appreciation.
Some of the best ways to do this include anniversary or birthday reminders, special promotional discounts or offers for top-tier customers, or reminders when a past-purchased product is coming up on sale soon.
3. Friendliness from support staff.
Your customer is a person, and they want to be treated like one — not like a ticket or case number. Part of treating your customer like a person is by using friendly language which demonstrates that you are ready and willing to help your caller out in whatever way you can.
This means using greetings such as “Good Morning!” or “Hi Mary! How can I help you today?”; expressing appreciation for their time, and ending on a friendly note. You might say something like, “I’m so glad we were able to solve your issue. Don’t hesitate to call us back if you have any questions.”
4. Human interactions with shoppers.
Your customer wants to know that you are also a person. It can sometimes be intimidating to contact a corporate customer service line. It helps to ease the interaction if the consumer gets that you’re another human and not just a support drone. Introduce yourself when you start the conversation, and use casual but professional language when addressing your caller. Be willing to share a laugh with them, and express genuine empathy if they’re upset or frustrated.
This also means avoiding addressing yourself as “we”. Don’t hide behind the identity of your company. Practice using singular personal pronouns: refer to yourself as “I” when indicating yourself to show that you are an individual. This helps to make the interaction feel more personal.
5. Listening actively and empathically.
Your customer wants to know that you care. It can be extremely uncomfortable for customers if they hear nothing from you during your interaction, especially once they’re done talking.
Think about how you have face-to-face conversations with your friends. You probably make eye contact, nod, and make short responses to let them know that you’re listening. Now think about what you might do to translate those affirmative gestures into a phone call with a customer. Mhms, ahs, yes oks, and statements like “I’m so sorry that that happened, I’ll get on that right away” will let your customer know that you’re paying attention.
How Gladly Drives Customer Courtesy
Gladly strives to put the customer at the forefront of every service interaction. Our radically personal solution believes in a people-centric approach to service, and sees people, not just tickets. This philosophy helps us help you provide the best possible experiences for your customers, by making them feel both seen and heard with every call.
Want to know more about how Gladly works? Sign up for a free Gladly demo today.