provide customer service that Aunt May would be proud ofPretend your Aunt May has called you with a problem.

She called you because you’re in the AC / Electrical / Plumbing / Roofing / Etc biz.

What’s the first thing you ask her after saying hello?

“What’s wrong?”

Of course you say that. She’s calling you with a problem, and even if she hasn’t said it yet, you can hear it in her voice.

What’s the next thing you say?

“I’m so sorry to hear that.”

Or maybe, “I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with that.”

Some words to that effect, right? Something that expresses sympathy for her problem.

And you follow that with an immediate assurance that, yes, you can help her.

In fact, in the best case scenario, you’d tell her you’ll be right over to help.

Only then — only after all of the above — would you perhaps ask her where she lives.

Let’s just assume she recently moved and you need to update her address, OK?

So let’s recap:

  1. Hello + What’s wrong?
  2. I’m sorry about your problem and I can definitely help
  3. I’m on my way over, let me double check your address

Here’s How & Why Most Customer Service Reps Screw This Up

I’m betting if you reviewed your customer service calls you’d find that they’re actually inverting your Aunt May order.

First they get their name and address and fill in all the persons info.

And only then do they ask about the problem.

Worse, they may or may not express sympathy.

And perhaps only rarely give the customer reassurance that your company can definitely help them.

Note that this is absolutely how no one wants to be treated and how no one would treat a friend or family member.

So why do your customer service reps do this?

Why Your Scheduling Software Might Be Sabotaging Your Customer Service

Because they’re staring at a screen that needs to be filled out prior to booking an appointment.

And they let that screen dictate the course of the call rather than their own common sense.

The CS Rep wants to book the call. And in order to book the call, they need to fill out the screen, so they do that first.

Also there’s the fact that you might not have trained your reps otherwise.

Or haven’t insisted on reps adhering to the training through proper review.

So the customer calls your company, expecting you to put their needs first, only to interact with a rep who insists on getting their informational needs met before addressing the customer’s problem.

If you’re smart, you’ll fix this.

And if you’re really smart, you’ll double check to ensure your fix has “stuck,” by routinely reviewing random calls.

Taking This to the Next Level

Earlier I mentioned the importance of expressing sympathy or empathy for the caller combined with providing assurance.

Now, as you might imagine, there are various levels of this, ranging from the unconvincing to the adequate to the great.

    • Unconvincing: “we can definitely get you booked for an appointment to get that fixed.” Especially if it’s said with all the conviction of a routine, said-it-a-thousand-times drone.
    • Adequate: “We can absolutely fix that for you right away. Our guys are really good at it, and I’ve got a slot open today if you’d like.” Especially if said with enthusiasm.
    • Great: “We actually specialize in fixing that for a flat price. In fact, Tony, the tech/plumber/etc I’ll be sending has been doing this for over 10 years. He’s a certified expert and super nice. He’s who’d I’d want if it was my home. Can I schedule for this afternoon?” Especially if said not only with enthusiasm but sincerity.

Note that the last example includes what one service excellence expert has called “Managing Up” the employee who’ll be scheduled for that customer.

This helps the employee a great deal who will now have added credibility when he walks in the door.

And it also helps the customer, because she’s not only been assured that she’s called the right company, but that your company is sending the best guy possible to help her.

Of course, as is usually the case with customer service, delivery depends on having the business logistics squared away to deliver on the promises.

You can’t offer the customer an appointment for today if all your guys are booked.

Nor can your CS rep gush over the tech she’s sending over if she has no idea who will be scheduled for the call.

But no matter where you are on the logistics train, you can still have your rep address the customers problem and anxiety right away, rather than attempting to fill out the darn booking form at the customer’s emotional expense.