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Imagine contacting a customer service team out of frustration and you get this message. In this day and age where customers have zero tolerance for bad customer service, you need to drive empathy and advocate for the needs of the customers in every message you put out.
Your customer service reps are the face and voice of your company. How do you get them to show your customers that you have their best interests in mind? With customer advocacy language. In this blog, we’ll break down the concept of customer advocacy language and how it adds value to your business.
What is Customer Advocacy Language?
Customer advocacy language serves as a rulebook of communication elements that your customer-facing teams should incorporate in their customer interactions. The language and tone you use have a huge impact on customer experience and customer advocacy language sets the right standards for your interactions.
Why Should You Use Customer Advocacy Language?
Customer service representatives are customer advocates. When customers contact you, they want you to understand their concerns and provide them with the right solution. Before getting to the actual resolution, customers want the reassurance that you care. Customer service interactions can be tricky. How you say something is equally important as what you say, particularly when you are dealing with frustrated customers. Even a word that’s out of place or doesn’t read the mindset of the customer can make you look impassive and tone-deaf.
Simply put, customer advocacy language is a soft skill that helps your customer service team deliver subject matter expertise in a language that brings customer’s needs to the front and not just focuses on problem-solving. Focusing on language is a great place to drive a customer-centric culture since what you say can make or break your customer relationships. Here are 5 ways in which you can incorporate customer advocacy language in your customer service interactions.
Best Practices for Effective Advocacy Language
1. Be Positive
In support, you are not expecting happy customers to call up and tell you how much they like your service and how happy they are to recommend you. Unlike other customer-facing teams, being in support involves dealing with anxious, frustrated customers who are probably one step away from abandoning your business. That is why the most basic rule of customer advocacy language is to be and sound positive. Using positive language will relieve the tension in the air and help both parties to communicate freely.
Say, a situation where a new customer pins a user error on the product. Though it may seem rudimentary to a product expert or a customer service agent who works with these issues day in and day out, it is still not the customer’s fault that he is not educated about your product. Instead of saying “I think you have misunderstood it” or “That’s not how it works”, you can say “We understand the issue now. Can you try [xyz]? Please feel free to contact us if the issue persists”. A slight change in how you convey the solution eliminates the blaming tone and restores your customer relationship.
2. Be Consistent in Tone
Consistency in language is the best way to carry out any difficult conversation. As an agent, if you use similar connotations and language with customers on several different occasions, you invoke a safe feeling when they approach you about a new issue. A simple, repetitive, “Happy to help. We appreciate your business” at the end of every call will take your customers back to a time when they had an issue that was successfully resolved.
Besides, maintaining language consistency helps in brand positioning. Customers are exposed to thousands of brands in the market. Maintaining consistency in language positions your brand in the minds of your customers in the way you want to and creates familiarity. Your loyal customers are your brand advocates. Your language plays a huge part in influencing positive testimonials, word-of-mouth, reviews, and hence your retention and growth curve.
3. Be Concise and Not Rude
Customers want effective resolutions no matter what the issue is and they want it fast. Customers regard fast resolutions as the most important attribute of customer service and this means that you should get to the point concisely and fast. Particularly when customers call you for simple issues such as installing a device or setting up an integration, they want anything but detailed product run-throughs. Creating a self-help knowledge base will help you by reducing some of these basic service requests. But if the customer is not in the mood to read through guides and case studies, they will end up contacting you and you need to be prepared for that.
However, the challenge lies in walking the line between providing concise solutions without appearing rushed or rude. Even after solving the issue, ask if they need help with anything else. Ask if they got the solution they needed. Provide concise solutions not by cutting down on the call time but by improving the quality of the conversation and by trimming unnecessary explanations. Don’t provide insufficient or overly detailed explanations. The key is to be just adequate.
4. Be Understandable and Not Colloquial
Speaking of precise language, there is also a difference between being understandable and not colloquial. You might be a subject matter expert who has a technical understanding of things. But while talking with customers, you need to stick to the language that is understandable and free of details that don’t pertain to them. Use the right amount of formal and friendly language that doesn’t exclude any customers who don’t come from a specific background.
Also, make sure to not go overboard while trying to sound friendly. It is tough to build trust and thought leadership when you talk like how you talk on social media. Sound professional yet humane for healthy customer journey management.
5. Bring in Personalization
If there is a thumb rule to effective customer advocacy language, it is to be a trustworthy advocate who acts as a brand ambassador bridging the gap between the business and its customers. Customers want these advocates to be neutral and represent their issues inside the company. You need to constantly show customers that you are on their side and are diligently taking every step to address their concerns. Personalization plays a key role in achieving this. A customer issue maybe just another ticket to a service rep, but for a customer, it is a service that is not fulfilling the outcomes he paid for. This is an instance where you should avoid robotic conversations that are not tailored to your customers.
Bring small elements of personalization like adding the customer’s name to the conversation and step it up from there. Reward returning customers with referral programs. Schedule a demo for a new feature upgrade that might be useful to them. Different customers have different needs; unique needs. Cater to them, because in customer engagement, one size does not fit all.
No matter how impeccable your customer service is, situations are bound to go out of hand at some point. Advocacy language strategy leaves no room for miscommunications that can impair and cause damage to customer relationships. It serves as a benchmark for how your business interacts with your customers and introduces a customer-centric approach to all aspects of your business.
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