Listening to the voice of the customer

The Internet is full of good and bad examples of customer service. Many people make a living just documenting all these case studies, but one recent example that went viral caught my attention.

When a customer used a chat session to ask Netflix why their movie was not working the customer service agent responded as if he was a character from Star Trek. The customer responded in the same manner. They interacted in character and Netflix tried resolving the issue with both their representative and customer laughing together as they tried to keep their discussion in the style of a conversation aboard the USS Enterprise.

This may seem frivolous, but it’s an example of how people like to be served – hence the conversation going viral with many commentators asking why can’t all customer service interactions be like this?

Customers really like two aspects of this approach. Firstly, the agent is completely open to whatever the customer throws at him. There is no segregation of department or problem or indication that ‘I’m not in the right department, you need to hold while I transfer you…’ The approach is simply ‘what can I do to help?’

Secondly, the agent was a little cheeky when introducing himself using the style of a Star Trek character, but this attitude fits the brand. Companies like Netflix and Virgin can adopt this very friendly manner; it’s what customers expect. Importantly though, when the customer responded using a similar style of communication, the agent ran with the gag and they fixed the problem together while pretending to be Star Trek engineers.

It demonstrates that the agent is empowered by his own boss to react to the customer and interact in an appropriate way. If that means speaking Klingon then so be it – though I expect most customers would just want their movie back again rather than engaging in their own type of film dialogue!

Agents with real empowerment and the ability to help quickly – that’s a powerful customer service message that will keep customers returning to the brand over and over again.

Netflix; class action settlement

Photo by Laura Fries licensed under Creative Commons

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