A little less conversation and a little more action makes Elvis – and your customers – happy campers.

Yup, Elvis! He’s my latest inspiration. Actually, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, waiting for the right moment or topic to come up in order to incorporate this Elvis song into a blog post. The song? A Little Less Conversation. Specifically, the chorus goes like this:

A little less conversation, a little more action, please
All this aggravation ain’t satisfactionin’ me
A little more bite, a little less bark
A little less fight and a little more spark
Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me
Satisfy me, baby

O my. Where’s she going with this?

Think words and action.

This week, Zendesk released their latest quarterly benchmark report, which focuses on the words used by customers, as well as by customer service reps, and how those word choices impact  customer satisfaction.

Customer Words and Action
With regard to customers, their findings suggest that customer behavior drives their own satisfaction;  specifically, customers who are polite (using words like “please” and thank you”) are more satisfied. Their conclusion: If you want great service, remember that words matter: taking the time to be polite when interacting with customer service might make you happier in the long run.

They also noted, based on a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, that customers define a good service interaction as follows:

So customers like quick problem resolution, friendly reps, first call resolution, and an effective solution, i.e., quality of the resolution. These findings match what I’ve seen over the years with regard to service interactions; typically the two most-important drivers of satisfaction with the service experience are speed of resolution and quality of resolution.

Agent Words and Action
Zendesk dove a bit deeper to understand how customers define “friendly reps” by looking at the frequency of those polite words (please, thank you, sorry). Not intuitively, they found that satisfaction decreased as the usage of these words increased, especially when agents used “sorry” a lot. That part doesn’t surprise me so much. Clearly, the interaction is not going well if the agent is apologizing profusely.

Zendesk offers this advice for the customer: If you find yourself in a prolonged customer service interaction and find that the agent is saying “sorry” multiple times, and not actually fixing the issue, you might need to take a step back and help them understand what your issue is. Be polite (see Customer Behavior above) and help them understand the problem you are trying to solve.

I would add that, if the agent is saying “sorry” a lot, perhaps the interaction isn’t going well because of something the agent isn’t doing or isn’t able to do. Or perhaps the customer has been transferred too many times. Or they’ve called in several times about the same issue. I’m not sure we can put the entire onus on the customer, but it’s never a bad thing to make sure the agent clearly understands the issue.

What does all that have to do with Elvis?

Maybe he was right. Maybe we need a little less conversation and a little more action – from customer service agents. Talk less. Do more to solve the problem – and get it right the first time.

What do you think of the Zendesk findings?

Well done is better than well said. -Benjamin Franklin