Breaking the ice with customer service

Customer service is not only about connecting with customers based on reason or logic. By taking it to the emotional level, a stronger relationship will develop. When this next level connection takes place, customers take away something that they will remember forever – a memory. This is often unexpected and requires some discretionary effort, but it works like magic.

Depending on your industry, with hundreds of customers and most likely thousands of interactions, it can be very difficult to know when and how to create a positive memory with your customer. Think about it now, does it start to do your head in? The trick is to start very small by taking something that you do every day and just changing it up to be different.

One company certainly knows how to do this, and I’m sure you would have all heard of them. It is Foxtel. How can a company like Foxtel who’s entire business is in our living rooms, in front of us when we are not working, create a relatable memory with impact during a face-to-face interaction? The answer has been staring at you for ages! It’s in their business cards.

No, not ordinary business cards. Business cards presented with choice – that’s right, you select which well-known movie, sport or hero you would like to take home with you. Have you ever seen something like this before? It gets even better. On the other side, the person giving it to you opens up about what they tell people they watch on Foxtel; what they actually watch on Foxtel; and who they see themselves as in their dreams. Pretty easy for a company like Foxtel to do, you think? Take a look at some of the key lessons we can learn from this and how you can apply that in your organisation.

1. They differentiate their industry

How often do you see business cards, with the same size and same colours with the same texture? Sure, Foxtel has the advantage of being in the television industry – but make no mistake, they make that known the instance you receive their business card.

2. They think of a non-obvious emotional stage

Often, we get so caught up in delivering customer service in the frequent and obvious parts of our business, but it is those that are non-obvious which can also have an impact. Giving out business cards is not particularly exciting – for both the giver and the receiver. This introduces fun on both sides.

3. They recognise customers’ individuality

Firstly, the three questions on the back demonstrate that the Foxtel staff member is an individual. But by circulating three or four relevant print designs, it takes it to a whole new level with customers. Some people love movies, some people love sport. On this occasion, the customer gets to choose what business card they want based on their television viewing preferences.

4. They use this as an opportunity

This can be used as a tactical tool based on the interaction that they are having. Sometimes the card could be brought out at the beginning of the interaction, sometimes it might come out at the end, depending on the topic and mood of the customer. Either way, the Foxtel staff member develops a deeper understanding of customer service, and how and when they can make an impact.

5. They are empowered

Business cards can vary in price. For a few designs that are jumbled in random order, it might cost a little more. This additional cost becomes insignificant when customers are left with a positive memory over a simple action. The perceived cost is ignored and the senior leaders would recognise this as a tool, which empowers their staff to create positive memories with their customers.

Chris Smoje, Founder, Dime Customer Service

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