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What I’ve Learned from the Customer Experience: How Listening Leads to Loyalty 

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I’ve been working in customer service for the better part of my life. Whether it was being a babysitter at the age of 12, dipping Italian Ice at a local amusement park, dressing up as a beloved mascot for our local baseball team, or meeting with clients as an account manager for Conklin Media– I’ve come to know one thing: customer experience matters.

miracle on 34th street movie

Do you remember the remake of Miracle on 34th Street? It’s been a favorite Christmas movie of mine for some time. It may be that the characters dress like they are in the 40s even though the movie is made in the 90s, or it could be Dylan McDermott, but there has always been one scene in the film that sticks out to me. 

When Santa meets with the children and hears what is on their lists, the parents are often aghast at the prices for the products within the department store where he works. So, Santa tells the parents what store has the toy at a better price. This, in return, makes the parents very happy and actually makes the parents more apt to shop at Santa’s department store because he’s become a trusted advisor. What eight-year-old takes that away from a Christmas movie? I guess one that enjoys building relationships and providing outstanding customer service.

My role at Conklin Media is unique– I am not the button pusher, the writer, the artist, or the developer. I have no skills that can actually help make our business money. Still, I can say that having skills in customer service is paramount to increasing customer retention. When we onboard a new client, I become the point of contact for most interactions. I always want to ensure that I come across as accessible and friendly. 

Unfortunately, handling frustration and an unhappy client is something you will encounter when you’re working in customer service. I recommend three things when working with a client situation that may be fragile: empathy, active listening, and humility.

Empathy: Your client trusts you to help run their business and, in turn, make them more money. You are handling their money as your own, so when there is a loss within the business, you need to make sure that you are aware that this not only affects their business but yours as well. It is paramount to ensure that you address the situation head on and have a game plan to rectify any errors. When their business loses, your business does too. Make them aware that you are just as upset by the results as they are and that you are invested in turning their business around. 

Active Listening: Do you hear why your client is upset? These conversations can be tough to have. Often it can mean you’re sitting on a zoom call or in a conference room with people who are unhappy with you. Give them the space to really share their feelings. A lot of what is said can be harmful and uncomfortable to hear. When they are done, make sure you let them know that you understand their frustrations and are here for them. Provide examples based on what they said about how you can help change the situation. 

Humility: Sometimes, you just have to fall on your sword and admit when you were in the wrong. This goes a long way. And believe me – it sucks, because no one wants to be wrong – I’m a Capricorn we’re never wrong … except for when we are, and you need to know when to say you’re sorry and ask for forgiveness. Humility really does go a long way. Owning up to your mistakes and making them right is a huge part of the trust process. 

Losing a client is never fun, but it’s how you handle those losses and move forward as a company that sets you apart. Even when we lose a client, we make sure that the offboarding process is just as pleasant as the onboarding process was. Let them know that should they ever need your services in the future, all they need to do is reach out. We even have implemented an Exit Interview for our clients who are no longer using our services. Losing clients is an opportunity to grow so as to hopefully not encounter the same mistakes again.

Most of these probably seem like common sense, but I think we all just need a reminder every once in a while to put aside our pride and make sure we are doing the right thing. And if you are my client and are reading this and think to yourself, yeah Pam, you are so full of it, you definitely don’t practice what you preach, please let me know because I want you to have the best experience possible when you are with Conklin, and I can always find a way to do my job better.

Pam Abreu

Pam Abreu

Pam has been working in digital marketing over the course of three decades. She has seen the industry change on a daily basis and stays in the know of what the latest trends are. Her main role is being the main point of contact for our clients. Most days you can find her on Zoom meetings discussing campaigns with clients and co-workers.

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