Business Practices | | Published November 15, 2012

Each Customer Support Ticket is a Story

With the holiday season approaching, now is an appropriate time to remind ourselves that each customer is different. That may sound like an empty platitude, but it goes a little deeper than that. Managing customer expectations is a critical part of your customer support operation and one that your service desk should be directly helping with.

Around this time each year we inevitably hear in the media the debate over whether businesses should say "Christmas" or "holiday" or use any festive salutation at all when greeting their customers. Although this post isn't about that debate, it does relate to the central point that every customer has their own story to tell and their own unique perspective from which they are telling it.

Each person involved in the Christmas/holidays debate feels their opinion is correct. Usually, their perspective comes somewhere from their past: they remember growing up when Christmas was all anyone talked about, or they don't celebrate Christmas and wish to be included in the national dialogue.

Whatever the case, it's their perspective, and theirs alone. When a customer calls or emails you to ask a question, you can't forget their story, or you've forgotten the customer!

The Little Details

Often in customer service what is most important to the customer are not big details; the current order, for instance, or where they usually get their order shipped to. That stuff is easily tracked and pulled up when needed. It's the little details that most often make the biggest impact and win people over.

For example, there may be one customer that calls repeatedly about a problem or perhaps to order over the phone instead of online. Eventually you get to know a little about this person. When you pick up the phone and hear it's them on the line, you don't pretend to not know them, you greet them warmly, welcome them back, ask how they have been; that familiarity is what brings customers back again and again. It's something even the largest companies in the world can use to make customers feel like they're a corner market.

So when that customer calls, you ask them about their puppy that was sick or the business venture they're thinking about taking, whatever is part of their story, what makes them unique. Knowing their story is part of delivering great customer service.

Don't Force It

All that being said, don't try and force the conversation if it isn't going to be natural. If that same person from above calls up and you can't remember any past details, don't distract yourself from the call trying to recall something to talk about. Just mention you remember you recently spoke and ask how they have been since that interaction.

Nothing is worse than a customer service representative that is obviously faking enthusiasm. Being authentically happy is one thing, but some reps go over the top to hide just how not-enthused they are; throwing out a half dozen references to the customer's life to the point that the customer might be left wondering if the rep isn't a cousin pulling a prank!

So keep it light, simple, and professional. The customer's individual story is there to accentuate your customer service, not lay the foundation. Just keep in mind, the little personal touches can really make the difference between satisfactory customer service and fantastic customer service. is an online helpdesk solution that helps companies with their online customer support. Click here for more information on our customer service ticketing system.