It seems like there’s a surge of customer service activity; I’ve been getting a lot of requests (from clients and press) on the topic. Here’s why I think it’s so hot:

  • The Web has heightened expectations of self-service and responsiveness
  • Call center technologies make it easier for agents to solve problems (but not every company uses it equally well)
  • Many of customers’ “moments of truth” occur during customer service
  • There are many potential miscues that can create poor experiences
  • People used to tell 10 people about a bad experience, now they can post a blog or a video on YouTube and tell thousands of (or more) people

So what can companies do to improve customer service? ACES. This is an acronym that I just developed (this week) for the four key things that companies need to design into their customer service interactions:

  • Accountability (take responsibility for fixing the problem)
  • Communication (clearly communicate the process and set expectations)
  • Empathy (acknowledge the impact that the situation has on the customer)
  • Solution (at the end of the day, make sure to solve the problem)

The bottom line: Your customers deserve nothing less than ACES.

Addendum (4/17/2008): Based on the comment from Justin, I’ve updated the acronym from ACES to CARES. So I guess I was wrong, something is better than ACES.

This blog post was originally published by Temkin Group prior to its acquisition by Qualtrics in October 2018.