"Hi Harry’s, Can I chat with Harry Styles?"
"Hi Harry’s, Can I make a reservation for six this Saturday night at 8PM?"
Harry’s is a grooming company that believes everyone deserves a quality shave at a great price. At the same time, our Customer Experience team can still answer “Yes” to all of our customers’ questions using Experience Engineering techniques – even if the question is about One Direction and not shaving direction.
A quality customer experience is effortless for the customer. We’ve started to practice a few techniques from The Effortless Experience including Experience Engineering.
Experience Engineering uses behavioral psychology techniques to improve the customer experience when traditional soft skills aren’t enough and the answer might be the dreaded “No”.
The three techniques of experience engineering are:
1) Customer Advocacy: actively demonstrate you’re on the customer’s team.
"Let’s take care of this…"
2) Positive Positioning: avoid using negative words or phrases such as “No”.
"What I can do is…"
3) Anchoring: Position your outcome as more positive by comparison (use wisely).
"Well it looks like that delivery might be running a bit late so I can go ahead and refund that cost and find you a local retail option to make sure you get it in time."
Let's drill into a good example of Positive Positioning:
Dee did an amazing job using positive positioning here.
Really important note; the answer to the customer’s question is “No”.
Traditional customer support best practices might suggest a swooning apology and sincere expressions of empathy.
Dee not only avoided using the word “No” but also opened up the customer to future opportunities. As a customer, I’m almost more excited about Harry’s after reading this response than before.
There is a ton of research out there on rejection and perceived rejection. Rejection leads to an immediate 30% drop in reasoning skills and increases aggression.
If you place someone in an fMRI scanner and flash the word “No” in front of them for one second, you can see a release of dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters which impede the normal functioning of your brain - impairing logic, reason, language processing, and communication.
I wouldn’t call this an environment ripe for a quick resolution and happy customer.
If we focus on what we can do, we can improve the experience.
"Yes, let’s take care of this. What I can do is set you up with a smooth shave for your dinner reservation with Harry Styles."
Many thanks to CEB, now Gartner and The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick Delisi.
A selection of other sources:
“NO” Damages the Customer Experience - The Center for Client Retention
How to master positive positioning when your callers ‘come in hot' - New Voice Media
The Most Dangerous Word in the World - Psychology Today