We have all kinds of feelings and beliefs around online customer service and support. Some of them are founded in actual experience, others are based on stories we make up or depictions in movies or on TV. But I think it's fair to say that we all approach each customer service interaction with a little skepticism.

Your company can work super hard to avoid CRM/CS miscues, providing exceptional responses to inquiring or troubled customers, and still get derailed by overlooking small but important things. Here's an example that happened to me this weekend when I couldn't easily locate the mailing address for our SEP IRA on our financial services provider's site. I jumped on the online chat.


I laughed when I saw the rep's name in quotes, since I always think the person isn't really who they say they are. And even though I'm smart enough to know that's probably just an unfortunate convention in the software's code, I still found myself wondering if 'Christopher Curry' was even a real person, much less if that was his real name. I also didn't like the default "new party". Who is that new party and why are they on my call?

It's like Jay Baer says in his new book, Hug Your Haters: Haters only hate what they can see. And what I see here is just too much trust-eroding in this one line. Luckily, it can be easily fixed. My suggestion:

Your customer service rep, Christopher Curry, has joined the session. 

This simple change gives me more confidence about the interaction. Your customer service rep makes me feel attended to and Christopher Curry (sans quotes) encourages me think this is an actual human who's going to help me out.

Your To-Do: If you use online chat for customer service, check it out from the user side to make sure you're not inadvertently sending the wrong message with small but important things like names in quotes or non-specific language like "new party".

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