Customer experience is fundamentally about the human. And when it comes to the human we are exquisitely sensitive to the tone of the conversation. Get the tone right and you leave your customer feeling absolutely delighted with you. Why? Because the right tone validates the customers. Get it wrong and the same customer will feel invalidated and resent you for it even if she does not ditch you there and then.
My Linkedin Experience
So what do I mean exactly when I speak of the tone of the conversation. Allow me to share my Linkedin experience with you.
Yesterday I decided to take the premium membership from Linkedin. So I clicked on the box, entered my credit card details and was then none too pleased to find out that I had been charged for a full twelve months. Why? Because I thought I was signing up for monthly membership: with a monthly membership you get billed month by month and can cancel anytime.
So I reached out to Linkedin customer support through the FAQ section and sent an email to the effect that I had unintentionally subscribed to a year membership. And asked Linkedin to cancel that membership so that I could sign-up for the monthly membership. That was on Tuesday morning. This morning ( less than a day later) I received the following delightful email from Sonia:
I want to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.
Your premium subscription has been cancelled and a refund of $ 479.40 has been issued to your credit card. Please note that refunds take up to five business days to post to the credit card. To see a record of this refund:
1. Hover your cursor over your name in the upper right area of your home page and click on “Settings”.
2. Click on the “View purchase history” link.
You can also view your purchase history from the link below:
Your Basic free account will still allow you to:
1. Build and maintain contact with your trusted professional network.
2. Find and reconnect with colleagues and classmates.
3. Request and provide recommendations.
4. Create and maintain your professional presence on the web.
5. Request up to five Introductions at a time.
6. Search for and view profiles of other LinkedIn users.
7. View Company Pages and follow Companies of interest.
8. Join and participate in sharing in Professional Groups.
Please know that you are more than welcome to renew your premium subscription at any time by clicking on “Upgrade My Account” at the bottom of your LinkedIn home page choosing monthly instead of annual subscription.
Thank you for using LinkedIn, Maz!
LinkedIn Customer Service”
Why am I Delighted?
I am not delighted that I got what I wanted – a refund of my subscription. Why? Because I assumed that as a professional organisation Linkedin would act professionally.
I am delighted because of the tone of the email. Specifically, Sonia makes me feel that I am talking with a caring human being. One that I can count on. How does she do that exactly:
- Sonia addresses me by name and informally the way that a friend might address me if we were meeting up at a cafe.
- Sonia absolutes floors me with her opening line “I want to apologise for the inconvenience this has caused you.” In that one sentence, at an emotional level, I totally felt a bond. Wow, I am speaking with a real human being – one that is speaking to me in normal human language and gets my experience.
- Sonia tells me that she has sorted out my problem and she shows me how I can check for myself that she has fixed it. Not that I have bothered to check I trust her.
- Sonia shows me how I can go about subscribing to the monthly membership but does not pressure me to do it. That leaves me feeling trusted.
- Sonia ends the email as beautifully as she started it: ” Thank you for using LinkedIn, Maz!” I feel appreciated and validated.
Nothing, absolutely nothing beats a human being who gets the fact that customers are first and foremost human beings with deep emotional needs: acknowledgement, respect, validation, trust, caring ……The role of technology is to support these human beings in being great. And to make life easier where the ease is wanted. Technology should never be used to replace the human encounter – the personal touch.
PS. As a result of this encounter, I have decided to make a list of companies that I find to be customer friendly, even customer centred. And Linkedin is on that tab along with other favourites such as TeamSnap and Amazon.