Daily Buzz: Building Customer Trust in a Crisis

Organizations need to be clear, considerate, and competent to put members or customers at ease. Also: finding new ways to present your newsletter.

During times of uncertainty, customers and members are going to be more stressed and less trusting of an organization’s ability to provide them a reliable service. That’s why customer service is even more important right now.

“The potential for fraught customer service experiences—in person or otherwise—is higher than ever. But a growing body of research on language use in service interactions can help,” say Grant Packard, Sarah G. Moore, and Brent McFerran in the MIT Sloan Management Review. “In this environment, every word matters.”

To build trust, provide members with attention and concrete language. For example, instead of vaguely saying that a package they ordered will arrive next week, tell them exactly what day and where it will be dropped off.

Employees can also connect more deeply with members by replacing the word “we” with “I.” By using the latter, employees signal to the member that he or she can depend on them and that they’re acting on the customer’s behalf.

“‘I’m sorry to have to cancel your flight’ conveys a more genuine, personal sense of remorse than ‘We’re sorry to cancel the flight,’” Packard, Moore, and McFerran say. “The word ‘we’ not only decreases perceived empathy but may also make it appear that the employee is avoiding responsibility and blaming the company.”

Demonstrating that you care about members will put them at ease. Start and end your member interactions with warm, considerate words and show appreciation with simple thank-yous.

Reimaging Your Newsletter

Your organization’s newsletter doesn’t have to look the same from issue to issue. Play around with different types of content to keep things fresh. Have you come across any interesting statistics or tidbits related to your industry? Throw them in.

“Not only is that valuable information, but it’s a great way to break up larger chunks of copy, again, making your newsletter more scannable,” says MemberClicks’ Callie Walker.

Other Links of Note

Need some words of wisdom? Nonprofit AF has taken famous proverbs and rewritten them for the nonprofit sector.

Charging for virtual events can be tricky, and pivoting to online could mean new taxation rules. Event Manager Blog looks at when to charge sales tax for virtual events.

Uh-oh, you accidentally deleted important data. But Microsoft added a new file recovery tool in Windows 10. PCMag breaks down how to use the new feature.

(worldofstock/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Michael Hickey

By Michael Hickey

Michael Hickey is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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