What makes up a quality experience on JustAnswer? Let’s take a look at one and see!
When we talk about creating strong customer interactions, the suggestion quickly gets vague and generalized. This makes it hard to imagine how to put the ideas into action during your own conversations with customers. In this article, we’ll be looking at an existing question to see how the Experts’ decisions improved the quality of the experience.
Introducing the question
One of the busiest categories on JustAnswer is medical and health. When a person has symptoms, they find it invaluable to have quick access to medical professionals to set their minds at ease and suggest the steps they should be taking. This scenario is exactly what is happening on this question:
In this instance, the customer has a strange pain in her side, and is looking for information. The Expert, Dr. Steve, does an excellent job of helping her. Throughout the conversation, he continuously finds ways to set the customer at ease and provide the best information he can.
This resulting question received over 40,000 search engine visits in the last year, and has generated dozens of new questions during that time. Let’s take a look at what Dr. Steve did to make this happen!
Opening with questions
Rather than jumping to a conclusion, Dr. Steve begins by asking a series of questions:
This is very important. When someone has a problem, it becomes easy to default to the simplest or most common possible answer. While this makes your job easier in the short term, it also means potentially missing related evidence pointing to similar but less common problems. By taking the time to be thorough with his customer, Dr. Steve is showing that he won’t let that happen.
Value to customer: The customer will, of course, appreciate the consideration that Dr. Steve is putting into his response, and the effort he is making to gather all the information before writing his answer.
Value to readers: When someone is having a medical problem, odds are it’s related to other problems with similar symptoms. By taking the time to ask these questions, people searching for the related symptoms he mentions will have a chance to find this question and read his responses. Even if they don’t have the exact same problem as the original customer, the related information can still be valuable. As an added bonus, if readers are still left with questions, they have just had a chance to see how Dr. Steve would handle it.
Responding with options
When Dr. Steve gets the answers to his questions, his response is to list several possible causes and suggest some tests that the customer should have done:
Just like in our first point, Dr. Steve’s listing of these possible problems is just as important. It demonstrates the depth of his expertise, and shows that he’s giving the customer’s problem his full consideration.
By taking the time to carefully write each of these entries on its own line, and separating them with bullets, he’s also making it very easy to see each of the entries in the lists. This time spent on formatting allows the customer, and any other future readers, to find these possibilities easily on the page created from the question.
Value to customer: This is another demonstration of Dr. Steve’s commitment to the customer’s understanding and comfort.
Value to readers: Customers with similar symptoms are probably going to have some of the problems that Dr. Steve lists here, and this can give them places to start their own research.
Addressing all concerns
When presented with Dr. Steve’s information and suggestions, the customer responds with a series of questions, looking for additional clarification. Dr. Steve responds with a numbered list, making sure to answer each of these new questions:
The use of the list here makes it so much easier to make sense of these answers, and to see that each of the customer’s questions has been answered. This is a great way to make sure that you aren’t missing any of them in your answer, too.
Value to customer: The customer sees clearly that Dr. Steve has paid attention to each of her questions. This kind of customer service goes a long way towards getting a 5-star rating for your answer, and increases your chances of getting added to the customer’s favorite list.
Value to readers: Future readers may also be able to associate with some of the customer’s concerns, and find Dr. Steve’s answers informative. This is an additional way that he is helping people with his answers.
After these questions have been answered, the conversation is drawing to its conclusion. In this instance, though, the customer opens up about the fact that her professional knowledge makes having symptoms more difficult. Because she is a nurse, she knows too much about the horrible things that can go wrong with the human body. Dr. Steve’s response to this is both personal and affirming:
“I can sympathize with your angst [believe me--I've been there too: 'Med Student Syndrome'].”
This is something that offers the same value to the initial customer and any future readers. Dr. Steve is showing himself to be a sympathetic and considerate person. He is exactly the kind of doctor we would want to have answering our medical questions. This is the indefinable human part of the equation that will gather you the most favorites and new direct questions.
Improving this session
We’ve spent the bulk of this article talking about everything that Dr. Steve has done right in this example, but it’s worth considering some of the ways that it could be improved. Some possible ways to improve the conversation include:
- Definitions: Dr. Steve and his customer are both inside the medical profession, and as a result they casually use medical terminology. While this is fine in the moment, and a good way to connect with the customer, it can leave other readers without the same background in the dust. If Dr. Steve had taken a moment to define a few terms, this coversation would be a little more valuable to general readers.
- Linking: This is also tied to the insider status of the customer; they mention procedures and conditions that they recognize, but that other readers may not understand. These are great opportunities for links to additional authoritative resources. They don’t interrupt the original customer, who can choose to read or not based on her own level of understanding, but they can be a great way to help future readers follow a complicated topic.
- Boldface: While Dr. Steve has worked to create answers that are clear and easy to follow, he has chosen not to use one of the strongest visual formatting tools. The extra spaces and bullet points make the answers stand out, but making them bold would have had the same effect and might look a little cleaner on the page.
- Repeating the customer’s questions: When Dr. Steve responded to the series of customer questions with his numbered list, he was leaving the customer and the readers to sort out which questions are tied to which numbered response. It’s easy enough to figure out the correlation, but using cut and paste to repeat the correct question before his related answer would be easier to follow.
Of course, none of this is meant to detract from Dr. Steve’s work in this example, and the results speak for themselves.
The important thing is to avoid becoming complacent; you can tell when a customer service worker is phoning it in, and your customers will as well. Learning to look for ways to improve your questions will help to keep you focused on the customer, and the other people who will read the those questions. This focus ultimately translates into more questions, and more money for you.
Try these suggestions with your own customers and let us know how they worked out for you. Share your own suggestions below.