No matter how good your product is, if you have poor customer service that will always leave a lasting impression on your customers.
Think about it… you order your favorite product from your favorite website and one day it comes in damaged. You call or email customer service to get this fixed and they don’t get back to you or show any interest in resolving the issue. Chances are you may try to find another place to order from instead because the overall experience has left a bad taste in your mouth. Not mention with social media and review sites these days, a customer’s bad experience may end up plastered all over the internet, driving customers and prospects away from your business.
Investing in your customer service team and procedures is just as important as investing in your actual product or service. The main thing to keep in mind when doing this is communication!
Below are six tips to help get you started.
- Communicating Impact
When creating a case, escalating an issue, or summarizing a situation, the most important thing you can do is to properly communicate the impact of the situation. The impact is the effect that the issue is having on the customer or situation. This should always be identified at the beginning of the issue as well as whenever the issue is escalated. Below are some questions you can ask in order to properly record the impact.
- Is this issue preventing you from operating? If so, how?
- What is this issue preventing you from being able to do?
- How is this issue effecting your business?
- What parts of your operations is this effecting?
- Giving all repair/replace options
When it has been determined that a customer needs to replace an item, it is important to make sure that all options are given. Too often, a customer is told to replace their item with a new item when that may not be the best option for the customer. It’s important to review contracts, time-frames of when issues started to occur (has the item failed in the first 30 days?0, and what is covered under their warranty.
- When to bring in external references
There are several instances in which a customer may need to be referred outside of your business or you may need to work with another company. For example, your company did everything right, but the shipping company accidently delivered your product to the wrong house. When this happens, try to make the process as easy as possible for the customer. If you are able to handle the situation internally, do so and keep the customer in the loop.
- Setting expectations for a follow up
Cases are often not resolved on the initial call and follow up is then required. The case may require escalation, research, or fall into an internal process. In these instances, it is incredibly important to set a proper expectation when telling a customer that you will need to follow up. Try to stay away from phrases like, “I will get back to you” or “I will research this and call you back”. Instead, set a proper and realistic expectation. Examples would be; “I will research/test this, and follow up with you no later than XX” or “This will now be escalated to the proper specialist or resource, and you can expect the next update by XX”. Finally, when communicating your follow up, it is important that you are conscious of the impact, escalate with the correct sense of urgency, and are empathetic to the customer. Remember, an issue that may seem small to you initially, could have a larger perceived impact by the customer.
- Communication when escalating off of a call
There will often be times when you need to handoff a call due to end of shift, lunch, etc. When this happens, DO NOT communicate to the customer that you are handing them off for these reasons. Instead, explain that you will be transferring them to a specialist to resolve the issue. Explain that you will make sure that the person you are handing them off to will be brought up to speed on the issue. (Then do so, and make sure that the person you are transferring to has a full understanding of the issue and situation).
- Speaking with Confidence
It should go without saying that part of great customer service is making the customer feel comfortable and confident that their issues will be handled correctly and completely. Sometimes you will get a call that you aren’t expecting. It may be a customer or concept that is rarely heard from, or one that was directed to the wrong place. When working the issue for the customer, make them feel like resolving their issue is a top priority and never make them feel like you are passing them off. NEVER indicate that the customer is receiving less than quality service because of staffing levels. You can avoid this in most cases by explaining to the customer what next steps are and setting the proper expectations. If you have confidence and empathy when speaking to the customer, they will feel reassured that you will solve their issue.
Starting with implementing these 6 tips into your customer service procedure will ensure that customers are properly communicated to and issues will always be escalated appropriately.