We’ve all been there. Dealing with a bad experience with a business and feeling like you’re just going in circles with customer service and that your issue will never get resolved. Maybe you had multiple concerns or issues, or you simply had to explain one problem over and over and over…
I recently overheard a conversation my mother was having on the phone with a company’s customer service to deal with an issue she had with one of their products. She had only one simple question for them and a perfectly reasonable request, but it still took them over 45 minutes to help her come to a solution. Throughout this call, she had patiently explained her situation and made her request repeatedly as she was transferred from person to person and her issue was escalated up the chain of command. After her call was over, she felt that the problem was resolved, but wasn’t completely confident that it wouldn’t happen again.
There has to be a more efficient way to deal with customer service issues. Why do we expect to spend nearly an hour or more on the phone with a company before our problems are resolved?
So why did it take so long for this company to fulfill my mother’s simple request? First of all, not every customer service associate will know how to deal with every situation. That being said, there should always be a procedure in place to get a customer to the person who can help them quickly and efficiently. When your company’s customer service is as disorganized as the example above, it can really have a negative impact on your reputation and returning customers. Make sure you’ve got a solid customer service system in place with a few easy tips.
- Train associates for a variety of customer service scenarios. While my mother was polite throughout her interaction with customer service, not everyone will be, and it’s better to assume customers won’t be patient. Your associates need to understand how to listen to a customer, remain calm, acknowledge the mistake or issue the customer is having, and if they can’t help the customer, ask for help. The key to every customer service experience is to not take everything personally and know that the customer just wants to be heard and helped. It’s also important that every associate knows who to transfer a customer to or who can help if they don’t know how or are unable. Whether it’s another department or a supervisor, keep a customer’s frustrations down by getting them to someone who can resolve their problem right away.
- Have policies and procedures written down for easy reference. If you have policies and/or procedures in place for specific customer service scenarios, you should not only make sure associates are trained on them, but you should also have them written up and posted somewhere for easy reference. It can help to cut down on the time it takes to resolve a recurring issue for a customer if you have the information your associates need ready to go. These can also be used as a starting point to see where recurring issues are happening and how to improve them to help your business grown and improve overall. As soon as improvements are made with customer service procedures, the references available to staff should be updated to help your business move up faster.
- Don’t make the customer repeat themselves. No matter what the situation is, never make a customer repeat themselves over and over. If you are the first person to speak to the customer listen carefully to make sure you understand their problem and take notes if need be, so you can brief the next person to speak to them on the situation. This allows them to start where you and the customer left off, without frustrating the customer and wasting time making them repeat themselves. If you need time to pass on the situation to find a solution for the customer, you can even ask to call them back in an hour once you’ve come up with a solution to their problem. This will help save your company time, and, most importantly, help to keep the customer from getting frustrated. Every company’s first priority should be customer experience, and creating a solid customer service strategy can greatly improve customer interaction and impressions of your business.