Customer service is central to the success of many businesses. Get it right and your sales and production soars. Get it wrong and your whole enterprise can start sliding downward. Here’s how to avoid four common customer service problems and make sure you’re treating your customers right.
Customer service can make or break a business, and one of the cornerstones of customer service is communication. Tell your customers what is going on and be accurate and as fast as possible. If you ship products, provide a tracking number.
If you provide a service then respond thoughtfully to angry or critical reviews and communicate forthrightly about shortcomings or any issues that come up and start to appear frequently in customer service complaints and queries.
Communicate. It’s the key to a relationship and the key to a healthy business. When you communicate the whole world smiles with you, when you have a failure to communicate then everything begins falling apart.¹
2. Be Solutions-Oriented
You can be as nice as you want in customer service, but if you’re not solving customer or client problems eventually they will become frustrated with you. Offer solutions and if you don’t know at the exact moment then be honest and make it clear you will get on resolving the issue as soon as possible. Solutions don’t grow on trees, but successful companies study the market and customer issues to know how to fix common problems and work hard – and fast – to fix the problems they haven’t come across before.
Look at the situation from the customer’s perspective: they want answers. They will be willing to be patient if you on the company side are willing to truly care about their problem, apologize and remedy it. Don’t throw copy-paste solutions at problems, either. It is vital to genuinely listen to customer complaints, questions and feedback in order to craft effective responses that work. Fix the problem, gain a loyal customer and a good review.²
3. Training, Training, Training
No matter how focused you are on customers and making sure they have an excellent experience, you do need to be properly trained. One common mistake that many organizations make is focusing on training reps and customer service employees to be very polite and friendly without actually ensuring they have the know-how and technical training to adequately meet customer needs.
At the end of the day, being nice only goes so far. You also have to actually know what you’re talking about and have experience in dealing with the situation that’s occurring. Customers have a sixth sense that can tell when customer service agents are faking it and they will not be amused at the waste of their time.³
4. Time is of the Essence
Not everything can be done in the blink of an eye, but when it comes to customer service time really is of the essence. Try to avoid open-ended waiting periods like leaving someone on hold for an unspecified amount of time that ends up being forty minutes. It’s a truly unpleasant experience no matter how good the on hold music is and how many times the automated message tells a customer he or she will be spoken with soon.
Furthermore, respond to social media complaints and online feedback as promptly and professionally as possible. Make sure your organization has a coordinated response and doesn’t double efforts and also have a clear policy for responding to customers including what to do in “worst-case” scenarios.
Try to solve problems quickly – but most of all well – and your customer service satisfaction rates will soar, as will the overall success of your business.⁴