Customer service is a central driver for return business. In a day and age of online reviews, it is also an essential piece in gaining new business.
If you have bad customer service, current clients and customers will always be plotting to leave and new potential business will always be exposed to unsavory reviews of your business.
Customer service quality is largely determined by executives and managers who care to make it better. In other words, it doesn’t take some logistical implementation nightmare to improve poor customer service.
It takes effort and passion and a little education over the matter.
Here are a few ways you can improve customer service for your company.
Identify Each Aspect in The Customer Service Process
Before you start overhauling things, you need to identify every component that makes up your customer service chain.
Where do clients and customers interact with customer service? Is it only returns? Or are their client services where clients are able to phone in and discuss issues. If you have a sales number online, it’s possible that sales people will receive customer service calls, will they know what to do in those situations?
The last thing you want is an angry customer more infuriated because they felt a sales support staff member didn’t understand their issue.
Also, how much of your customer service is done online using chat and email? Remember, chat and email exchanges are often misconstrued, and things are taken out of context.
Whether it is an online customer service exchange or a phone call, empathy over the customer’s bad experience is going to be key in neutralizing the issue.
Often times, corporate templates have support agents saying “sorry for your bad experience” right away.
It’s a good idea.
But it can seem scripted (because it is) and be condescending (it usually isn’t).
Being more “real” can go a long way.
“I really hate to hear this, I’d be upset also. I can get this fixed for you, just give me a few minutes.”
That’s less scripted and seemingly more authentic.
If the customer wants to go on and on over the issue, allow them to expend the energy.
The more they talk about the issue, the more “angry/frustrated” energy is expended.
There is no need to throttle someone who’s therapeutically calming themselves down.
Be Concise In Your Solution
Once you’ve listened to the issue and you’ve empathized over the matter, its time to quickly present the jaded customer with a plan to resolve the matter.
Don’t overcomplicate the “fix.”
You need to convey in as concise a manner as possible that you are going to resolve the issue. You need to make sure the customer realizes, in short order, that they won’t need to do too much work on their end.
Educate Customer Service Agents
Nothing is worse than a customer service agent that has no idea about the company’s products.
Make sure your agents are soundly educated over all things that pertain to your company’s products before putting them on the phones or chat messengers.
A confused customer service agent will only make a bad situation much worse.
There Is No Crying In Customer Service
Many customer service reps are told to “disconnect if an angry customer is offensive.”
Back in the day when I was a 20-year-old airline agent, I’d have been fired for hanging up on an angry customer.
Make sure your threshold for disconnects is truly appropriate or you risk making a hostile situation completely nuclear.
Admit Your Wrong
If you agents spend all their time defending the company’s products to a jaded customer, your company is going to gain a reputation as a combative customer service team.
You don’t want that.
Obviously, if there are liability concerns or concerns over customers gaming the system, you may not be able to accept blame.
However, for all other exchanges, just take the blame and move on.
Tell the customer you plan to follow up and make sure the situation is resolved. In fact, I suggest you set up a time.
“I’ve sent you a replacement blender, it should arrive by Thursday. Do you mind if I follow up with you on Friday to make sure you are taken care of?”
You can give the customer the option for a phone or email follow up.
This will leave a good taste in the customer’s mouth.
Allow customers the option to give their feedback over their customer service experiences. You can learn a lot from surveys that allow you to constantly improve your customer service funnel.
Customer service is often looked at as a hostile environment. But you don’t need to hire trained bouncers to take these calls.
Rather, hire empathetic and patient people to fill these roles.
Customer service can be an extension of your brand, it should impress, not frustrate. Everyone wants to know how the customer service of a company that they plan to buy a product from is.
Make sure that you give your customers a reason to review your customer service highly.