How to Manage Customer Service Requests in a Manufacturing Setting

Customer Service Representative

Customer service has changed significantly over the years, but the importance it plays in an organization hasn’t shifted at all. 82% of customers will take their business elsewhere if they’re unhappy with the service you provide, and that includes long wait times. If you want to successfully manage your request queues in your manufacturing workplace, keep reading.

Keep a Frequently Updated Inventory

Inventory management is a struggle in the manufacturing industry, but if you can keep a frequently updated inventory, you’ll increase your profit margin and customer satisfaction rate. A vast majority of agent requests are from interested buyers that need a product now. If they’ve decided you’re the brand for them, failing to keep an item in stock will frustrate your buyers.

To prevent customers from buying elsewhere, prioritize your inventory and track all product information. Be consistent in how you receive stock, as discrepancies will affect your sales.

Reduce Response Time Significantly

Good communication is vital for customers who hate waiting. The longer a potential buyer waits, the more likely they are to hang up the phone or complain. However, responding quickly is actually less important than providing an incomplete answer, so prioritize any solution over a long wait. Even if you state where they are in the queue, that’s better than letting them sit there.

Customers who don’t receive a reply to a request are more likely to call, write another email, or contact you on social media. Set up an automated response system to solve this problem.

Answer Requests on a Priority System

It goes without saying that you want to provide the best support possible to each customer, and the best way to do this is to stay organized. Set up a customer queue system that prioritizes each request based on multiple metrics. For example, a request that’s 2 hours old should be answered faster than a new request, and reopened cases should be closed immediately.

First-time requests should always take priority over others because you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Regardless of what your priorities are, keep things moving!

Train a Knowledgeable Team of Agents

Although we stated that any response is better than none at all, your customers still need an answer to their questions. Solving it quickly will shorten your queue, and knowledgeable agents will be able to reduce the number of follow-ups, shortening your request line further. At the same time, you can’t expect your agents to have all the answers and recall them rote when asked.

The answer is quality training, an online instruction manual, and communication. Set up software that saves all interactions, as that makes it easier for agents to identify a problem.

Separate Agents Based on Expertise

Some companies will funnel all customers’ requests to the next available agent. While this is a good practice, in theory, it can actually increase the time the agent takes to solve the problem if they’re unfamiliar with a part of your industry. If a customer is set up with a person who doesn’t know what part will fit where or if a machine can cut a certain material, they’ll have to look it up.

Create a funnel that connects the customer to the right department. Otherwise, that agent will have to ask that person anywhere. It’s quicker to hand that customer over to the experts.

Help Your Customer Help Themselves

Unless you have a 24h customer service line, there will be times where you aren’t available to help. Create an FAQ page filled with commonly asked questions to give your customers the chance to solve their own problems. Set up your chatbox, email, or voicemail to explain where the customer can go on your website to search for a knowledge base while you’re away.

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