Customer service is something deemed extremely important to every business and its customers. Having a trustworthy and supportive customer service team is essential to building key relationships with consumers and keeping them as loyal customers, which any business will understand is difficult but achievable.
Here are some handy do’s and don’ts of customer service:
Allocate roles – In a customer service team it’s important to ensure that everyone knows the role they have in the team and also a sense of hierarchy. This is crucial when dealing with customers as some will ask to speak to a manager or someone with some authority when a complaint is potentially more serious. Also this will improve the quality of the customer service as knowing your role and the type of customer service you can offer a customer is vital when giving the correct information away and not misleading a customer.
Take responsibility – Part of giving good customer service is taking responsibility as a company for if a consumer experiences a product or service which isn’t what they’d hoped for or is a lower standard than they were expecting. Being honest and apologising to the customer is important when trying to keep good customer relationships and prevent them from not wanting to use a competitor’s product or service next time. Dealing with the problem efficiently and effectively will allow the customer to understand your true concern and effort to make them feel better straight away, rather than leaving them to become more disappointed with the product.
Clear Information – Having a dedicated page on your website to help customers with any concerns over a product or service, whether this is a phone number, email or question and answer sheet is essential. Customers who can find the information easily will be less likely to continue to lose faith in your brand and will hopefully be more understanding when it comes to you dealing with their issue. In addition to this, when they reach out to you via email or telephone, having a response which is clear and efficient, whether this is answering their query or giving them a timeframe of when you will be able to deal with the problem will reassure the customer that you have every intention of helping.
A token of good will – Many customers love to receive a sorry ‘gift’ to compensate for their disappointment in your services or product. After dealing with their issue and understanding what went wrong, apologising and giving something back to the customer can encourage them to come back and continue using your service or product. For example giving them 10% off their next order would give them an incentive to use you again and not stray to a competitor. Similarly this will also show the customer you take full responsibility for the problem and that their opinion matters to you.
Rush A Response – Although being efficient is important when dealing with customer complaints, it needs to be understood that no response should be rushed or include information which you are unsure about. This can cause many mistakes which can add to the customer’s disappointment and often make matters worse. Do not give customers information unless you know from someone with authority that it’s the correct response to give, otherwise this could damage your customer relationships and the brand image.
Blame the Customer – It’s been known in the past that some companies use the technique of blaming its customers for having a slow and un-responsive customer service team. For example calling a company which has an automated message such as ‘ we are experiencing a lot of phone calls at the moment and be with you when we can’ is in other words blaming the fact there’s too many customers calling rather than seeing a fault in their team. Having that kind of approach will make customers automatically lose faith in the product and not want to risk having a similar experience with you again. This may also go against any promises you’ve made about your brand, possibly being customer driven or how important your customers are to you.
Over Complicate – When dealing with a customer problem, it’s essential to not make the issue any bigger and resolve it as quickly as possible. Knowing exactly what the issue is before you respond is important so you don’t have to go back to the customer with multiple questions which may come across as insincere and complicating the situation. In addition to this, some company’s give automated responses which are impersonal and may include false information. As I mentioned earlier giving a timeframe is ideal so customers aren’t waiting around and becoming frustrated. However, an automated email may give a response time of 24hours, but this doesn’t take into consideration the amount of complaints they may have on that day or other factors which could delay the response time.
No False Promises – Not going against company policies and acting unprofessional is extremely important not only for customer relationships but also ensuring that your customer service team doesn’t get a bad name, effecting your brand. Similarly ensuring that none of the information you feed the customer is false will prevent further disappointment. Customers will make it clear when you have disappointed them or acted in an unprofessional manner and some people could vent their frustration on social media making this visible to a larger audience affecting future customer relationships and brand image.
Overall, a successful customer service team is well led and knows exactly what their customers expect from them. Having an effective approach to customer service and being able to deal with all types of customers is important in keeping consumers and portraying a positive brand image.
About the Author
Laura Searing is a customer service expert who has worked for several agencies specialising in customer service related content writing, currently working for Contact Numbers UK.
The problem we feel is that there are so many cut backs in customer services. Where there was previously a team of 10 customer agents manning phones, now that same call volumes is managed by 3 or at times 1 member of staff. All the while companies are diverting user queries to long complicated IVR systems to either baffle or confuse the customer into pursuing the query.