There's no doubt that today's 21st century customers are in the driver's seat. Not only do they have higher expectations than ever before, but they have no qualms about ditching their current provider for the competition. And with the cost of acquiring a new customer far exceeding what it costs to retain an existing one, it's critical for businesses to provide world-class customer service.
For some companies, however, this is often easier said than done. With the large number of communication channels available for consumers to connect with businesses, it can be difficult to quell every customer complaint. Yet, if businesses follow the Golden Rule – treat others how would you like to be treated – and these top five tips, customer service can be made easy.
Here we go...
1.Stop Talking and Start Listening (Everywhere): Today’s consumers are everywhere. Not only are they ringing your phone, but they are surfacing en masse in your email inbox and social media platforms. Because of this, it is critical to have a pulse on your company’s communication channels as one missed interaction can lead to one less customer or worse. One unanswered customer complaint on social media can be seen by thousands of users, which needless to say reflects poorly on the company, not to mention can cause a major PR headache. Some of the best help desk representatives spend most of their time listening, not talking. Avoid having the customer repeatedly explain their dilemma to multiple representatives, as this will only frustrate them more.
2. The Five A’s: When resolving a problem it’s helpful to think of the Five A’s: Acknowledge the problem. Apologize for the inconvenience or mishap. Accept responsibility. Adjust the situation by fixing the problem or point to someone who can. And lastly, assure the customer that you will follow through on your promises.
3. Respond Quickly and Accurately: Today’s consumers are impatient. In fact, 86 percent of recently surveyed customers say they expect a response to their issue within 4 hours after calling, while 55 percent say they expect the same when using Facebook and Twitter, according to a new study from Steven Van Belleghem, in association with SSI and No Problem.
4. Build a System to Track Interactions: Whether it’s a robust ticket management system or self-service portal, it’s important to have a system that manages and supports the help desk processes from beginning to resolution, keeping users informed every step of the way.
5. Measure Your Success: It’s imperative to measure and understand how well you are doing or not doing. Send end users surveys upon closure of each interaction to help collect feedback. Then use this feedback to identify areas that need improvement or areas that you exceed. To help boost response rates, try adding an incentive. Research from SurveyMonkey states that incentives increase response rates by 50 percent on average.
Don't let bad customer service plague your business. Always remember the Golden Rule and the never outdated motto: “The customer is always right.”