e-PA: Just the Facts – Your regular dose of business ‘edu-tainment’.
Despite the modern shift customer-focused industries have seen over the past couple of decades – particularly with the significant uptake of technology-based and ‘virtual’ customer interaction, there are a number of tried and tested customer service tips that have been used time-and-time-again, and are unlikely to ever lose their relevance or ability to create great experiences.
1. Use positive language
This is always a great way to avoid the accidental conflicts that can arise from miscommunication. While the change may be subtle, the effects are drastic.
Say one of your products has been out of stock for a month, and you need to relay this information to a customer immediately. Consider the following responses:
- Negative language – “I can’t get you that product until next month. It is back-ordered and unavailable at this time.”
- Positive language – “That product will be available next month. I can place the order for you right now and make sure that it is sent to you as soon as it reaches our warehouse!”
Redirecting the conversation from negative to positive places focus on the proposed solution. When the outcome takes center stage, it reduces the odds that customers will be upset.
2. Respect your customers’ complaints
Harsh words are not always indicative of insight, and complaining customers are not always a sign that something is wrong. Be that as it may, sometimes great feedback is buried within the vitriol – give credence to every message.
To stay consistent in tone and process, use the CARP method:
C – control the situation.
A – acknowledge the dilemma.
R – refocus the conversation.
P – problem-solve so the customer leaves happy.
Receiving the same complaint repeatedly is the beginning of a narrative. This shouldn’t dictate what to do next, but it will begin to reveal what requires your attention.
3. Adopt measures that allow you to aim for high standards with low response times
Inbox zero needn’t be a zero-sum game. Delighting users is impossible when the team’s morale is being crushed under the weight of a cluttered inbox. Keep it simple! Since basic, common questions are where your keystrokes go to waste, start by addressing them with editable templates.
Saved replies are valuable to a support department because the whole team builds on them. Set guidelines for identifying common questions and when a saved reply can and should be created. The more you add, the more useful your saved reply collection becomes.
4. Be data-informed, not data-mad
Although great data cannot guarantee good decision-making, it’s better than flying blind. The right data will help you keep your team in the loop. “Here’s how we did this week” becomes easy and valuable. Satisfaction Ratings top it off by allowing you to see where support interactions went really well (or very wrong). Both are learning opportunities.
5. Unify your team
Teams that make decisions together are more likely to be able to stick to those decisions and create fantastic results. If your members feel like they are not involved in the process, or worse that only a few people were involved and not the entire team, you may lose your unity very quickly.
Pro tip: managing customer service without a playbook can feel as chaotic. Consider the time lost manually answering frequently asked questions. The same principle applies to explanations to your staff on the back-end. Encourage autonomy and eliminate confusion by creating unity through clarity.
e-PA’s passion is customer service. Our goal is to ensure your customers leave with the lasting impression that brings them back to your business over and over again. We have spent the last 20+ years honing our skills and expertise, always striving to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to the expectations of the modern customer. Find out for free, just how much our industry-leading, multi-channel answering and business support services can benefit your business.
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