If you’re lucky, your employees at least mean well–even if the way they treat your customers has the opposite effect and their behavior actually drives your customer satisfaction survey results or Net Promoter Score (NPS) down.
You can try to avoid bad customer service through benchmarking your customer satisfaction ratings by routinely using customer service surveys. But surveys are only part of the solution. Get staff to understand the fundamentals of providing good customer service–especially when a customer comes through the door already peeved or is ticked off from the moment your representative gets on the phone with them. Here are three ways your customer service team is blowing it, and a few ways to offer customers the best customer service.
Reason #1: They’re focusing on problems, not people
When someone walks into your store or calls your business to complain about something, it’s only natural for customer service staffers to focus on the problem, not the person. Why not? That’s what’s being brought to their attention: a problem. But problems are short-term issues and customers are long-term lifelines to revenues and profits. Train your staff to consider the customer from start to finish:
- Learn the customer’s story: Listen to what they have to say in total. Don’t just focus on “this is broken” or “that was late” or “this is cold when it should’ve been served hot.” Customers will typically surround their description of the problem with all sorts of clues about themselves and their relationship to your brand. They might tell you what it will take to satisfy them; they might tell you if this has happened before; they might tell you how the problem began. All these things give the problem context.
- Understand the customer’s history with your company: If you know how long they’ve been your customer, you can gauge their loyalty. Have they been your customer for years and view this as a bump in the relationship road? Or, are they new to the fold and you’re on shaky ground? If so, then you need to act quickly and decisively to keep them satisfied.
All-in-all, teach your staff that they’re not there “to solve problems.” They’re there to satisfy customers.
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Reason #2: They’re providing inconsistent customer service
Your customers have more options to contact you (and comment about you) than ever before. They’ll call, email, tweet, text, stumble, post, pin, yelp, dig, or check in–and that’s just for starters. Heck, they may even show up at your place of business!
If your team isn’t prepared to consistently monitor and manage social media complaints and provide the best customer service across all those touchpoints, expect trouble. At worst, they’ll find every weak spot in your organization’s spotty service model at the most inopportune times; at best, they’ll complain that sometimes they have a great experience with your brand and, at other times, they’re ready to cut you loose.
Reason #3: They’re dismissing the dissatisfied customers
Nobody wants to deal with a grouch, but the real opportunities to improve send your customer service satisfaction numbers skyward lie with those who are disgruntled. Instead of making it difficult for people to complain, roll out the red carpet to the whiners, groaners, and squeaky wheels among your customer base.
Provide a visible means of contacting you on your website. Use customer satisfaction surveys to track your success at turning things around. After all, the easier you make it for people to get satisfaction, the more likely they are to be satisfied.
Satisfying customers is never a one-off thing. It’s a process, a journey, and to succeed you’ve got to keep at it. In fact, ideally, at least one person on your staff should be at it all the time. They need not have a full-time customer service follow-up role, but you will be pleasantly surprised how much things can improve if someone is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing customer service.
Has your customer service team made improvements? What do you do to make sure you provide excellent customer service? Let us know in the Comments below!