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The holiday season is ramping up, which means the interaction between customers and customer service reps is also going to be ramping up. Questions need answering, problems need solving. How customers interact with service reps can make or break their shopping experience, and how service reps deal with customers can make or break a company. Here are some tips for each to ensure happier and more successful interactions.
You, the Customer
Understand what you want before you reach out to customer service. Reps are there to help, but remember, they’re not there to have personal conversations with you and hear your life story. They have many people they are trying to help. Know the reason for your call/email/tweet/post and be succinct when explaining. If they need more details, they’ll ask. Remember, you might be that person waiting on the line while someone else is explaining their life story - and you know waiting doesn’t feel good!
Watch your language. If you think you’re going to do nothing but swear and unload on the person at the other end of the call - don’t make that call. They don’t deserve that. Remember, they didn’t sell you the product. They didn’t make the product. They didn’t accidentally charge your card. They didn’t screw up your order. They are there when something does go wrong and they are there to help. Treat them with respect.
Escalate the problem only when it’s necessary - and then, do it politely. Service reps follow scripts. If X happens, you do Y. They don’t have any decision-making authority. They can’t just “refund your money” or “send you a new one” unless it’s part of their script. If you don’t feel you’ve gotten a proper answer, or would like to see a different outcome, you can ask the service rep to escalate the problem. ASK. Don’t DEMAND. If you’re so angry that you don’t know how to ask, use this: [insert service person’s name], I appreciate what you’re telling me, but I think I’d like to speak with a service manager or director now. Can you connect me or give me the proper contact information so I can do this?
You, the Service Rep
Don’t take the anger personally. The customer calling is mad. And, unfortunately, you have to take that call. They will swear at you. They will yell. They will blame you for everything. But you can’t take it personally. All you can do is stay calm and help. They’re at a point where they are frustrated and feeling like the company doesn’t care. So when they reach you, they feel the need to lash out. It’s not about you. If they have to vent, they will vent. And then you can begin to help them.
Always be a problem solver. The worst thing a customer hears when they reach out to customer support is “I don’t know.” Instead of saying that, you can say “I haven’t come across this problem, but I want to check with my team/manager to find out more so that I can get you an answer.” That’s all they want - an answer, and they’ll be willing to hold on the line for it.
You, the Company
Train your service reps. When customers contact you, they are looking for someone with knowledge. They want a welcoming voice or message. They want to know that they’re being heard. Ensure that your service reps are training on your CSR software, that they have specific scripts and responses for repetitive questions and problems, and that they know and understand your policies and your escalation process.
Have multiple forms of customer service contact. Customers are engaging more and more over social media rather than a simple phone call. Make sure you have customer service reps that can respond to Facebook posts and Twitter tweets as well as by phone, email and website chat. The more ways you can show your customers how accessible you are, the more pleased they’ll be with using your services and products.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.