Customers want a great experience, and part of that experience means not losing time, money, and patience. Brands similarly value their time and money, but they must always have the patience to deliver their customers a great experience. Even with best efforts, however, difficult customer situations are sure to arise, and how companies handle these situations can mean the difference between customer churn and long-term loyalty. How can brands effectively address difficult customer service situations?
The first step is to simply listen to the customer. Regardless of the channel on which they contact a business, an agent must patiently welcome a full explanation of the issue and then show genuine empathy for the customer’s frustration. It’s critical to show customers that a brand values their customers as people, not just buyers.
Once the customer has finished explaining the issue, the agent should repeat the main points, asking for clarification where necessary and if there’s any other important information the customer would like to share.
A customer may not necessarily know the best solution to the problem, but many customers do have an idea of what they need and may even take their concern a step further and request some sort of compensation for their issue. For example, if a billing error has been made, not only should it be fixed but any penalty fees that were charged when the customer was not at fault should be waived immediately. This is also a chance for agents to be proactive: they can wait to hear that a customer wants to switch from one subscription to another or that they are frustrated to have lost time with an issue, or the agents can quickly offer waivers or discounts as goodwill gestures before the customer even asks. Being proactive in these situations is extremely critical to winning the trust of the customer.
Once the situation has been properly assessed, agents should offer the most appealing solution to the customer and offer options whenever possible. When customers have difficult issues to resolve, they may feel they made a poor choice in trusting a certain brand. Giving them options for better service (better deals, delivery service, etc.) will make them feel in charge again-and more likely to support the brand.
Of course, the next step is to deliver the solution, but this must be done exactly as promised. When a customer actually takes the time to contact a brand over an issue, they are giving the brand another chance. For that reason, companies should always value these issues as opportunities to improve their service and show customers that they are worthy of their trust.
It’s very important to follow up with the customer to see how they feel about the resolution and to make sure the problem was indeed resolved. This step shows customers your company does value them and is working hard to deliver better customer experience.
Customer service cases should never be considered one-time problems to fix and forget. Companies need to make sure these cases are well analyzed, shared across departments, and then worked on to prevent such issues from occurring again. Different ways to address issues could range from updating FAQs on the company website and agent scripts to taking bigger measures such as changing marketing strategies and improving communication on different channels.The old saying that the “customer is always right” rings true to this day, as brands need to meet the challenge of customers who have more choices than ever and may easily switch when they’re unsatisfied. With the right balance of quick action, sincere empathy, and strong follow-up, companies can satisfy and retain customers in even the stickiest of situations.
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