If you are in business, then you have had a tough time with customer service. No business on the face of the earth has served their customers 100% the first time. We can always look to provide a better experience and develop deeper connection with them with the few tips we have outlined below.

1. Be one of them!

Save the fluffy writing and technical jargon. When your customers need help, they want to know you feel for them. Most of the time, customers are reaching out due to some issue that has happened with your product or service. All too often they are upset and looking to take that frustration out on someone. Unfortunately, that someone is you. To help diffuse the situation, be one of them. Think about a time you were upset about poor service you received. It could be poor service at a restaurant, your order was lost in shipping, or no one at footlocker was trying to help you find those perfect kicks for the weekend. What you want is for someone to agree with you that what you are experiencing is poor customer service. Give that to your customer! Take ownership and give them the confirmation that they are looking for. Agree that this is not an acceptable option and there are no excuses. “We dropped the ball and you have every right to be upset.” From my experience, usually they drop their guard and tend to be more forgiving and understanding. If they are still fired up, don’t try and calm them down. Instead match their intensity and be fired up with them. They may still be upset but, they will look to return because they know that you get them. And after all, we want our customers to know, we get them.

2. Empower them

Your customers do not want to feel helpless when things go sideways. They don’t want to spend valuable minutes waiting to talk to a service rep if something could be easily fixed with an on-site search function or FAQ section. They have their problem now and want it fixed now. A good percentage of problems are remedial and can be fixed by the customer if they have the tools. Building a good FAQ and having a troubleshooting wizard can save them time and many times solve their issue without further escalation. Remember though, this has to be simple and easy to use. If it’s complicated and doesn’t answer their question simply, it can add fuel to the fire. One thing to note, do not force your customer to an FAQ. If they want to call in or email directly due to wanting to release of some frustration, encourage it and refer back to tip 1.

3. Have the right tools

Ever have a customer email you, asking for some help, only to have it lost in the shuffle of the hundreds of emails you receive daily? This can be tragic to the customer relationship and may be extremely difficult to repair. This can all be solved using a solid customer help desk software. They will keep you in line and keep you up to date on where you are at with the resolution to the customer issue. This will help you keep your head on straight and able to manage your customer issues all in one location. Think of it as your personal customer service assistant.

4. Follow Up!

Think about a time where you were referencing a certain upcoming event in life. It could be a big game, a trip abroad, or a big interview. How cool is it when a friend or colleague remembers and asks, “Hey, how did your trip go a couple weeks ago?” You enjoy that moment because it’s shows you they listened and they cared  enough about you to check back up with you. Many companies follow up with a generated thank you and survey question and it gets horribly low response rates. Instead try something personal and genuine. Mention the issue they had. If it was a late item, tell them you hope they received it and ask for some feedback on its performance. If they were upset the way a situation was handled, ask for their opinion and feedback on how to change it going forward. Of course, always sending out a coupon code for their troubles is great, but remember you can’t just buy their love. It needs to be personal and heartfelt. People can tell when you are just trying to get them to come shopping again, and that can do more damage than good.

These tips can go along way in helping develop your customer service skills. However, remember these take practice and are not cookie cutter solutions. You have to be genuine in delivering service to the customers. Trying to manipulate them or get off easy is way to ruin the relationship and any future business.



Carrie

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This is the official blog of Helpy, the open source helpdesk platform.