1. Understanding Customer Expectations
A business caters to a large variety of customers. Every customer is different and has different expectations in terms of product and service. Their desires, expectations, must-haves are all different from one another.
You need to put real effort into understanding what your customer expects from you. The best way to understand is to remain in constant contact with your customers and understand their concerns. You can choose whichever communication channel fits you best. While there are many options to choose from keep in mind, text messaging is the next frontier of customer communications.
Prior to that, setting the right customer expectations would help a lot. If you do not provide 24/7 support, provide only email support or have dedicated account managers — make that clear at the initial touchpoints.
"You need to put real effort into understanding what your customer expects from you."
2. Exceeding Customer Expectations
In this fiercely competitive market, you should not stop at just meeting your customer’s expectations. Rather, you should go the extra mile to exceed expectations. But how to do so proactively, is one of the biggest challenges in customer service.
This could be as small as sending a freebie to a slightly disappointed customer or extend the trial period for potential customers if they were unable to utilize the designated trial period fully.
If you constantly meet and exceed your customer’s expectations, the chances of them remaining loyal and turning into promoters shoot up. A word of caution here: In your quest to exceed customer expectations, do not promise the customer something you can not do. Let’s discuss this in detail.`
3. A Customer Demands Something You Cannot Do
At times, the customers demands for a discount you can not give, a feature you can not build or some customization you can not do. Customer service professional often finds themselves in these scenarios.
First, you need to whether the demands made by customers can be met. If yes, then what will the cost of it — in terms of resources, time and money. And finally, you need to weigh it against the amount the customer is going to pay you. If it justifies the equation — you may go ahead.
If not, then you can politely say no to the customer and explaining them honestly that whatever they are demanding is not economically feasible for your business. In most cases, they will understand.
4. Handling Angry Customers
Things go south and customers get angry. This is a common story in the customer service world. The challenge is to gracefully handle angry customers. Your response can make the customer a good or bad promotion for your business.
Whenever you come across an angry customer, make sure you empathize with them and do not lose your cool. Always remember, the customer is frustrated with the company and products, not you. Don’t take it personally.
Keep your approach fact-oriented and always moving towards providing a solution to the customer. Give a freebie to the customer after the conversation ends. It may help. Here is a detailed guide to effectively handling angry customers.
5. Choosing the Right Channels and Tools
Choosing the right channel and the right tools is immensely important for any business. Just because your closest competition is using phone support, you shouldn’t. Choose the right channels which support your business use case.
There are various channels such as phone, email, live chat, self-serve and community support. Choose the right ones and pick out toolsfor facilitating customer engagement.
You can also tier the channels based on the money a particular customer is paying you. For example, you can provide self-serve support and email for the free and or low-value customer, live chat and 24/7 email for mid-value and phone and previous other channels for high-value customers. Customer service is a costly affair and you should be smart about it.
6. Dealing With Service Outage Crisis
Well, technology can be as reliable as it can be. You may incur a crisis when your service is down. At that time, you might face the wrath of your customers.
You can not do much in this case but honestly convey to your customers that your team is putting all their effort into getting the service back on track. It is a fair expectation that your customers will get frustrated, but make sure you do not over promise about the situation.
Asses with your tech team and give them a genuine timeline. Do not make a false claim just to escape the momentary frustration of customer. The worst thing would be to repeatedly promise false timelines and not achieving them.
7. Hiring and Training Service Professionals
Customer service is a very dynamic career option and the median time to stick with one company is less than a year for customer service professionals. So, do not just hire customer service professionals because they speak well. Hire them because they can relate to your business and fit your culture.
In addition to hiring the right candidates, training them to aptly to fit your business is equally important. You should train them about your company culture, policies, business practices and processes involved in handling the customers.
Right hires will save you more money than you imagine, so choose your customer service professionals very wisely. They are your company’s face in front of customers.
There are numerous more challenges but the aforementioned ones are the most frequent and important. Like every other aspect of a business, customer service has its own challenges and we should thrive to gracefully overcome for the betterment of our customer and our business together.