Unfortunately my wife and I have experienced ALL of these customer service issues over the past several months. Even though we were dealing with multi-billion dollar companies and national brands, simple customer relation mistakes were made. These have now resulted in losing some of our business and unfavorable word of mouth advertising.
Here are five simple customer service principles we have personally seen not successfully executed in the past 60 days. Here’s my challenge – test these five principles against your organizations current customer service processes. Have any unknowingly crept into your customer on-line inquiry, email inquiry, or call support? How do you know?
- Technology is not a cure all. One of our issues took 17 days to get an initial automated reply that said, “Apologize for the delay. We have contacted the service department you have been working through. Information will be reviewed and we will be in contact with you. DO NOT reply to this email. This is an automated response.” They have simply automated a broken, ineffective process!
- Customers can count. Another one of our service issues sent back the following automated statement, “If this was submitted after hours, we will address your request as soon as our office reopens.” Twelve days passed.
- Warranty issues should not mean ‘finish the resolution process alone.’ A local store or distributor shouldn’t say, “It’s the manufacturer’s issue” and stop there. Helping the customer connect with the right “people” at the manufacturer and following up to make sure it happened -- wins more business. We were passed on to Corporate Regional Service Manager in one situation that had no sense of urgency and took days to get back to us.
- Make your metrics matter. Measure elements of your process that actually matter to the customer. If these metrics are missed or trending down then immediate actions are taken. It’s also important to periodically check if there’s any “gaming the system” going on. Many times the numbers do not tell the whole story.
- Maximize human communication effectiveness. Three components make up human communication effectiveness – body language, tone, and words. Words represent less than 10% of the overall total. Make sure you truly capture the emotional aspects of customer service in your follow-up process through actual conversations with the disgruntled customer. It shows you have empathy and really care.