Customer service is one of the most important parts of a successful business. Great products and great prices will never take you as far if you don’t have good support for customers when problems arise.
And they will arise. No product is always a perfect fit or the exact item for what the customer wants to do. That’s especially true with things like clothing, gifts, and home improvement items.
So the issues will come along, and the customer will return with a crumpled receipt and an item that just didn’t cut the mustard. How you handle that situation is a legitimate predictor of that customer’s likelihood of returning, and subsequently, the company’s future. Getting a good experience for them has several important components.
Customer Service Is All About Being Accessible
The first roadblock typically encountered by exasperated customers is the inability to reach anybody who can help with the problem. Their first step is normally to come back to the store where the purchase was made and explain the situation there. Make every effort to resolve their issue with this first contact.
If you truly can’t help them at the local level, don’t create a dead end for them. Try to offer options for them to move ahead with their issue. They can utilize tools like CorporateOfficeHQ.com to track down higher levels of the organization, and most tech-savvy customers will do exactly that.
Normally, though, it will not be necessary for them to move beyond the local store. That should be reserved only for the most unusual problems. There should be no barrier to resolution of the most common problems right in the local store, and that begins with your people.
There is perhaps nothing more off-putting to a frustrated customer than being constantly redirected to “someone who can help you with that.” Whether it’s on the phone, in person, or through online tools, customers will be more satisfied when they can get a solution with the first person they contact. If you can get them directly to the person with the answer, they’ll leave with a better taste in their mouth, even if the answer is no.
This requires a high degree of autonomy for the frontline people who will receive that initial contact. If they have the authority to take action for the most common customer interactions, there will be fewer delays and diversions in the process of getting that customer’s issue resolved.
Establish policies about returns, refunds, exchanges, repairs, and all the common problems so that there isn’t a constant need for finding a supervisor to authorize action. Make sure these policies are airtight so that they don’t backfire, and then thoroughly train personnel in how to follow them.
Creating A Cooperative Culture
No matter what else is in place, customer service issues will rarely be solved effectively if personnel does not buy in. A business must have an atmosphere that impresses upon its employees that customer service is important.
Sometimes this can be achieved with various rewards or incentives to personnel, but those are episodic. What must exist is a day-to-day culture that seeks to help customers get solutions to their problems as efficiently and quickly as possible.
This will never happen if management doesn’t care. Each successive layer of the company must truly care about getting problems resolved for customers. They must have enough of a personal stake in the company’s success to care about customer service, and they must understand the role of customer service in that success.
The only thing more important than this sale is the next one. When the first transaction results in something that’s not quite what the customer hoped for, your actions make the difference in whether there will ever be another transaction with that customer. In time, as the impacts of those various problems and their resolution (or lack thereof) accumulate, your company will reap the results of their customer service process.
If you are interested in even more customer-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels then we have a lot to choose from.