Improve customer service through initial actions
A recent incident with a business taught me a lesson and offers reminders for everyone. This column is aimed at the provider, but customers can learn from it, too.
1. Be clear at the outset. Fully explain and define what you are offering. Provide all information in writing. If you’re not using a paper document, send an email. (If you’re a customer, make sure you get all details in writing before proceeding.)
I agreed to the program during a phone call asked that all details be listed in email. That never arrived, so I didn’t get a list of services until I received the invoice.
2. Provide contact information for your support staff. Really important if you will be away for an extended period. I have an issue with this business, and am trying to resolve it with customer service in my salesperson’s absence. Prior to taking leave, my salesperson provided a phone number but no email address for the customer service person.
3. Follow up immediately. Whenever a call, letter or email arrives, respond promptly. In some cases, you may have to mention that some research is in order. That’s fine. Acknowledge the message, and get right on it.
In my case, the customer service person has failed to return two phone calls and an email. Not good. (It’s a legitimate business, so I’m not concerned about fraud.)
4. Be friendly. Show empathy and project a friendly demeanor. That can be really difficult if the customer is ticked off. Calm him down as best you can, and maintain the upbeat attitude.
For related reading, see “Deal with complaints properly” and “4 elements of excellent customer service.”
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Image courtesy of Office.com.