No SnowFlakes Allowed: How To Succeed at Customer Service Without Fearing It

Customer service is definitely a hard task and often times it’s very unpredictable in industries of any type and size.

If we break down the name, we obtain:

  • Customer, which is of course a very well known subject around the business world;
  • Service, which is yet again widely popular, in start ups and big corporations alike.

The trouble though, seems to come up when you put these words together and you ask a company to take care of them as a whole.

In fact, right there and then the dilemma arises:

How on earth are we supposed to manage customer service without sacrifying our body and soul to it?

The truth is that:

  1. yes, customer service requires a lot of energy to be handled effectively;
  2. yes, you do need to succeed at it for the sake of your business;
  3. yes, there is a better way to do it.

So, let’s find out how it is possible to succeed at customer service by being effective, proactive and – suprisingly – quite relaxed about it.

Let snowflakes out of your customer service office

Customer service issues would be a lot less painful if they were to be brought up by logic-driven androids rather than by emotions-driven human beings.

In fact, your customers are perfectly human so when an issue comes around, their reaction is not always logical and calm; so often times you and your team members find yourself in the position to respond to very angry calls or to bitterly jot down e-mails.

Therefore, if you want to highly increase the success rate of your customer service efforts, you shall start by letting snowflakes out of the room.

In British English, a snowflake is a person who gets offended very easily and is prone to taking things personally, even when it’s unnecessary or counter-productive.

It’s very easy to understand why these kind of over-reacting behaviours can be a bad fit inside the customer service team: the last thing in the world that an angry or deceived customer wants is to deal with someone who – after causing troubles – feels even free to get offended and hurt.

In fact, in your customers’ mind the only truth they’re going to consider is that your company is guilty of causing disappointment and therefore it shall say sorry and make up for it in a blink of the eye.

Is it unfair? Yes.

Is it somewhat childish? Yes.

But that’s what your customers expect. They certainly don’t expect to put up with someone being impatient, assuming an offended tone and acting defensively. Let alone, to someone raising voice.

So, since the purpose of your business is providing customers with what they want, you need to make sure to stay aligned to it in customer service matters as well.

Of course, there’s no need for you to fire each and every person inside your team who does not prove to have an utterly zen approach to disputes, but there actually are a few steps that you really should consider taking if you want your business to become successful at customer service.

  1. Train your customer service representatives to think that receiving challenges through customer service is completely normal, even when those challenges come in the form of a yelling customer.
  2. Teach them the Listen, Smile, Understand, Respond method (LSUR), which implies dealing with the customer service in that precise order: at the beginning, they listen carefully to the customers’ feedback, then they show calm and kindness, which is usually a sign that the situation is totally under control; after that, they state clearly that they have understood the issue and only then, they reply accordingly.
  3. State firmly that customer service is vital to any company and that with every difficult situation they handle with calm and peace of mind, they’re allowing the company to move forward and forward.

And then, after you’ve strenghten your team by training it to be the complete opposite of a snowflake, you are ready to take things up a level.

When there’s no quick fix, provide responses that look like solutions

When a customer brings up an issue you’ve already covered with a solution, it’s very easy to provide such solution with no esitance.

But what happens when there’s no quick fix, either because:

  • It’s the first time someone experiences that kind of an issue, which has never been reported to your team before;
  • It’s a matter of purely personal dissatisfaction due to the fact that particular customer is just not cut out for your product or service.

In those cases, it’s much harder to put in place a brilliant customer service performance.

However, there’s one thing that you can do and is to provide answers disguised as solutions.

As usual, when your customers pick up the phone to express their disappointment they are indeed asking you, directly or indirectly, to make up for it with any means you have at your disposal.

Whether or not you can actually solve their issue right away, you need to be able to guide them through it by providing them with a clear and precise answer full of instructions.

No matter if you ask them to perform some tests or to try and approach the issue from a different perspective: just make sure your team comes across as resourceful.

This way, the customer’s going to rest assured that no matter the dissatisfaction he faced, he was backed up by your support: you listened, you understood and even if you didn’t provide a solution straight away, you walked the walk with him.

And after that, there’s one other important thing you shall prioritize and it’s the following.

Always show up and be ready with a suitable follow up

The rule here is to never let your customers alone.

After a while, your team should always follow up with a phone call or e-mail looking like the following:

Good morning CustomerName, _

_We haven’t heard back from you about the issue you reported last week and we would like to make sure it’s completely solved and forgotten. _

From our side, we’ve introduced a new process/change/guide/support system to make sure such issue doesn’t happen again to our customers, so please accept our thank you for detecting and promptly highlighting that weak point to us.

In case there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out: our customer service _is within easy reach at anytime. _

Wishing you a very nice day,

Best regards.

This script can easily be tweaked to match any different situation, but it provides a solid base for an effective follow up, which will reinforce the customer’s idea of being in good hands, in spite of the issue that was faced.

Conclusions

For companies as well as for human beings, there’s no such thing as no mistake ever.

That’s the reason why having in place a great customer service and being successful at dealing with it is essential for any company, from the largest corporation in the world, to the recently founded start-up.

Your customers would love it if you were undeniably perfect at all times, but at the same time they know that the essence of a great business really shows when there are troubles and they’re faced effectively, in a perspective of growth and constant improvement.

As long as you’re willing to commit to providing excellence in your customer service, there’s no reason why you should fear any incoming CS call or report. Who knows what big improvement they may bring along.

**As always, feel free to share your opinion (or your customer service funniest story, for that matter) and do not hesitate to reach out to us at hello@intelness.com. **

Category:

management

Time to Read:

5 min