No matter the kind of business you operate, you have to deal with customer service in one way or another. And while most people think it’s all about answering customer questions, which is true, it can be challenging.
It involves dealing with all sorts of people and meeting their expectations. Therefore, to provide a professional service, one has to be patient, diplomatic, and smart.
This article reviews some of the trickiest customer service challenges and their solutions.
Why Customer Service Challenges are Different Today
Customer service statistics show 68% of customers believe that the key to providing the best service is to have a polite customer service representative. While that may be true, customer service faces numerous challenges of customer satisfaction, especially because of the nature of the modern customer.
For decades, several factors have been defining customer service. However, things are changing with the demands of the customers of today.
Today’s customer expects you to deliver the goods and services they purchase faster. They also expect the handling to be flawless, a big concern for enterprises and their customers.
Additionally, today’s customer expects something in return when they conduct business with you. This is yet another challenge companies have to deal with as the customer service team must do everything possible to entice the customers to return.
Remember, a dissatisfied customer is a walking time bomb that can hurt your business severely. These are the consumers the customer service department has to deal with.
The following section will describe broadly what are the customer service challenges you can face and some customer service problem solving examples.
6 Biggest Customer Service Challenges and How to Solve Them
Below are some customer service problems examples and how you can solve them to make the customer experience awesome for your loyal clients.
1. Having No Answer To A Customer’s Question
What happens when a customer asks an unexpected question, and you have no answer? This is a common occurrence you have to deal with.
For example, if you have been shipping some purchases for your customer and they enquire about its arrival, you may not have a definite answer.
While it’s usually a third-party that handles logistics, you cannot just say, “I don’t know,” to your customer. So, what’s the solution?
Your customer service team should guide your customer on where to seek the information, and if possible, work towards obtaining the details themselves. Even if you have no accurate answer, don’t just shrug your customer off.
“I’m sorry, we have no answer right now” doesn’t sit well with customers. It’s a wrong answer, which is the last thing you want landing in your customer’s ears.
The right approach is to:
- Acknowledge the question.
- Request them to allow you some time to find an answer.
- Get back to them as soon as you have accurate information.
2. Transferring Customer Calls
According to American Express, customers hate being directed to another department or waiting to be connected to another office. Customers may hate these automated messages, but sometimes, this may be necessary to get the best support on their inquiry.
When you do this, ensure you explain to the customer that you’ll transfer the call and why it’s important to them.
So don’t just transfer a call. It annoys customers, especially when they get a voicemail where they expected a live conversation.
3. Handling Angry Customers
It’s normal to come across an angry customer. And there are many reasons why your customer might be upset.
It may be they’re confused, you offended them through a mistake, or they’re just having a bad day.
One mistake most customer service agents make is to try and match the customer’s emotion or get defensive. It takes things from bad to worse.
Fortunately, Disney invented an approach that you can adopt to deal with angry customers and turn things around effectively. The technique is called the HEARD technique, which stands for:
- Hear: Hear what the customer is angry about without interrupting.
- Empathize: Show the customer you understand his frustrations.
- Apologize: Even when you have not wronged them, express your apologies.
- Resolve: Go all the way to find a solution to the issue while engaging the customer on what they feel is best.
- Diagnose: Get to the bottom of the issue to identify why it happened in the first place and fix it to ensure it doesn’t occur again.
4. Customer Wants A Discount You Cannot Afford
The modern customer will choose you over your rivals if you offer discounts. However, discounts can hurt your firm.
If you don’t use the discount strategy wisely, it may devalue your brand’s perception in the customers’ eyes. Sometimes, you have to say “No” to a request for a discount.
That said, approach the issue somberly, explaining to your customer why the company cannot go lower than the current price.
5. Serving Multiple Customers
The customer service department is a busy sector where you have to deal with several customers concurrently. You need to manage all the customers, or you risk messing things up.
The right approach is to time your pauses well. If you have to put a customer on hold, explain that they have to wait as you look to resolve the issue at hand. This gives you a chance to talk with another customer.
Avoid telling a customer you’re talking with someone else. It’s not courteous. Also, avoid keeping them on hold for long.
6. A Crisis or Outage
The occurrence of a power outage or a crisis can be detrimental. In fact, it’s deadly to have critical emergencies such as security breaches. Always be ready to handle these situations.
Having a crisis management plan in place is essential. It communicates to workers what they need to do during such critical times. Secondly, approach customers with an apology, making them feel you understand and empathize with what they’re going through.
Additionally, giving updates now and then on how far you are in solving the crisis can help calm and reassure unsettled customers. And when operations resume, publishing a post-mortem goes a long way in further reassuring customers that they’re in capable hands.
Before You Go
Apparently, more than 80% of customers shift to competitors after experiencing poor customer service. You don’t want this happening to you, as it means all your efforts go to waste. Therefore, finding solutions to your customer service challenges is the gateway to establishing a successful business with a loyal customer base. Fortunately, you now know six of the most critical customer experience challenges and how to resolve them.
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An Outsourced CEO and expert witness, Jim Thomas is the founder and president of Fitness Management USA Inc., a management consulting, turnaround and brokerage firm specializing in the gym and sports industry. With more than 25 years of experience owning, operating and managing clubs of all sizes, Thomas lectures and delivers seminars, webinars and workshops across the globe on the practical skills required to successfully overcome obscurity, improve sales, build teamwork and market fitness programs and products. Visit his Web site at: www.fmconsulting.net or www.youtube.com/gymconsultant.