Customers interact with your business through your customer service team. This team is the voice of your business. According to American Express, 68% of customers believe that a polite customer service agent is the key to providing great service.
How your team members handle them is crucial to your business’s success.
If you want your customers to come back to your business, you need to achieve customer satisfaction.
Handle them poorly, and customers will bolt to a competitor, slashing revenues.
These challenges can be stressful for the customer support team if they don’t know how to handle them. Thankfully, we are here to help.
The key to handling these challenges is knowing how to respond effectively and on time.
That, in turn, enhances customer experience, boosts customer loyalty, and increases corporate profitability.
Below are 12 common customer service challenges businesses face daily as well as tips on how to turn them into relationship-building opportunities:
Handling this challenge is more about what you shouldn’t do than what you should do.
The key is to avoid being unclear in your response.
If you do not have the answer, acknowledge the question’s difficulty, ask them for time to find a solution, then guarantee you’ll contact them.
There will be times when the best way to help a customer is to transfer the customer to another person.
When that happens, you first need to let customers know you’re transferring them to someone that will help.
But avoid the mistake of doing a “blind transfer.” Meaning you transfer the customer to your teammate without verifying they are available to take their call.
If someone is expecting a live person but gets a voicemail, how do you think they will feel?
Customers can have a hard time explaining what they want. They may not know the technical jargon to tell you exactly what the problem is.
If possible, ask the customer to take you step-by-step through their issue.
You might find it helpful to take notes while they explain.
Consider sharing the problem with a teammate. A second opinion could help you solve the issue quickly.
Even the best companies get calls from angry customers.
The key is first to calm them down so you can find out how you can help them.
One approach is to use the HEARD technique for helping customers — Hear. Empathize. Apologize. Resolve. Diagnose.
The trick to beating this challenge is to set reasonable customer expectations, then meet and exceed them. Exceeding expectations can generate repeat business.
The key to doing that is to take a customer-centric approach. Then, generate data that tells you exactly what customers want. Use print, electronic, and social media to produce that kind of data.
Customers are okay with being put on hold if it helps resolve their issues. Telling customers that you’re going to put them on hold to solve their problems buys you time to talk with the other customer.
Above all, avoid telling the first customer you’re talking with a second customer. And don’t leave customers on hold for a long time.
Is there anything worse than having a power failure or a crisis? Severe emergencies, like security breaches, can be deadly.
How do you handle them? First, put a crisis communication plan in place. That tells employees precisely what they have to do during a crisis. Then, when customers call, you need to apologize to customers for what they’re going through.
Also, provide constant updates—say once every 30 minutes— to help reassure nervous customers.
Once everything’s over, you can publish a post-mortem.
Discounting can get customers to buy from you. But it also devalues your brand’s perception in the customer’s eyes. So, use this strategy sparingly.
No customer likes to hear “no” from a customer service rep. Explain to them why you can’t give them the discount.
It’s hard to say no to good customers, as we noted above. But sometimes you must. Here’s a way to do it gracefully:
Sometimes you can find a workaround that provides the functionality your customers want in your product. In other words, do what you can to help the customer.
This challenge is common during the holiday season—especially if you don’t have an employee working 24/7 or a third-party provider like Unicom to provide round the clock responses. Many customers expect an answer within six hours. When you’re backed up like this, focus on responding instead of resolving.
You can also have customer service agents write personal emails telling customers, “We’re backlogged, but we’ll be taking care of you soon.” Also, give customers a hard deadline by which you’ll help them.
Some people are better suited for your product or service than others. But letting a customer go is never easy. So, if you need to do it, do it with grace and respect. Use this four-step approach:
Going above and beyond can save this relationship.
Customers want answers now. Or better yet, five minutes ago. To start, review the ticket handling process you have in place. If you have tickets bouncing around from one department to another, find out why and eliminate the problem.
Try omnichannel support, create a service level agreement, and set up your internal structure for team success.
Customer service challenges don’t go away. But if you don’t handle them correctly, they could cost you your customers. Not providing outstanding customer services generates negative word-of-mouth advertising. No business can afford that.
Turn service challenges into relationship-building opportunities and improve customer satisfaction. Prepare your team to handle these challenges in advance.