What is Customer Service?
Customer service is an essential component of any company or business that cares about its clients, customers, partners and affiliates. It involves putting in place tools that allow a customer to submit queries, leave feedback and receive timely responses to queries.
Besides putting customer care tools like a help desk or shop assistant, a company must act sincerely and attend to queries submitted by customers. They have to find a genuine solution to problems and respond quickly for that matter. Most of the times, a customer will be satisfied if an organization acts urgently on their queries, as it shows that they are an important part of the business.
Business Managers must not just create a customer care section or hire support staff to attend to customers but they must make sure that it offers a good experience to people. They must make sure that it functions effectively and efficiently and that it serves its purpose well. Tools for managing customers are appreciated by most people but if support staff is not well-trained to handle customers, the company will get a reputation for poor customer service.
It’s not only poorly trained staff that gives low ratings for your company, but there are many other factors involved. Here is a list of things that will affect your customer service negatively:
Poorly Trained Support Staff
Many people have encountered one or two members of support staff who were either rude, cold, harsh or arrogant. They lack people skills to deal with impatient and difficult customers. Most of these customer assistants were hired hurriedly without a thorough interview process. The company might have been too busy to spend much time on a small task such as interviewing a help desk assistant or they needed to fill that position urgently. You have to realize that support staff deals with customers and any delay in attending to them can affect potential sales, which in turn affects the company’s revenue at the end of the month. A company might hire a customer assistant but if he or she is poorly trained, the company will fail to attract and retain its customers.
Slow Response Times
A lot of businessmen like the phrase “Time is Money” but ironically some of them have no idea how this principle applies to their customer service department. This is a typical company that takes customers for granted, taking a long time to respond to queries or never responding at all. Surely if you think Time is Money, then you would act quickly in attending to customers because any delay or non-action will cost you a sale. We all know this type of company, once a customer pays and checks out, they go to sleep or pretend that your purchase never made a difference to their bank account. They assume that after all, you are the one who needs them. They don’t know need you, they have many customers, so they think.
No Refund Policy
Some companies are policy freaks who like quoting their Terms and Conditions in the face of complex customer situations. They are unable to use their imagination and reasoning capabilities when confronted by customers, preferring to hide behind their Terms of Service. There are situations where a refund is applicable if a product is defective, deceptively advertised or incorrectly described. In all cases, if it’s the manufacturer’s fault, then they are required to refund the customer regardless of their company policy. If you are selling non-digital items, it is only smart and proper to have a Refund Policy. Most legitimate companies have a refund policy and warranties that are effective for a limited time period from the date of sale. Within that period, you have to report any defects and malfunctions in order to get your refund. A time limited refund is better than none at all. Most customers will appreciate a refund and because of this they will rate your customer service positively.
Lack of Negotiation Skills
A skilled salesperson knows how to negotiate a deal and convince a buyer. It is not smart for an organization to hire zombie support staff whose job is to give canned responses to customers. Although canned responses are suitable for general and frequently asked questions, people can tell the difference between a canned and human response. Most customers have been in a situation where they are given pre-written responses which don’t address their unique problem. They are made to go around in loops being referred from one person to another and left with the impression that support staff is either confused, incompetent or unwilling to help. This situation can put a dent on the image of the company, especially their customer service.
In order to avoid this, a company must hire skilled customer care professionals who can to listen to individual demands and offer solutions to complex queries and problems. This is where negotiation skills are required. Alternatives are offered and compromises are made with the customer. When a customer feels that what they paid for isn’t worth the price, a skilled sales assistant should come up with an alternative that reduces the client’s perceived loss. Refunds can be made, replacements can be offered, incentives can be given, bonuses can be added, big discounts can be applied and payment plans can be changed to make the customer happy.
Unreachable Support Lines
Some companies claim to be open during business hours, but when you try to call their help desk, no-one picks up the phone. The help desk is unmanned for hours and you wonder if they are serious with their business or not. If a company offers 24/7 support on their website, then they should do that. One of the most frustrating things that can turn away a customer is a support line that is always busy. It feels like you are the only one that never gets a chance to speak to support staff.