By Steve Brubaker, InfoCision Chief of Staff
One of the hardest parts about customer service is the fact that you and your team can do just about everything right, and yet you will still have some customers who will be unhappy with your products or services.
Understand, though, that every customer is important to your organization. For this reason, it’s important to have a strategy in place to manage customer expectations. A customer service department must strive to create an environment that is fair, flexible and empathetic to customer needs.
Here are some things you can do to manage customer expectations more effectively:
Always communicate clearly: Customers get upset when they are told one thing, and then receive something completely different. Oftentimes, this happens due to a miscommunication during an interaction. For this reason, it’s important that agents avoid rushing when engaging with customers, and always speak loudly and clearly with them — especially when discussing deliverables, terms and conditions. An interaction should not end if a customer sounds confused or irritated.
Never over-promise: Customer service agents and sales representatives get into trouble when they make promises that cannot be delivered. When this happens, it typically either results in the company having to admit to an error in the customer’s favor, or let the customer down. Both are unfavorable outcomes. It’s always better to be honest with a customer upfront when you cannot meet their needs, instead of leading them on to appease them during a call and dealing with the consequences later. Customers hate being lied to above all else.
Anticipate customers’ needs: Sometimes, the easiest way to deal with a demanding customer is to be proactive about engaging with him or her. This can be done by collecting customer data during an interaction, analyzing it, and determining an appropriate plan as a team. By forming an engagement strategy, teams can have a system in place so that when a demanding customer contacts the organization, everyone is aware of who they are dealing with and what they need to do to keep them happy.
Outsource contact center operations: Small teams often struggle to deal with demanding customers, especially when they don’t have a dedicated contact center to resolve customer issues. When you have to juggle multiple hats on a daily basis, answering phones and responding to email can be enough to put you over the edge. Businesses in this situation are strongly encouraged to outsource customer service operations to a dedicated contact center solutions provider. It’s an easier, and more cost-effective way to manage customer needs.