Last weekend I had no Internet for two days straight. I tried to contact the Internet provider via chat. I wrote my request and waited for a reply. The waiting never ended. So, they weren’t available over chat. On Sun. I decided to call them. A very polite lady explained to me that they are running a check that leads to downtime. She further told me that they should be ready by the end of the day. In case I still don’t have Internet, I should call them again. At 20h there was still no Internet. What’s more, there was no more customer service anymore! Sundays they are working only until 19h.
How do you think I felt? I felt like… changing my Internet Provider.
Customers are the most important stakeholders of one’s business. It’s simple really, without them the company won’t exist. Therefore, it is quite astonishing that so many companies neglect the importance of customer service. I am aware that people will disagree with the previous statement. Nowadays, we talk more and more about customer centricity. Companies invest millions in customer service. They try to engage customers in all stages of the buying cycle.
Yet, there are so many examples of bad customer service. Agents who are rude or have no clue what they are doing. Sometimes the customer spends hours and hours of waiting on the phone line, just to hear ‘I am not responsible for that. Let me forward you to the next level of support’.
So, what does it take to be a good customer service agent?
Well, this is not an easy question. He/she has to possess a number of skills, such as active listening, proactive behavior, showing empathy and emotional intelligence…
The easiest way to describe a good agent is to describe a good customer agent is to describe what he/she is NOT…
Bad: I am not able to log into the website. When I… – Which browser are you using? – No, what? Oh, I think Firefox…. – Have you tried with another one? – Yes, with all of them. – Ah, ok, continue… – Well, I open the website and enter my credentials… – Are you sure you are typing in the right password? – What? Yes, I am sure… – Caps lock turned off? – I am not IDIOT, let me finish!!!!
Good: I am not able to log into the website. When I open the website and enter my credentials, I get an error that this is the wrong password. I have tried with all browsers, turned off caps lock and tried several times. I am pretty sure I am doing it right. – Great, have you tried to clear cache and cookies. Sometimes they block you form entering. – Oh, I didn’t know that! Let me check… – Oh, that’s normal! I had no idea about that, too, before starting to work here 🙂
Bad: Yes, of course,I am pretty sure we can deliver the goods earlier. I will talk with the department and we will solve the problem.
Good: I am sorry but I can’t tell you immediately whether we can deliver the goods on time or not. But here is what I will do. I will contact the responsible team in the next 2 hours and I will let you know latest by tomorrow.
The latter sounds more professional. You can’t promise an immediate solution to the problem, but you are doing the best you can. That is quite enough.
Customer service can harm your business greatly if not done properly. The worst thing is that its affect are long-lasting and spread like a disease. One wrong reaction and you will create bad customers all along the way. This is not something that you want to happen.
Do you have some bad customer experience and what will be your way of overcoming it?
October 19, 2016