Customer service professionals have the tough task of responding to customer complaints, answering questions, and providing basic information about products and services—sometimes all on the same telephone call. Customer service training programs rarely address the importance of following up with customers, but doing so can prevent communication issues and make customers feel valued. These tips for following up with customers will help you build on the basic information you learned during your customer service training program.
Consider Customer Demographics
When you’re following up with customers, it is important to consider customer demographics. The right way to follow up will depend on the age, income level, and interests of the customer. Guillermo Valiente of Business 2 Community says Millennials have changed the way companies provide customer service. Born between 1980 and 2000, these consumers have much different preferences from those of Baby Boomers or members of other generations. Millennials want immediate feedback from customer service representatives, so it is important to know how to engage them online, on the telephone, and in person. Consider following up via email or text message.
How to Handle Bad News
In some cases, following up with customers involves contacting them to share negative news. Whether you are explaining the reason for a shipping delay or letting a customer know an item is out of stock, this is not a pleasant task. Most customer service training programs include information on handling this type of conversation, but you might need additional assistance from a supervisor or manager. When following up with a customer in this type of situation, be honest. Instead of making excuses for the company, give a sincere apology and help the customer solve the problem. If you are asked for customer service improvement ideas, suggest that your management team give customer service representatives the autonomy needed to solve problems and keep customers happy.
Customer Touch Points
It is also important to create “touch points” when speaking to customers. A touch point is any occasion where you share information or handle transactions. Some customer service training programs do not address the importance of doing so, but creating the right touch points can help you do a better job of following up with people. One of the most important things to do is spread out your attempts to contact a customer. Instead of calling several times right after the sale and then never calling again, make it a point to maintain consistent contact. Always make it your responsibility to make contact with the customer, as this makes customers feel valued. If you currently wait for customers to contact you, start contacting them as part of your customer service improvement efforts.
When you work in the customer service industry, it is important to take what you learned during customer service training and apply it to day-to-day customer service situations. One way to keep customers happy is by following up with them regularly. Use the conflict resolution information you learned during customer service training to dampen the effects of bad news and maintain positive relationships with customers.
About the Author
Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for Beyond.com. Nancy has 10 years experience in the online job search business with Beyond. Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites. Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on https://twitter.com/BeyondJobs.