You probably get incoming emails and calls all the time from external and internal customers. Often, these can be reports of problems or bugs in your product or service.
I read a great blog post recently titled Are You Giving Customers a “Thanks for Letting Us Know Kiss-Off”? That question caused me to do some self-evaluation!
Some steps the author, Tom Vander Well, highlights are very applicable to how you respond when a customer reports a problem:
World-class customer service requires more than a “thanks for letting us know kiss-off”. It requires resolution:
- Describe the exact actions that have been taken to address the issue.
- Provide the current status of the actions being taken to resolve the issue.
- Give an accurate estimate of the time it will take to fix the problem.
- Promise to notify the customer when the issue is resolved.
Customers want courteous, friendly service – but it must come hand in hand with resolution of the issue!
In addition to setting customer expectations on resolution, you should always try to give them a work-around of some type.
Your users don’t really care that you have a bunch of internal processes or red tape to get through before you fix their problem. They want resolution and they want to accomplish the task your product or service was making difficult or impossible.
Help customers get their task done. Jeffrey Gitomer in his Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless suggests filling in the blanks when responding to customers:
“The best way to handle that is ______________”
“The fastest way to get that done is __________”
“The easiest way to get that is ______________”
I’ve found that it is a lot easier to deliver some bad news (like maybe we can’t fix that issue yet) when coupled with a valid solution the customer can use in the interim.