Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Your Customer Has a Problem. Are You Ready to Help?

August 27, 2015

Customer service is an essential part of every company. If you’re not prepared, you may pay a high price in lost business.

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Whether you’re a one-person shop or a company with 500 employees, you’re in the people business. Whatever products or services you offer, you’re going to hear from customers or clients with problems. What you do when that happens affects your relationship with that individual and your reputation. An unhappy customer may well take to the internet and post a scathing review.

Getting a solid handle on handling complaints and problems is essential. Here are some ways to evaluate your current customer service and plan for improvements.

Make It Easy for Customers and Clients to Get in Touch
Right or wrong, your customers and clients want solutions. They want you to fix their problems. Now. The first test is whether they can get in touch easily. Your website needs accessible contact information that’s easy for them and OK for you.

If you’re a small company, you may not have a customer service employee sitting by the phone. That’s OK, but access to help is still important. Email links, social media contact points, and other messaging options work fine, but they must be monitored and lead to timely responses. If you do have a customer service phone line, someone must be available to provide real assistance. Operating hours should be displayed prominently.

Get Proactive with Self-Service Problem Solving
Todd Martin 082715 image 2Make your website a help solution for clients and customers. Use FAQ pages, troubleshooting guides, instructional materials and other content to help people find their own solutions. Host PDF files of product manuals, parts lists, etc. on your site. Include prominent navigational links to resources in your site’s CSS template. Don’t skimp on these features and add new information whenever you discover it’s needed.

For hands-on fixes, consider videos on your site so customers can take care of problems for themselves. Host these on YouTube with clear titles that help people find them. Every problem customers solve themselves is a problem resolved.

Always Work Toward A Real Resolution for Every Problem
Whether complaints or issues arrive in person, by telephone, in your email or on social media, resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction whenever that’s possible. Listen and ask questions until you understand the issue. Then, ask what the customer or client expects.

Try to meet those expectations. If that’s impossible, suggest a compromise that works both for you and your customer. Have an escalation plan available for referring complaints to someone who can find a solution or make necessary decisions. The goal is to reach an effective agreement. Each situation is unique, of course, and creative thinking may be needed.

Customers Aren’t Always Right, But Always Think They Are
Effective customer service requires planning and ready solutions for problems. It also demands dedication to prompt, effective solutions and a consistent positive, responsive attitude. Businesses that put customers first succeed best.

Dealing with customer problems and working toward successfully resolving them isn’t always easy, but always deserves the best effort that can be mustered. Your reputation is at stake.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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