How many times have you sent an email to a company's customer support and not gotten an acknowledgement? How long do you wait for a reply before you call them? If a company tells you they will get back to you by a certain point and then don't or do so late with a lame excuse, do you want to continue to do business with them? If you get vague response from a company, like they are hiding information from you, how does that make you feel about the quality of all of their service offerings?
I am often amazed at how many service providers make such simple operational errors when working with their customers. The following tips are good things to keep in mind as you plan our your customer communication strategy.
Send Acknowledgements - Unless one like lots of extra redundant calls from their customers never let them guess if their communication was received. For every new communication sent in by a customer, whether they be a internal or external, make sure to immediately communicate to your customer that you have gotten their communication and when they might expect a reply.
Keep Commitments - Any time a company communicates a response date to a customer they have made a commitment, companies who don't ensure to get back consistently to their customer by that communicated date do so at their peril. Always respond to the customer by the set due date; at the very least let a customer know that more time is needed and when the next communication should be expected. Operations teams that achieve this have loyal customers because it demonstrates that they apricate and respect their customers, those companies who slip up, even just once sometimes, send their customers to the competition.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate - I wonder at times how much time is wasted in this world in phone calls and duplicate emails because a customer wanted to know the status of their request. I have rarely come across a company that over-communicated, most times all a customer wants to know is that their request is proceeding, when they might expect it to be fulfilled and if there are any delays. Don't hesitate to communicate as status changes; by keeping customers well informed and reduce the overhead involved with customers reaching back out to operations teams for status updates.
Be Transparent - Many companies have lost many a good customer because they tried to covered up, were overly vague about and/or make excuses about for mistakes that were made. The easiest way to lose a customer is to be caught in a lie or make excuses for mistakes; all it takes is once to ruin your reputation and sew the seeds of bad word of mouth. A good example is Uber, paying off hackers to keep the fact that they had been hacked and lost customer data concealed from their customers, this was a huge hit to Uber and a boon for Lyft. Instead always embrace the error, communicate why it happened and the actions taken to prevent future errors, as soon as you understand the reasons; while it may be embarrassing, Customers are willing to forgive, but only if they can visibly see your integrity and honesty about mistakes.
While it seems simple, it is a challenge for any operation to execute these practices, in a consistent and quality way over time. The key to success is to make your tools work for you in tracking your customer communications, then actually use that data to identify improvement opportunities and take actions to continually improve the quality of service offerings to customers.
Please visit www.streamlinerconsulting.expert to see how we might help your company keep great customers for the minimal operational expense.