Humour me. Go on Twitter and type “customer service problems.” What did you get? A massive listing of woes? Small companies, big multi-nationals, country no bar – customer service issues are universal.
So what separates the wheat from the chaff? How quickly they respond, how soon they put out the fires. Now that is what makes a difference, a huge one.
First Response Time is one of the most important metric of great customer service. While the soft skills and all the other essentials rank pretty close to the top, how soon you get back to your customer ranks as the number one. Getting this one right makes a massive difference to your business and at a time where attention span and patience levels are at all-time low, a company that doesn’t make its customers hang around will come up trumps.
How to crack this?
First, get everyone on board. At HappyFox, we practice a ‘all hands on deck’ approach to responding to tickets raised by our customers. After all, we are all working towards the same goal so it makes sense that everyone pitches in and tries to make it easy for our customer, right? When every person feels the responsibility, no one will ever leave a ticket saying “X will sort it out”. Result? Accelerated first response times. Guaranteed. [pullquote]The ‘all hands on deck’ approach we follow has helped in drastically reducing the delay in our first response.[/pullquote]
Second, communicate. The person that is responding to the issues might not have all answers at his finger tips but guess what? Your customer does not like to hear “Please hold on while I check with my manager and get back to you”. By the time you do, his well of patience might have run dry and you’d be down a customer. The answer? Clearly established communication lines. Sort this out at the beginning and you are all set to smoothen out any tangles.
Third, train. This is worth repeating any number of times because nothing beats being prepared. When you train repeatedly, you make sure you and your team run smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. You know what to do when it all goes pear-shaped, you just push things up a notch and let your training kick in. The difference between superlative response and a shoddy one is training.
Fourth, be proactive. How can you beat your first response time? By beating your customer to it! Orlando Utilities did this beautifully by tweeting this and roping in their customers.
Sure beats getting hundreds of complaints later on when your customers find themselves – literally, in this case! – in the dark and then scurrying to fix the issue, right? Companies like Starbucks and Hyatt ask for their customers’ input when it comes to product innovation. So why not take a leaf out of Orlando Utilities’ book and jump ahead of the curve? [pullquote]Get your customers on board and you can find none more invested in working things out! [/pullquote]
Fifth, go live. A while back, I was having issues with registering a product on my iPad. Whatever I tried, I couldn’t make it to work. So I sent an email to the customer support team and got on with my other chores. In less than 10 minutes, I had a reply: please join us for a chat with our agent and we will solve your problem. I did and in under 5 minutes, I was a happy bunny because the agent had walked me though and corrected me where I had gone wrong. Result! According to this report by LiveChatInc, their average first response time is now 1.03 minutes!
What’s better than chatting with an agent in real time and sorting out issues? I tell you – nothing.
So there you go. Nail your first response times and make your customers’ day. And when you do it, they’ll make sure the whole world knows about it.
Which can only do wonders for your business, right? So go on, make someone’s day. Right now! And watch them make yours!
Originally published on the HappyFox blog.