In spite of the popularity of online shopping, most people still prefer talking to a live customer representative when they have questions or complaints. In fact, in a 2013 study, 61 percent of people cite having a telephone number to call customer service as their most desired method of customer support. Training your customer service team to respond to your customers' needs is imperative to success.
To get started, or to give your team a check-up, here are three of the most common questions customer service reps hear and my suggestions for approaching the answers.
1: How are you better than your major competitor(s)?
How to answer: Focus on your unique value. If you're more expensive than the competition, highlight the additional service value that you offer, whether it's 24/7 customer support, price-lock guarantees or warranties, to name a few. If you offer fewer add-ons than your competitors, highlight specific areas of expertise and outline the benefits that your specialization gives your customers.
Your customer-service reps should have full access to this information, which means reaching across department lines to marketing and being trained on your company's unique value factors.
2. Can I please get your name and title?
How to answer: Accountability and trustworthiness are both key elements of great customer service. It's important to be honest and transparent with your customers. Make sure that your team is able to stand by any information they give out. Encourage them to share a direct phone number or email address where they can be reached specifically, rather than having the customer call the general help hotline again and be routed to a different rep. People appreciate speaking with the same person. It builds a better relationship and keeps them from having to explain their problem again and again.
3: Can I break my contract, return an item I've used or get a refund for a final sale?
How to answer: Unfortunately, it does happen, and your team will have to know how to handle these situations. An unhappy customer presents a number of unique opportunities, including the opportunity to learn how your company can improve. The more feedback you can get on why your customer is terminating service or returning a product, the more your team can grow.
Consider asking the customer to fill out a satisfaction survey as a pre-requisite to getting a refund or canceling a contract. In addition, make sure that your customer service reps understand why the termination request is being made ito determine how to proceed. For example, is policy different for canceling a medical alert service if it is no longer wanted versus if the recipient no longer needs it? Your customer service reps can make the situation easier and smoother when they understand the full extent of the situation.
The most important qualities in your customer service team are honesty, patience and a calm, helpful demeanor. A good customer service experience can make the difference between a one-time customer and a lifelong brand loyalist, so hire accordingly and invest in ongoing customer service evaluation and training.