5 scenarios your customer service employees typically encounter
1. The customer shouts and refuses to listen
Anyone who has ever worked within customer service has encountered a customer at one time or another who doesn’t quite hear the solution they are offering and instead becomes very angry. Every day, your staff encounters customers who call in to ask a question or get a problem resolved and end up feeling like they are not being understood. This often happens when your employee does not have the answer to resolve the problem and needs to go in more depth to find a solution, or that the customer simply does not understand the solution that is being offered. For an employee who is having a bad day, this type of conversation can really have an effect that causes them to feel down for the rest of the day. Then, it is important that there is a colleague (or manager) on site that the employee can turn to for support and to reflect on the conversation. Maybe there was something the staff member could have done differently? Sometimes there is room for improvement and other times it is just an impatient customer. Remind your staff members that when they find themselves in a conversation with a frustrated customer, they have the power to turn the situation around and resolve the problem. Turning a negative into a positive may lead to a situation where an angry customer, intent on cancelling a subscription or similar, ends up continuing the service after all. All because your employee takes the extra time to listen
2. Some calls give you an ego boost
Just as an angry customer can ruin your day, a grateful one can lift your spirits. Successfully solving a customer’s problem and feeling appreciated can provide a real ego boost – both in your employee’s professional role and on a personal level. We can all recognize the feeling we get when we accomplish something – it’s both motivating and necessary. Gratitude is as fundamentally important as criticism. It acknowledges what we are good at and drives us to continue. And it may be the acknowledgement you
provide a staff member that enables them to keep a positive attitude when they encounter those customers who are not so pleasant. Because they know that they are good at what they do, and that the next boost to their ego is probably just a few calls away.
3. Goal reached!
Setting goals is important so that your employees have something to strive for. Without clear goals, your employees may be working in the dark and not knowing why they are doing what they are doing. Also, the feeling of having achieved a goal is unbeatable, not just for the sales team but for your employees in the customer service team as well. An example of a goal within the customer service team may be shortening the time it takes to handle a particular problem – maybe your staff was able to effectively cut a few minutes this week? Customer satisfaction is also a good goal and provides employees with confirmation that they are doing a good job. Some employees are extremely goal-oriented, while a few simple guidelines will suffice for others. In some cases, being overly goal-oriented can be a hindrance and create
a situation where the employee is never really satisfied. So be sure to help your staff set goals that are realistic, and encourage them to follow up on their goals in a timely manner. For example, encourage your staff, let them know that just because the level of customer satisfaction has gone down on Day #2 of the month, it doesn’t mean you can’t finish the month on top!
4. Things are constantly changing
When you work in the customer service field, you have to be ready for change. New things come up all the time and your employees need to keep up-to-date. Promotions come and go – they may sell a product at a certain price one day and a different price the next. In order to be able to offer your customers the best product or service, your staff needs to stay informed of the product or service that fits their customers best and how they can solve common problems as they arise. Change places high demands on the team leaders who are responsible for communicating new information. Uncertainty that comes with change can also create insecurity among your staff members. For example, many employees have been put in a situation where they are thrown into a new project without having the right background. On the other hand, a positive aspect of rapid change is that employees are able to accumulate qualifications more quickly and gain new experience. It’s never boring, that’s for certain!
5. “I can’t help you – right now...”
Every company has likely encountered a system error at one time or another, and customer service is often the first team to take the hit. Customers contact you wanting to know why the system is down and what the staff can do to help them. Unfortunately, there is seldom anything that the staff can do for them. At best, they may be able to inform them when the system is expected to be back up again, but sometimes they aren’t even able to do that. Then, they are forced to tell the customer, “Unfortunately, I can’t help you right now,” which can be the hardest thing to say to someone who is asking you for help. The upside of system errors is that they often relate to changes that benefit your employees in the long run, for example, an upgrade or the addition of a new feature. Hopefully, a system error will lead to something beneficial, even if it makes things difficult in the moment.
For those of you running e-commerce operations, it is important to adapt your customer service approach accordingly so that you can offer the best experience possible for your particular clientele.