Customer Service Guide for Customer Success

Customer Service Guide for Customer Success

Use this information as a customer service guide for customer success.

People Want Good Customer Service

In the end, people just want good customer service. Without it, a business will never thrive. Word travels too fast, and there's too much competition for people to keep doing business with a company that offers sub-standard support.

With people, they only care about what's important to them at that moment in time.

Your business setup and support staff doesn't matter to them. What matters is that their concern is being handled in a timely and efficient manner and that they feel like they're being listened to.

Leave the Legal Documentation Out

Sending a person that has a customer service issue the legal documentation behind the contract they signed, in the midst of the issue, is the absolute incorrect action to take.

Not being responsive, or being responsive in a vanilla fashion will never have a good outcome.

Your customer service team and leadership team need to take ownership, and quickly, otherwise, a simple customer service issue can spiral out of control and become way more of a nuisance than it needs to be.

Always Maintain the Trust

When a customer signs up with a business, they're putting their trust in that business to see things through for them. When a simple customer service issue arises, and it's not handled properly (now we must remember, what's proper is up to the customer, not the company) it breaks the congruency (TRUST) and when that happens, no matter what action a company takes, it's going to be interpreted as a negative.

Be the Single Point of Contact

Having a customer reach out to a 3rd party that supports a service that's being resold under your company, is absolutely never to occur.

There must be a single point of contact at all times.

When a customer service issue arises that needs additional priority support from a 3rd party, the originating vendor must be the one that communicates with them and relays the message back. If you want things to go bad really quickly, and you want the weaknesses of your service to be exposed, let the customer talk to the 3rd service provider, as they're most likely not going to say good things.

Be Morally Correct

Companies have a moral obligation to support customers. When you go home at night, you must ask yourself if you can put your head down on your pillow and say that you've provided the best customer experience you were able to for every situation. Yes, big companies need to have a herd mentality to survive because it's a big engine and a lot of support that's required, but you must never forget that it's the sum of each individual (customer) that makes the whole. Discerning between "yellers," people who always yap at everyone, vs. real "issues" is vital to leadership success.

Jump Into Action

When a customer service issue arises, and top leadership is made directly aware via phone, email, chat, service ticket, or any other means of communication, immediate action must be taken. Pushing it down to a secondary team to handle and moving on to the next project, may not be the best idea. The best leaders got to their positions because they're the best leaders, and they've always held true to high moral standards and seeing to it that every interaction they have, is a positive one.

People are magnetized and attracted to the best leaders, so if you are the best, then act like it and take care of customer service issues as if you were in their shoes.

Although you may think your support team has the same customer service skills you do, they most likely don't. Just because you hire someone and give them a customer service title, doesn't mean they're going to be good at customer service.

Good customer service starts with excellent, consistent training, matched with real-life customer service experience.

It's easy to think that people know what to do, but the fact is, most don't. It's like telling one of your kids to mow the lawn but not ever showing them how to start the mower or reviewing proper safety measures with them. They may be able to start the mower eventually, but in the end, they may get injured by the blade by trying to pull stuck grass out of the bottom while the mower is running. The simple thing to do is to walk your child to the mower, take time to review how to start the mower, and then go over all the safety measures, not once, but multiple times over the first few weeks. Ask them questions, have them try and teach you everything you taught them, then you'll really know they understand what you've reviewed.

It's way too easy in the world of technology and business to send a customer service employee to take an online class and then expect them to do their job correctly in the most heated of situations, without providing them any real authority to flip over a penny that's lying on the floor.

It's like saying, "This is the correct immediate action to take, but hold on, don't take it because you don't have the authority." This type of customer service behavior drives customers crazy.

Time to Full-Resolution is What Counts

If your customer service team is set up on response time, it's set up improperly. If your customer service team is set up on full-resolution to successful outcome, you're headed for success. Any company can put a mustache on someone unqualified or ill-equipped to respond quickly to meet an SLA (service level agreement) in a legal document, but as a leader, this is 100% NOT what you want your customer service response team to be focused on achieving.

Customer service is about providing an outcome that's important to the client requesting the special assistance, not about you putting a checkbox on an internal chart and giving someone a gold star for excellent response time without successful resolution.

Every customer service issue is a race for both the customer and client to make it to the finish line. As a company, sprinting out of the gate is essential for sure, but getting to the finish line is what the customer will remember. It's the 2% of what your customer service team does that your client is going to remember most, and that 2% is typically overall time to full resolution. I know many companies that have a slower response rate matched with a faster full-resolution rate, and I personally will choose that type of company all day long.

Target for the Proper Objective

You're going to get what you target for, so if you're targeting for sub-service, or you don't have the means or methods to offer amazing customer service support, it's ok, just explain to the customer with the issue how things are set up and why things work the way they do.

Being frank, sincere, and vulnerable always puts any customer service issue at ease.

Being vanilla and using phrases like, "I'll try," or "That's the plan," or "I can't do that," or "I'm not authorized," are going to make your business, and its helpful customer service team, sound weak and robotic, thus infuriating the client due to their sense of lack of know-how.

Never Lose a Good Customer

Giving people authority in customer service does come with risk. Some will take too much, and others will offer too little. Losing a good customer that has the ability to provide a lifelong annual revenue, due to lack of excellent customer service support, is terrible. It's all about balance and giving the proper amount of authority so the customer service agent can provide a happy outcome in real-time.

The Future is Yours

I hope you digest what I'm saying here regarding the importance of excellent customer service. The future is in your hands at this point. Mess up, and do it consistently, and over the years, your company will erode away.

Do customer service at a higher level than ever thought possible, and do it consistently, and your company will flourish for years to come.

Don't take any customer for granted. Take the high road, show up, be responsive, compassionate, empathetic, and willing to do whatever it takes, even when it does take money out of your pocket in the short term.

Take Care of Every Customer

Word travels fast, especially with social media, so jump on every issue that arises and let clients know that they're being heard, and that you're taking every necessary measure to get them the fastest full resolution to the issue possible. Let them know that no one is going to provide them with a better experience than what you're going to, even if it's a pain in the behind and you don't want to because you have a 1,000,000 other calls to handle.

Honesty is always the best way to make the conversation human again.

Using the book-taught methods of "I understand how you feel" or "I'd feel the same way" type nonsense is actually nonsense. No one falls for that robotic junk talk anymore. Keep it real throughout the entire process. That's all people want.

Relate to Customers

If an opportunity comes about to add a little humor or share a story of how you can relate, then, by all means, do so. Do things and talk about things that make sense and that are relevant to the conversation at hand.

Regardless of what you may think, clients just want to get stuff done, just like you do, so working together as a team is always the best option.

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Brandon SchaeferSales Training