During the COVID-19 pandemic, many markets took a dive for various reasons. For some, it was the container ships backing up at various ports and one that got stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking the world’s busiest shipping route. Cargo was basically sitting out in the middle of the sea for an extended period of time, which was enough to cause damage to many businesses.
Now that the pandemic is mostly behind us, markets are starting to bounce back. However, people now have even higher expectations for customer service, thanks in part to the extra effort companies went to during the pandemic.
In any case, regardless of the market, customer service should be a top priority, especially when markets take a dive.
Why customer service matters in hard times
When things get tough, certain things are outside of your control. For example, you can’t always control product availability, prices, or quality issues that happen unexpectedly. However, you can always control your customer service interactions and that’s where you have power in hard times.
If you experience a tough time in your market, your customers are going to feel more on edge and will get irritated more easily. An upset customer is harder to help than someone who is calm. Under normal circumstances, you might be able to get away with mediocre service sometimes, but that won’t fly when your market is struggling.
If you don’t provide absolutely outstanding customer service in the face of adverse times, your customers will feel like you don’t care about them. That may not be true, but it’s what customers will believe.
What makes customer service outstanding?
In general, the best customer service ensures that problems are solved to their satisfaction and they’re left feeling satisfied. Getting this result, however, isn’t as simple as it looks.
First things first, you need a strong contact center solution that supports your customers and your agents. The best agents in the world can’t provide outstanding customer service with a system that makes it difficult for them to do their job. In addition to a powerful contact center application, your agents need to be equipped with skills that go above and beyond.
It’s not enough to simply provide information to customers who have issues. There’s a personal element involved that requires a special kind of training. The most effective service reps embody the following traits:
- They’re generous. Generosity in customer service could be when a representative allows the customer to keep their product and get a refund. It’s also when a rep goes out of their way to satisfy the customer, perhaps by offering free bonuses, upgrades, or discounts – even when the initial problem was caused by the customer. Sometimes customers make mistakes because they don’t understand something. Being generous ignores fault and just makes things right.
- They’re forgiving. Great customer service will never blame the customer for the issue they’re having, even when it is technically their fault. It’s not that a service rep pretends the customer didn’t make a mistake; it’s that the rep doesn’t place any importance on that and just focuses on solving the problem.
- They’re apologetic. Service reps that produce satisfied customers apologize sincerely to the customer for the inconvenience they’re experiencing, regardless of fault. They will see things from the customer’s point of view and be empathetic.
- They do whatever it takes to make a customer feel heard. Not feeling heard is one of the biggest reasons customers become irate during a support interaction. The best service reps will read and/or listen carefully to make sure they understand the problem fully before offering solutions. For example, nobody wants to be told to reboot their device when they’ve told the service rep they just rebooted their device.
Make customer service your top priority
If you’re experiencing difficulty in your market, place a heavier focus on customer service. Understand that your customers are likely to be in a state of agitation prior to contacting your company. The best thing you can do is train your service reps to provide the most outstanding customer service possible to prevent bad moods from escalating. In some cases, top-notch customer service can actually make someone’s day better.
The end result will be that you’ll retain more customers, people will speak highly of your company, your ROI will increase, and you’ll preserve more of your revenue.
Interesting Related Article: “Hiring Customer Service Reps: A Guide For Growing Small Businesses“