Customer Service is about the Customer

The golden rule of customer service is not "the customer is always right", it's that at the end of the day, no matter what industry you are in or whether you offer B2C or B2B customer support, your job is to make your customers' lives easier. Allow me to provide an example of what not to do, and some pointers on how you can make your customers' lives easier and provide a positive customer service experience.

I recently dealt with a high end computer manufacturer regarding an issue with a brand new laptop. I had to contact the company 4 times about the same issue. The first attempt (well, actually the first 3) was using their online chat function. Just trying to reach someone via chat was painful. There were about 6 different dropdown menus, none of which were clear. For example I had to choose whether the product I needed help with was a notebook or component. How would I know? The reason I'm contacting you is that I don't know why my computer isn't working properly. That's a ridiculous distinction that is obviously written from the perspective of the company, not the customer. Of course since I didn't know what the issue was, I ended up choosing the wrong one. This is where it really falls apart - after spending 30 minutes back and forth with the chat rep, I had to start all over again because they couldn't transfer me to another department!!!

laptop-customer-serviceOn the second attempt, I chose "components" as instructed by the first rep, and yet somehow ended up in an entirely different department. Yet again, I had to leave the chat and start all over. The third attempt got me to the right department, but was as much a waste of time as the previous 2, so I ended up phoning in and (you guessed it) being transferred multiple times.

This is a perfect example of how NOT to do customer service. In the end my issue was never resolved, and not one of the many reps I spoke with took any ownership of the issue, which by the way was a manufacturer's defect (they had never installed the web cam).

This example highlights what not to do, but here are several key points to help you provide successful customer service:

  1. Build your process, forms, etc. from the customers' perspective
  2. Make contacting support as easy as possible for the customer
  3. Get rid of silos - your customer doesn't care which department handles widget xyz, they just want their problem fixed
  4. If you are going to offer a support channel (ie: chat), make sure it works properly and enhances the customer experience rather than making the situation worse

To learn more about why silos don't work, and how to embrace collaborative customer support, check out our white paper:

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