In a world where instant gratification is now a customer expectation, businesses need to focus on delivering responses in a quick and timely fashion while still providing a positive customer experience.
This transition in customer expectations is being driven by companies such as Amazon and Zappos, leading the way in their speedy promises. It can be a challenge for small businesses to manage daily activities, let alone deliver what customers want and when they want it. However, handling time-sensitive customer service issues quickly is possible with the right procedures in place.
Take a look at these six tips for handling time-sensitive customer service matters in your business.
1. Be Proactive
If you are aware of an event or instance that will impact your customers, take a proactive approach and make them aware. Depending on the size of your business, personal phone calls might not be possible. Thanks to technology and a heavy reliance on smartphones, businesses can notify customers that a delivery has been delayed via text messaging. Making an effort to be proactive goes a long way in showing you care while minimizing an increase in phone calls.
2. Prioritize Requests
Most customers think their requests are more important than any other problem in the customer service queue. Since not every request is high-priority, businesses need a system for adequately categorizing requests based on their severity. Some businesses look at the overall impact on their bottom line, while others choose to look at what will negatively impact their online reputation the most. By prioritizing requests, your customer service team will be better equipped to handle all incoming requests instead of just a handful.
3. Set Expectations
Most customers call service departments because they want somebody to listen to their frustrations. By setting expectations for the customer, they will be more accepting of the results of the call. Even if that means you can’t guarantee delivery by a certain date, at least they will know you invested time to help them and that creates a better experience.
4. Invest in Education
Your customer service team is your front line of the company. If they don’t have the right information or knowledge about the company, services or products, they won’t be able to satisfy customers. Take the time to teach, train and invest in technology that streamlines their daily activities and increases overall productivity. Ninety-one percent of businesses with more than 11 employees rely on customer management systems that allow agents to access a customer’s purchase and interaction history. This makes it simple for agents to track down status updates for customers while freeing up precious minutes to spend help other customers quickly.
5. Be Honest
Honesty and transparency go a long way in establishing trust with customers. Make sure you don’t overpromise. Promising a result and failing to deliver only makes you look bad and creates a negative perception of your business. If a customer makes a request that you can’t deliver, tell them up front, “Unfortunately, I can’t do X, but it does look like we can do Y instead. How does that sound?”
6. Know When to Redistribute
Depending on the number of customer service requests you receive daily, there may be a tipping point on what your customer service representatives can handle. As the business owner or leadership, it is essential that you listen to reps and redistribute responsibilities when needed so they can better serve customer requests in a timely fashion.
7. Create a Self-Service Option
This is especially helpful for low-priority tasks. Create an online portal or mobile app that allows customers to track the status of their delivery, submit questions and research best practices for products. If your business schedules appointments with existing and potential clients, establishing an appointment or booking system online will create more efficient customer service and happier customers as a result.