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The Customer is Always ... Important

By Robyn Greenspan     Feedback

The customer is always right -- the right component for e-biz success, that is. Here are three suggestions for improving the telephone relationship with your shoppers.

What is it about calling customer service that strikes immediate disdain in most shoppers? Could it be the labyrinth of voicemail options? The interminably long hold times? The endless transfers to the "appropriate" department? Or the limited ability on behalf of the call center employee to actually resolve a problem to the customer's satisfaction?

Is customer service getting worse or are customers becoming more impatient?

Both. And since your e-business is reliant on customer satisfaction it is important for your customer service functions to be running at expert efficiency.

Here are some suggestions for emphasizing the "service" portion of customer service:

  • Customer service staff should be educated and trained to become the experts. A highly informed end user shouldn't know more about the product or service than your own employees. However, an employee shouldn't be so confident about their knowledge that a customer's complaints go unheard.

  • Have employees adopt an easy-going manner when dealing with complaints or conflict resolution. Most customers who call your support center are already dissatisfied (otherwise they wouldn't be calling) and customer care reps should not exacerbate the situation with rudeness.

  • Your call center should have access to the same technology and information that your customers have. It is unforgivable for an employee to tell a customer, "I'm not able to access the Web site." Or, "I'm not familiar with that promotional brochure that arrived with your bill." Even better, "You'll have to call a different office and I don't have that number available."

Growing consumer demand for satisfaction necessitates that e-businesses place increasing emphasis on improving customer service centers. Cultivating relationships with customers is an ongoing process that needs the same development and careful attention as other e-tail functions.

Reprinted from ECommerce Guide

This article was originally published on April 10, 2001
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