Think back to the last time you sent in a customer service request to another company – did they get back to you in a timely manner?  Was your issue resolved quickly?  Over the course of time, your customers will ask you to help them, and as the old adage goes, they may forget what you said and what you did, but they won’t forget how you made them feel.  So, how do you make your customers feel good about asking you for help?

Top Priority: Engage Them Immediately

When I say immediately, I mean, literally as fast as you can.  Being heard is a pretty big deal, and if your customers feel like they are being heard, they know they can trust you.  Above and beyond everything else, this is what will make or break relationships with your customers.  Make sure you and your company are doing everything they can to reply to your customers’ initial requests so they know you’ve “got it”.

Secondary Priority: Follow Up Regularly

Here’s an old habit you will probably have to break – often times, when you’re working on something, you’ll get back to the customer when their request is finished, but not before.  Not a big deal for small requests, right?  Here’s the rub – when you have either a huge amount of small requests, several long running requests, or worse – a combination of both, you’ll likely forget to regularly update your customers on their requests.  Although you may be working on the customers’ issues, they may have no idea you’re making progress.  Worse, they may think you’re ignoring them, when in fact, you’re diligently working to make sure they are satisfied.  How do you deal with this?   Regular updates – set up a structured Service Level Agreement to ensure that you are at replying at least once within a maximum amount of time, and here’s the important part – even if there’s no substantial progress on the issue.  Your clients will always prefer to have regular updates, even if that update is “no progress since the last update”.  At least that’s some communication and not the radio silence that causes customers to start thinking you might not care about them.

The Final Priority: Timely Resolution

Lastly, but importantly, is timely resolution of the customer’s issue.  I rank this third in the list of priorities since resolution to a client’s issue is obviously important, it doesn’t mean anything if there was no communication along the way and there was no initial “I’ve got this” message of ownership sent to the customer at the start.   Chances are good that you’ll have a large number and large variety of customer service requests open at any given time, and some requests will take longer than others depending on the type of request, so measuring this one is a bit tricky unless you can very clearly isolate requests in to specific categories with maximum times to resolution for each issue.

Measuring Success

Each of the priorities above can be measured, and they should be.  That which gets measured gets improved, so this is a clear path to success with your customer requests.  In the end, the ultimate measure of your success will be a satisfied customer – which you should also measure with a survey!

Final Thoughts

Your clients work with you because they trust you.  Trust is like glass – no matter how thick, once it’s broken, it can’t ever be put back together the same way.  Follow these guidelines to make your customer support experience bulletproof.

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