Customer Service Obstacles:
Strategies for overcoming your day-to-day challenges
Think about the last “easy” day you experienced on the job. If that’s a tall order, take heart. A study conducted at international training and consulting firm The Forum Corp. found that at least six obstacles stand in the way of your success. Rather than seeing these challenges as problems—turn them into growth opportunities. Here’s how:
- Multitasking: It’s not easy to operate your computer or access your database, deal with the demands of other departments, adhere to policies and procedures—and simultaneously assist customers. Strategy: Put in the extra time to learn your organization’s operations until they become second nature. Stay just 10 extra minutes each day to browse the intranet.
- Customer frustration: Even if you aren’t responsible for a customer’s anger, you often must deal with the brunt of it. That’s because customers see you as the face of your organization and have no one else to blame for their problems. Strategy: When faced with disgruntled customers, remember: Unlike them you actually aren’t angry. Stay in control of the situation by helping to solve the problem. Not only will that keep the conflict from escalating, it’ll likely remedy the situation.
- Time management: Because you spend most of your time reacting to customers’ problems, it’s tough to manage your day. After all, how can you anticipate the number of customers who will need help? Strategy: Take 15 minutes every day to plan and prioritize. Use only one time management system such as a written to-do list, an email calendar or a PDA.
- Group cooperation: You need to offer service that is flawless—even if other people don’t provide you with the information or resources you need. Strategy: Communicate your needs upfront. That means giving your co-workers a deadline and emphasizing the importance of the situation. Call them first, and then send an email to make sure they understand your ideas and are on the same page.
- Internal policies: Your organization may make requests or institute policies that you know will dissatisfy your customers. Strategy: Learn everything you can about the organization’s policies and procedures. Once you are well-versed on the rules, you will be able to explain them.Remember: Stay focused on what you can do for the customer.
Attention managers: Are you eliminating the obstacles that cause your customer service representatives to offer less than stellar service? High-quality customer service is critical to an organization’s success. The overwhelming reason customers quit doing business with an organization is because they are upset by the treatment they receive by customer service reps. In a survey by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 68% of customers cited poor service as the reason they left, compared with only 14% who were dissatisfied with the products they purchased.
Arm your customer service representatives with everything they need to provide your customers with the service they expect and deserve. You can’t afford not to. Check out the NEW First-Rate Customer Service Training Kit.
And register them to receive the First-Rate Customer Service e-zine! Delivered monthly right to their inboxes, this free e-zine offers valuable tips for handling customer service issues.