Customer Experience

Fighting the Customer Service Vortex

If you’ve ever heard your customers say their requests go into a black hole, it’s time to pay attention. Here’s how to fix that problem.

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Few things are more frustrating to customers than sending off a customer service inquiry and hearing crickets. Whether your customer service team is overwhelmed or something fell through the cracks, the result is the same: Customers are unhappy, and relationships are damaged. Customer service managers can take concrete steps to ensure that customers never feel like their concerns are trapped in a vortex or black hole.

Assess the basis for concern: Where did this issue first surface? Look at different sources of information to determine how much of a concern it might be. For example, if it came up in a conversation and seems isolated, you can react accordingly. If deeper diving reveals a wider swath of problems, it’s important to take this to heart as a serious issue.

Create response policies: Recently, I heard a story of a software support agent who had left client queries unresolved for months at a time. Ultimately, this issue cost the agent’s job, but it also reflected an underlying problem with the company’s organization. Create response time policies. Set an expectation with your agents, managers, and customers that customer support will be provided within a set period of time. Whether it’s 24 hours or 7 business days, create clear guidelines for when people will hear back from you, and use that as a metric to evaluate response times.

Implement a ticketing system: Are you currently using a ticketing system? If not, technology can be the best strategy for staying on top of your customer service workflow. If you’re using a ticketing system and it’s not catching any requests, consider working with settings to alert you to any unresolved tickets on a weekly or monthly basis. Technology can help ensure that any request is being quickly and efficiently dealt with.

Conduct audits and management reviews: Create a schedule that allows you to set aside time for actively managing the customer service workflow. Evaluate tickets and requests that are currently unresolved, are under review, or required escalation. If a manager’s time is limited, consider addressing this as a roadblock to delays and unresolved complaints. Ongoing audits and management reviews can keep customer service concerns moving forward.

Businesses today rely on happy customers to come back time and again, as well as to develop a strong, positive presence in the community. Take the time to ensure that no customer request for support goes unanswered or ignored. Whether you’re turning prospects into customers or inviting customers back time and again, strong customer service starts with proactive responses.