Customer Support 101: “The buck stops here.”

Let this be the first thing you train your employees on!

Truer words have not been spoken.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a techie or a marketing guy or the salesperson, when a customer tells you about a problem they are having — YOU ARE THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT!

Say that three times. Let it get etched in your brain. Let those be the words you live by.

YOUR COMPANY IS A SUM TOTAL OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU

I have come across people who would suggest the customer to reach out to the customer support team, and just like that, they have shifted the responsibility of making a customer happy to someone else. Someone who they think is responsible for that.

EMPATHIZE, NOT APOLOGIZE

I have seen, heard and read a lot of advice on how to deal with an angry/frustrated customer, and it always starts with one simple tip — “Apologize.” I am here to tell you DON’T. In my opinion that is such bullshit advice. Apologize? Do you seriously think the customer is looking for an apology? Don’t you think the customer can see a non-genuine, insincere apology a mile away? I have been on both sides of a bad experience, and trust me — there is nothing more infuriating than a fake apology.

If I was in the customer’s position, how would I have expected the business to help me out?

And no, discounts, refund, free shit isn’t the answer here. That is just putting lipstick on a pig and calling it pretty. I mean really ask yourself deep down what would have made the harrowing experience take a complete u-turn and help you leave as a delighted customer. That is exactly what you should target when you are talking to a customer.

BUT ISN’T THAT LITERALLY THE CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM’S JOB?

Yes, it is. Within your organization. And businesses need to figure out how to streamline that whole process better so that a customer doesn’t need to reach out to a random employee. But while that is happening, you are the company, and as such, today, you are the customer support.

And lo and behold, the customer’s issue is solved. What now?

Now? Now you apologize. This is the right time for the apology. Not for anything else, but for the simple fact that the customer had a bad experience with the business. An experience you would prefer no other customer has to go through.

DON’T FOLLOW BULLSHIT TIPS ON DEALING WITH CUSTOMERS

Most customer service teams follow manuals. Some sort of a BlackBook. And it all looks exactly the same:

  1. Use their names in your sentences
  2. Offer discounts
  3. Offer solutions
  4. Ask them for solutions

I am sorry you had a bad experience with our services, Mark.

Let me quickly check on it, Mark.

Mark, as I can see in our system, the order was placed on 12-Aug at 6:20pm

I swear to God, if I hear Mark one more time, I am gonna strangle someone to death.

Just be human, don’t be a machine.

Don’t follow guidelines on how to talk to your consumers. The best way to talk to your consumers is how you would have talked to a friend who is going through a bad experience.

EXTRA TIPS

Don’t ask your customers to reach out to you in your responses.

Have you ever come across a bad review on App store, and the developer’s response “please mail us on xyz@abc.com”. Don’t. Don’t do that. Try to help out as much as possible then and there.

Don’t let your customers stew.

Some resolutions may be swift, some resolutions may take time. That is understandable. What isn’t is you making the customer wait for days and weeks without an update. Keep your customer informed at every step of the way. Make him feel that resolving his/her issue is of importance to the business and you guys are working on it, and will continue working on it till you come up with a solution.

Be honest, be transparent.

Don’t bullshit the customer. Even if the issue can’t be resolved because of whatsoever reason, tell them so, offer your apologies for the bad experience and see how you can best salvage the situation.

Don’t leave even a single bad experience unaddressed

It doesn’t matter if you have delighted thousands of customers, one disgruntled customer will end up influencing dozens more. So it is of utmost importance that you address each and every bad experience. Resolve it if you can, address it adequately if you can’t. Don’t just let it stick out like a sore thumb.

WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?

Because businesses are in the business of making money. And you make money because your customers are transacting with you. And they are transacting with you because they trust you as a business. You lose that trust, and the whole charade crumbles down faster than a house of cards.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow…hopefully!

Helping businesses grow 10x faster, and scale efficiently. Top Writer — Quora, Medium. Drop in a line if you’d like help with yours. mail@abyshake.com

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