5 Tips for Managing Customer Expectations
Quality customer service means answering questions promptly and accurately, but it also can benefit from some up-front work in managing customer expectations. With the multitude of channels available for customers to reach out for help — email, phone, social media to name a few — it can be daunting to consider how to cover them all and still be prompt and accurate. A big step towards maintaining your sanity in customer service is helping customers understand what they can expect from you before, during and after they contact you.
Here are five simple steps companies can put in place to properly manage customer expectations, which sets up the brand for the best chances for positive customer experiences:
1. Update your email signature line. Use language such as "I generally respond to emails within 24 hours, if this is urgent, contact XYZ." This helps the customer decide if they can wait for an email (without irritation) or if they want to move along to someone else. Another idea is for support staff to include links to a FAQ or knowledge base in their signature lines. This tactic enables customers to perform some self-service.
2. Find a social customer service solution. Find a way to effectively and quickly respond to customers that contact you through all of your social platforms. Some advanced solutions, such as Freshdesk, can aggregate requests from multiple channels such as Twitter, Facebook and other sites. They can then establish these inquiries as customer service tickets under a unified dashboard that also includes requests coming from more traditional channels. Set the expectation for customers that social questions or comments will be met with thoughtful responses, instead of establishing social sites as just a repository for one-way communication.
3. Keep them informed. If a customer service representative is working with a customer on an issue, be up front about the time required for resolution. Let them know you're working on it and expect resolution within a certain timeframe (one that's achievable). While customers don't like delays, they usually appreciate an honest update that explains the company's reasoning for needing more time.
Related story: Tips for Developing Your Brand's Social Media Strategy