How Good Is Your Customer Service?
Additionally, regardless of the type of inquiry, best practice dictates that upon receipt of the customer’s e-mail, it’s essential to immediately send out a reply confirming that the query was received and how soon the customer should expect a full response.
Keep in mind, however, there is little room for mitigating circumstances or excuses when it comes to customers’ service expectations. “The consumer is trained to act a certain way,” explains Lauren Freedman, president of Chicago-based The E-tailing Group, an e-commerce consultancy. “They don’t care what size [marketer] you are. They have a certain set of expectations that you’re going to be judged against,” no matter whether you’re small or large, new to the Web or established.
Likewise, consumers do not differentiate between open-ended and closed-ended inquiries. Whether it’s a simple yes or no question, or a more complex query, customers still expect a quick acknowledgment of their e-mail—at the very least—and a full answer ideally within that four- to 24-hour time frame.
6. Within how many contacts should you be able to resolve a customer service issue?
Answer: a) one
“The vast majority of your service issues should be resolvable in a single contact,” says Kislik. Once again, this comes down to consumer expectations. “I don’t think the consumer is looking to carry on a conversation with you,” points out Freedman. One way to reduce the number of contacts needed to resolve an issue, as well as speed up your overall turnaround time, is to categorize the kinds of complaints or inquiries that come in. Kislik suggests creating a decision table or a branching diagram to help figure out how you’re going to resolve different types of problems, which will help you create a standardized library of responses—whether in the guise of form letters or paragraphs you can slot in. “If you know how you intend to resolve something, you [can] come up with an [effective] way to say it,” she notes. “Then answering the e-mails is really more like operations, instead of creative writing.”