Let’s face it — you can’t please everyone all the time.
It’s important that your employees understand the difference between helping out a happy customer and spinning their wheels with an angry one. That’s why we asked 10 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) how best to focus your team’s efforts in the right direction when it comes to customer service.
1. Just make sure they’re heard
I read an unbelievable quote by restaurateur, Danny Meyer: “The customer is certainly not always right. But they must always feel heard.” Get to the point where the customer’s issues have been heard, and then move forward. If they are doomed to be unhappy, consider if you want that kind of energy around.
2. Differentiate between good and bad anxiety
In client services, there are two types of anxiety you must learn to differentiate — good and bad. Clients that are never happy no matter how much effort you put in induce bad anxiety. Clients that you can’t wait to show projects to or you want to go the extra mile for create good anxiety. Identifying the type of anxiety and balancing energy input is the key to good work and a happy staff!
3. Make a “most valuable customer” list
Your team is likely not intimately familiar with every single customer that they communicate with. While of course outwardly “every customer is important” is a great philosophy, it’s just not realistic. A client is as valuable as their billings and their referral power. Create an internal list of the top clients in order of importance, and stress that they always get priority.
4. Be proactive with happy customers
The importance of dealing with unhappy and angry customers can’t be overstated. However, these customers tend to come at your team. When your team is reactive and dealing with inbound customer interactions, it’s very likely that they’re not spending enough time with your happy customers. Create time and goals for customer outreach to emphasize proactive communication with your happiest customers.
5. Make a blacklist and whitelist
List the angry customers in your blacklist and the happy customers in your whitelist. Have you or your employees log the amount of time you spend on each interaction and what each interaction is about. Then, tally up the total time spent on each list and make it a point to spend more time with interactions on the whitelist versus the blacklist.
6. Keep track of conversations
If an angry customer has already been on a call with a sales rep and seems very unreasonable and time-consuming, then make sure to tag the customer in your CRM. This way, all customer service, and salespeople know that this is a tough customer. They will know not to prioritize that person over other customers and have records to work from and reference.
7. Help those who suffer most from the problem you are solving
Surprisingly, it is often easier to turn your angry customers into advocates than your happy ones. If someone spent the time and effort to contact you and complain, it usually means they want your product to solve a problem that’s really important to them. Find a way to resolve their complaints and you can often transition them from your worst complainers to your biggest advocates.
8. Build proactive client relationships
The difference is between customer service (being reactive) and client relations (being proactive). Don’t wait for a customer to call angry. Instead, focus your resources on building client relationships where you proactively set daily or weekly touchpoints with your clients. Being proactive will eliminate angry clients and will allow your entire staff to focus on building happy relationships.
9. Create standard operating procedures
Don’t leave it up to employees to figure out how to handle angry customers. Make handling customer challenges a no-brainer by creating a list of SOPs — or standard operating procedures. If something new comes up, document the issue, and create the desired response. With SOPs in place, it’s easy to empower employees to make low-risk decisions without having to ask a manager.
10. Address the problem areas
People get angry for many reasons but don’t let these episodes drain your energy. Look at the main reasons they are upset, and see what you can do to solve those issues.
If these are clients, are they your best clients, or are they the clients who regularly make irrational demands? If it’s the latter, let them go. Or build out an FAQ page that can answer some of the more standard questions they throw your way. Your most valuable clients deserve your most valuable asset: time.
Email can be your best customer service tool
Finding the right method to communicate with customers is difficult. Phone calls can be time-consuming. Direct messages, while quick, can be too unprofessional or separated from your core services. This is why a tried and true communication channel, such as email can be your best customer service tool.
The only issue is that it can be incredibly difficult to prioritize and efficiently manage your inbox, especially between team members. Which is where a shared inbox tool like Outpost comes into play.
Outpost can help your team collaborate and save time so you can take better care of your customers. With coordinated templates, tags, collision alerts, and internal notes, you can accurately and efficiently surprise and delight your customers through coordinated email.