If you ignore customers, they’ll ignore you back.

If you respond to customer support tickets well past their average response time you’ll send a clear message – you ignore users issues and product queries. You can observe a similar phenomenon in retail, a customer left standing without anyone coming to assist them will simply get up and leave as they’ll figure it’s a standard practice.

You need to remember that “How can I help you?” is the most crucial sentence in terms of customer engagement.

It’s really easy to turn away potential customers.

All it takes is one bad experience with your product or a slip up from your staff, and they’ll be leaving through the nearest exit. Unfortunately, it’s the polar opposite when it comes down to winning over new clients, which makes losing potential sales due to lack of employee engagement, plainly wrong.

You need to map out your customer journey and focus each and every aspect of it on the customer, be it social media, cell phone or help desk. The rules of the game changed, providing a great product or service is simply not enough, you need to create lasting and positive experiences.

Customers can be annoyed in a multitude of ways, including but not limited to costly fumbles such as your help desk not being all that helpful, or your sales team just dropping a pre-scripted pitch while the customer is asking actual questions about the product and is expecting factual answers.

Tools of the Trade

Your employees need to possess the customer skills listed bellow and leverage them to your business’s advantage:

Empathy

Showing a lack of empathy or understanding for a customer complaint or query is the fastest way to losing them as it vividly shows them that you’re not interested and simply don’t care. Usage of negative words and phrases needs to be kept to the bare minimum as it can be perceived as a sign of disinterest on your part. And let’s not forget about the tone of your voice.

Every customer deserves your full attention and empathy and it doesn’t matter what type of customers (we know some can be a handful)were you dealing with previously

A customer’s journey starts with the very first interaction with your staff and it’s irrelevant if their query is major or minor as you should care about creating positive experiences and not triage tickets.

Product Knowledge

Customers get in touch with your brand to ask questions and receive factual, intimate answers regarding the product or service you provide. Any hesitation or uncertainty will leave them with a sour taste in their mouth. Ensure you leave a positive impression be letting your passion and knowledge shine through – you’re the expert.

Furthermore, your employees are your greatest asset and potentially can become your brand’s ambassadors; if you provide a SaaS product they have to use it, and tell their peers how great of an asset it is.

Because, what message do you send to potential buyers when or if your own employees do not believe in their own product?

Ask the right questions

Problem facing customers can often be unable to clearly articulate what their issue is. That’s where experienced support agents come in as they will instantly decipher what the customer means and will respond accordingly. Which is even truer when dealing with customer support tickets, as the sheer amount of tickets agents go through makes them accurate to common issues, thus enabling them to pinpoint the cause on the spot.

However, every once in a while you’ll come across a customer who’s overwhelmed by the number of options your product or service provides – they’ll be unsure which one is best suited to their needs.

They might not even need the most expensive one, which is why it’s key to provide them with the solution they need. They may come back, solely because you were honest – it’s that simple.

Patience is a virtue

Yes, being patient is key. We’re not going to sugarcoat it, customers can be a handfull to deal with, especially when they wind themselves up, are vague in their descriptions of their issues or plainly dismissive of your support prowess. However, please keep in mind, that despite all of the above they are the ones in need, they’re the ones contacting you with their issue and their demeanour is a non-issue.

Your goal is to provide them with a positive experience, even when facing impossible odds.

An absence of patience betrays your disinterest, take a deep breath and do the following:

  • Keep your focus
  • Stay calm
  • Maintain control

Remain Calm

On a rare occasion, a customer will adopt an aggressive tone. Yes, such customers do exist. However, think before you respond and put yourself in their position. How would you react if you weren’t able to find a product feature you paid premium for or were unable to figure out a problem for an extended period of time?

Listen carefully and most importantly, be polite. You can’t allow yourself to be provoked not antagonised. Keep it cool and remind yourself that you’re dealing with a customer on behalf of your company.

Use clear language

There’s no room for vagueness nor ambiguity, be precise and tone done the industry lingo and buzzwords to the bare minimum – especially if you feel the customer is not tech-savvy or up-to-speed on the latest trends.

Confusing customers with your responses will get your nowhere as they will walk away from the time spent with you with either an unclear message or a flat our wrong one.

If you’re unsure what the customer means, then ask them to specify or probe for an answer by asking careful questions – use common sense. Be tactful, always.

Empathetic employees, who possess deep product knowledge are capable of remaining calm and coherent in each customer facing scenario in the book, and are a big asset to your enterprise.

They are a stepping stone on your path to customer centricity by providing your customers with positive experiences which last.