Customer Service Frustrations 3-5

Today I’m going to cover frustrations number 3, 4, and 5. The whole thing is explained here.

Frustration 3: Agents lack the necessary answers.
This is a hard one to give a definitive solution for (like many of these problems). However, here are some ideas:

  • More training for employees. Consider mentor-based training programs, longer training periods, more intuitive training periods, etc.
  • Have a set operating procedure for agents to get answers when they don’t know them or can’t access them. This could mean asking a supervisor, asking another agent, or whatever.
  • Keep both your employees and your customers in the loop. Update employees often about things like outages so they can provide the latest updates to concerned customers.
  • Provide agents with lots of great documentation they can use and access. Allow them to search the Internet for technical answers, ensure help databases and documentation is easily searchable, and more.

Frustration 4: Agents try to sell other products and services.
I have talked about this before. Don’t pitch customers while they are on hold and don’t pitch them once you are talking to them either. See this post as well as this post. Trying to sell customers other products and services (especially when they are having problems with existing ones) is not a good idea.

Frustration 5: Agents are inflexible about solving problems.
I am not 100% sure what Forbes means by this, but I’m assuming it means that agents don’t have the power to solve a lot of problems. Very few agents will actually go “No, I don’t want to help you.” unless you have been rude to them or done something else that would aggravate anyone. This would be better worded as “Companies are inflexible about solving problems.” In most cases, all the agent can do is elevate to the problem to someone else.

Regardless, here is what companies to do to avoid this frustration all together:

  • Give agents power to resolve things. Allow them to apply credits, upgrade accounts, change subscriptions, etc. Let them do it and save the customer the problems.
  • Have operating procedures for elevated problems. Make it so that when a problem is elevated, that it isn’t A) bad for the agent’s performance record or B) that the agent is done with the issue. It isn’t rare that agents are frowned upon for having to elevate issues. Companies say that if they make it no big deal, then the agent will just elevate every issue. Not true! Make it so the agent has to remain involved and continue to work with the customer until the issue is resolved (even if it is elevated). The ideal situation is the call is elevated and the customer, the original agent, and the manager all talk in one conversation and come up with a solution right there.
  • Ask the customer what they want. It won’t kill the company to actually ask the customer what they want. You’d be surprised with what customers say. Some will want to take the farm, others won’t. Ask them what they want and if the request is reasonable, go for it.

Unrelated advice:
Be nice to the agent. Chances are, if you are nice to them, they will not only be nicer to you, but try harder to help you.