Little Things Part 5: Keep customers in the loop.

As a customer of other companies, chances are you have doubted at least once that you were still connected and have had to ask the representative “Hello? What are you doing?” Addressing that problem is part 1 of this post, part 2 is communicating with customers outside of a one-on-one support experience.

Part 1: One-on-One Situations

The general rule of thumb with communicating clients is to let them know what’s wrong and what you’re doing to fix it. Support and service representatives should keep the customer in the loop every step of the way including:

  • Looking up client records
  • Recording the problem and assigning a ticket/reference ID
  • Troubleshooting
  • Etc.

If a representative keeps customers in the loop, they won’t have to ask “Are you there?” or “What are you doing?” Saying things like “OK. Just a second – I’ll look up your account now.” help customers know what you are doing and that you are working actively on their problem. If a customer is upset or frustrated, it can make a big difference. Representatives should also try and explain the problem to the customer and what some possible solutions are.

Part 2: Outside of a One-on-One Situation

If your service is down, the first thing a customer should see when visiting your web site is “Service Down? Click here for more information.” with the following information:

  • What happened.
  • What caused it.
  • What’s being done about it.
  • When it will be back up and running.
  • What’s being done to prevent the problem from happening in the future.
  • What, if any, compensation the client will get.
  • Who to ask if you have any more questions.

If you can cover these points, clients should be pretty happy. The key is to have the link be very prominent on the home page or support section and to apologize profusely. Don’t hesitate to offer compensation – customers will definitely appreciate it. Potential customers will respect the fact that you are straight forward about a bad situation, but don’t expect having service outages to increase sales.

Customers like to know what’s going on so let them know and you’ll see your customers will be much happier.