Despite the great technological advances of our age, customer service is still the number one factor when it comes to running a successful business. It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is, if you do not value your customers by providing expert customer support services, they will eventually desert you.
One element of your customer service approach is the way that you respond to your customers, be that directly through your portal, through email, or on social media channels. How should you approach this task? Here are six essential tips for writing satisfying customer service responses.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer
Empathy. It is a simple word, but without it, it is very difficult to build any sort of relationship with your customer. In fact, having empathy with your user demographic shapes almost every aspect of a business, from the product or service you provide, to the way you market the brand, to the way that you respond to customers and users.
“When it comes to penning a response to a customer, the first consideration you should have is for them as an individual, not as a nameless and faceless entity who simply needs responding to. It all boils down to putting the customer first, so if you are doing this only because you feel you have to, then your approach is very likely to fail,” warns Annette Huggins, an email marketer at OXEssays.
The technology now exists to use AI and machine learning in your customer service responses, and of course this is good news because in this way businesses can automate their services and save a lot of time and money in the process.
However, on the downside, when it comes to responding to customers, most people would not feel comfortable with the fact that their issue is not being dealt with by a human, because it makes them feel that they are not important. It is therefore vital that even if you do use chatbots and the like, their responses are as human as possible.
Even if you do employ real human staff to run this activity, the wrong attitude and wording can also convince customers that they are not in fact dealing with a real person – or maybe they are dealing with a cold person who has no ‘human touch’ when it comes to these matters. We are back to empathy once more, and until machines can have the kind of empathy with problems that humans have the capacity for, you need to ensure that this human element is never forgotten.
Be polite, and apologize
Being polite is an obvious point, but you may also need to think about that in different languages there are different conventions for being polite, from the words that you sue to the tone that you taker. For example, in English, it would be common to apologize in situations that people would never apologize for in other languages (think about how in English we may apologize even if somebody bumps into us, for example). This will frame how direct your responses are too (in English, direct questions can sound a little impolite) so just be sure that whoever is crafting the responses is aware of such cultural and language issues.
As for the word ‘sorry’, it is a powerful one. Do not be afraid to sue if, even if you feel that you as a business, or an individual, have nothing to apologize for. The last thing you want is an escalation in the issue, and often this word can be enough to satisfy the customer that you are contrite and want to help.
Be careful in your wording (there are tools to help)
Avoid mistakes in your writing as far as is possible. Not only does it look unprofessional, it communicates a sense of carelessness, which is definitely not a good look for any company. Always remember that there are services that can help you and your staff to shape and tone the responses you need to make, from wording to spelling and sentence structure. Here are some examples:
- MyWritingWay and LetsGoAndLearn are useful online business writing guides which can also assist in beginning to plan your customer service responses.
- UKWritings and BigAssignments offer user-friendly editing tools (as reviewed in Revieweal), and will definitely assist in making your sentences more impactful.
- Then turn to SimpleGrad and Studydemic, which can be used to assist you in any form of email writing tasks.
- For grammar checking ViaWriting and WritingPopulist are great tools if you are concerned about making grammatical mistakes.
- Then finishing with a great proofreading service. Assignment Help and Australianreviewer are useful online proofreading tools, as mentioned in Boomessays review. Having mistakes in responses is not a good look for any business.
Don’t avoid the subject
Sometimes crafting a response means tackling the delicate issue at hand. Problems arise, everyone can accept that, but how you respond can shape your reputation and image, not just in the eyes of that particular customer, but in the eyes of everyone else too. On social media in particular, there is an audience waiting to see how you respond. It’s definitely better in such cases to take the chat out of the glare of the public eye, so politely ask to take the conversation to a different medium, but whatever you do, do not ignore it. Business should never ignore what is being said about them online, because those same businesses, with the right approach, can help shape those attitudes.
One more thing, when the subject is delicate and difficult, be specific in dealing with it. Don’t step around it, or change the subject, tackle it as well as you can, and be specific in the advice and directions you provide. General responses in such cases simply will not do, and may even convince the customer that they are not in fact talking to a human, but a chat bot, which can really get their back up.
And be fast
Do not leave the customer hanging. All that succeeds in doing is building resentment, and projecting the image that, as a business, you do not care. That is a terrible look to cultivate, and so it is imperative your customer service processes are as efficient as possible in making speedy responses to customers on whatever platform you are using.
A great tip here is to send an immediate response acknowledging the contact that you have had from the customer, but this does not then buy you a week to get back. Responding within 24 hours is usually the recommended timeframe, and if whatever reason the response requires longer, then another message must be sent beforehand to communicate this fact. Leaving customers to wait is simply not good enough, and this goes for social media channels too, so make sure you have effective practices in place to ensure nothing is slipping through the net in this regard.
Remember that running an effective business means maintaining customer loyalty as much as winning new customers. Of course, you want to scale up, but if you do not retain your existing base, you will be forever swimming against the tide, and having an effective and empathetic customer service strategy that includes well-crafted response is an integral aspect to keeping your existing customer base. Do not neglect them whatever they do, because they are the foundation upon which every successful business is built.