Websites, email and digital voicemail are changing the game in business. Some companies are taking the lead with great digital service like Computers.com and Amazon.com. Others are falling far behind and are letting their customer service quality falter as a result.
A friend of mine had a complaint about the service, or lack thereof, at a local hotel. He visited the hotel’s website and wrote to the “feedback” email address provided.
One week later he got this reply:
‘Dear Mr ____,
Sorry, but I’m not the PR manager. For an effective complaint letter, I suggest you write directly to our General Manager. He’ll take immediate action. (Personally, I agree that the service here isn’t fantastic.) Please do not mention my name in the letter. Thank you.’
Obviously the General Manager had no idea who was answering the hotel email, or how it was being answered! (He does now. I forwarded him the message, without the writer’s name.)
Email is just as important as a handwritten letter or a fax … only faster. Align your speed of response to the technology your customers are using. Handle responses efficiently and effectively and your customer service quality will rise.
Key learning point for customer service quality
Customers will communicate in whatever manner is most convenient for them. Provide high quality responses at every point of contact and make sure to reply in a timely fashion. No matter what form of communication is used, customer service quality depends on how you conduct yourself.
Action steps for customer service quality
Ensure someone qualified answers all incoming emails. Have a standby in case that person is away. If necessary, create “standard responses” for routine questions that ensure a courteous response. Impose a maximum response time of 24 hours, or sooner. Email doesn’t wait! Your customers won’t either!