Supporting Customers – Do you really know what the problem is?

October 18th, 2012 |

Let’s face it, if a customer is contacting you they are very likely coming to you with a problem.  This problem gives you the potential to find them a solution.

They want your help.  Moreover, they need your help.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have contacted you.  First thing you need to do is determine the problem.  How can you solve the problem if you don’t know what the problem truly is?

 Have you seen this scenario before?

Customer e-mail:

“Hello customer service team.  I am having an issue with my invoice.   I’ve been a customer for a long time and pay my bill each month and on-time.  I am unclear why I have a $4.00 late fee.  Again, I reiterate, I pay on-time every month.  Please clarify.”

Response from CS team:

“Hello Sir.  Please notice that late fees are applied at 2% of your overdue balance.  If you have any more questions please let us know.”

Fail, fail, FAIL.

Of course, this scenario can be applied in many different situations, but the underlying issue remains consistent.  Do you really know what the problem is?

If you’re involved with customer service, I’m sure you have had a customer come back to you a second time suggesting that you haven’t really solved or addressed their problem. If you’re a customer service leader, I know you have seen this more than once from your teams.

As a customer myself, nothing bothers me more than poor customer service.  As a manager of a software company, poor customer service is not an option.

If you’re a customer service professional you must ask yourself if you are doing everything you can to understand the problem at hand.  Put yourself in their shoes.  What are they really trying to say to you?  In the scenario above the customer is not asking why the late fee is $4.00.  They are asking why they have a late fee to begin with.

I’m in the software industry and the scenarios I see are much more complex than the one provided.  One thing always remains – you must understand the problem the customer is having.  Knowing what the customer is saying to you is fine and is really the easy part – the part you are getting paid for is actually understanding what they are really telling you, the problem they are having and you solving that problem.

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