Yesterday I spent well over an hour trying to get customer support from Rosetta Stone for my son’s Spanish course. It was one of the worst examples of service I have experienced. I felt as if they were telling me it was a privilege that I was allowed me to be their customer. At one time their agent told me they do support just like Apple, at which time I blurted out in laughter. I have done support with Apple, and Rosetta Stone is no Apple.
Why do so many companies have pitiful support? And, what does good support look like?
We all have customers and clients we support on a daily basis. We may not call it “support” or have a toll free number, but we are called on daily to help those who pay us.
What makes those who give good support actually, well, good.
Customer Service Best Practices
- Listen to the problem. When someone asks for help, get to their issue as soon as possible This may seem obvious, but with Rosetta Stone I spent 5 minutes giving them information before they would even ask why I was calling. Instead they should have asked about the problem first, then gotten what they needed from me.
- Listen for the frustration and stay calm. The emotional side is more critical than the actual issue. Your customer might have been driven to the point of anger or frustration. Listen for this and address it head on. I once had an issue with a contractor at my home. He would not listen. I got on the phone with his boss, the owner, and started to tell him how I felt. He listened and then calmly said “You are talking to me now, not him.” His words quickly diffused the situation by letting me know he was in fact listening.
- The buck stops here. When I call support, I expect them to deal with it, not make excuses. The customer could not care less about your company policies, your supplier issues, or other things that are beyond your control. When they call you, you are their lifeline. The customer expects you to deal with it or tell them the product will not do what they expect. Either way, an honest answer is best.
- Empower your people. Often these excuses come up when support people have no power to really serve the customer or are just plain incompetent. Rosetta Stone seemed to be guilty of both. More than 3 people told me that they had no power to fix my software license problem. All they could do was sell me an upgrade.
- Do not try to up-sell on support. To carry on the last point, do not try to up-sell a customer who is calling for support. I totally get and believe in up-selling the customer to the next level of service. But, while they have a current problem with your service is not the time to do that. Charter Communications has been guilty of this often. While on hold to get my service working, they try to sell me more service. I just want what I am paying for to start working again!
- Make sure you resolved the problem. Before you end the conversation, make sure you have resolved the original issue and the emotions. You may not be able to solve the problem, but at this point your customer should know what options they have and what you can do for them. Of course, it is best if you have fixed their problem beyond their expectations!
Do what you say
Service is simple. Do what you say. Treat your customer like you would like to be treated. It is really that simple. And, with so many examples of poor service, you and I can excel.
Question: What examples of customer service stand out in your mind? You can leave a comment by clicking here.