“Life is like a box of chocolates,” said Forrest Gump. Little did he know that he was describing customer service as much as life. In customer service, one size does not fit all; you never know what sort of customer you’re going to meet. Anticipating the types of customers you’re bound to encounter can help you create action plans, tailor-made for every situation.
So, here are some of the customers you’re likely to encounter in customer service:
There are people who lose their temper at the drop of a pin, like Hot-Headed Holly. From their heated emails to raised voices, it isn’t that difficult to identify them. Lend a patient ear, look up solutions and their past interactions and equip yourself with the best solutions to give them. Additionally, offer them an enticing discount and you’ll notice that the angry customer has transformed into an angel who provides positive feedback.
When you feel that you’re having a good day, some customers make you think otherwise. Demanding Danny happens to be one of them. He takes the saying ‘Customer is King’ way too seriously. He demands replacements and refunds even for minor issues, and tries to use coupons that expired three months ago. He snarkily talks about how lucky your company is to have a customer like him. Don’t blow your top over him. Listen to him, assure him that his issue will be resolved, and firmly point out that he can’t make unreasonable demands.
Doubting David is so inquisitive that he reminds you of that dreaded professor who just loves to ask questions. What?, Why?, How?, and When? happen to be his favorite words. It might be tiring to interact with him (especially on Monday mornings). But when you hear one of his favourite words, take stock of all the solutions in hand and use them effectively. The truth is, you just can’t ignore his questions because he’s the unlikely source of some really good help articles.
Slightly different from Doubting David, Ever-Worried Emily agonizes whether the solution that you suggest will work. In spite of your assurances, she is so insecure that she’ll bombard you with calls and questions on all the available channels. As a result, different teams might be sending her the same answer, which can waste time and cause confusion. You need not lose your mind over handling such customers. After convincing her that the issue will be resolved, merge all her redundant tickets into one, and get solving.
Remember how you had narrowly missed your bonus just because one customer decided to send in his feedback three months too late? That’s Tardy Tom. He takes his own time responding to emails and often leaves Live Chat agents hanging mid-conversation. Send him gentle reminders when you find him unresponsive. Especially since he raised the ticket in the first place!
Here’s a customer who knows more than agents. Or even some managers. He painstakingly finds out the solution for an issue that’s been boggling both your team and customers and shares it through forums. When such a customer tells you they have an idea, don’t dismiss it. Share it with your team. Perhaps, this idea could be the next big thing for your product.
This customer makes you feel too good about yourself. When you ask for a minor detail like purchase date, he gives you his family history. You ask him for a model number, and find yourself buried in his description of past purchases. His feedback is so flattering that you start doubting whether you indeed provide such exemplary service. He’s more enthusiastic about customer service than you are. However, if you’re tackling escalations when he’s around, better assign his ticket to an agent who’s got lesser tickets in the kitty. This is bound to be one long conversation.
Customers like Polite Pam are the ray of sunshine after a dark night, the food in the refrigerator when you’re starving, and the warm bed that welcomes your tired self. In short, they are an agent’s dream. They politely point out their issues, wait patiently as you look up solutions and always provide positive (and constructive) feedback. What can you do for them? Ensure that their issues are resolved immediately, all the while providing a personal touch. If the product is beyond repair, offer them a replacement and adequate discounts. After all, today’s satisfied customers are tomorrow’s loyal customers.
Interacting with customers can be exhausting and requires patience (and a relatively thick skin). You might even lose faith in humanity after a series of trying interactions. However, the key to providing great customer service consistently is to understand customer behavior, and to act accordingly. So, buck up, collate your strategies and put your best foot forward in providing amazing customer service.