As customers, we often put our expectations in the hands of the customer service team. That being said, there is so much one can do to take charge of their own experience as a customer. The company, the product, and the team are only part of the equation, and not the only deciding factors on how smoothly your experience will go. So how do you, the customer, take charge of your own experience? I’m so glad you asked…
1. Know your needs- Before taking the leap, make sure you know what you need! Sounds simple enough, but knowing exactly what your needs are will prevent you from getting side-tracked or even roped into spending more than you need to. It’s surprising how many prospective customers haven’t given much thought to what specifically they need. Lack of clarity makes it very difficult for a company to meet their needs and more importantly, such lack of clarity also makes it difficult for the customer to get what they need.
2. Do your research- It’s best to take the lay of the land before making a purchase. There are so many tools at the disposal of consumers, so use them to your advantage. Even using tools like social media to find company and product reviews can be a big help. Also, if a company offers FAQs or other helpful materials, check it out!
3. Get to know who you’re working with- Make a connection with the person or team helping you. If you make an effort to learn names and other details, you are more likely to stick out in their minds, and they are even more likely to go that extra mile for you. Surprisingly, even though most people think that speed of the response is the most important factor in a customer’s interaction with a support team, it turns out that empathy is more important. If you make a strong connection, you’ll usually find a level of empathetic support that will make you smile.
4. Come prepared- Show up with any material, documents, team members, or anything else you might need. It will make you look better, and make the process go significantly smoother for everyone involved. This also goes for things like asking questions. Be sure to have screen shots, links, and anything else folks might need to help you out.
5. Read the fine print- Someone got paid good money to write all of those tiny words, and you might sign off on them without reading what they mean for you. You wouldn’t want to sign off on handing over your first born for a candy bar (or maybe you would – your call), or something unusual and unfair of the sort, so read everything!
6. Take the advice given- Keep in mind that the customer service team wants to help (really, I swear they do), and they work with the product daily. Don’t be shy about taking advice. If you decide not to take the advice, it’s your call, but don’t hold it against the folks who tried to help.
7. Keep your attitude in check- It’s not always easy to stay calm and play nice when we’re frustrated, but remember you’re dealing with real people. Often in customer service, you aren’t dealing directly with the people who make the rules, so keep that in mind before blowing up at the person on the other end. Also, if you let them finish speaking and just give them a chance, they will help. Take a deep breath, it will all be okay.
8. Hold your horses- Think before you ask. Is the issue that you’re experiencing actually the end of the world, or is it something small that you can probably sort out on your own? Reach out of you need to, but remember that customer service teams have full plates and often need to prioritize. You wanting to change your profile picture will likely come after someone who lost all of their data.
9. Be available- If you ask for help, make sure you’re available to receive it. We can only assist you if we can find you, so make yourself available. If you say we can reach you at a certain time and we make multiple attempts to reach you at that time, there isn’t a whole lot we can do to help.
10. Be open to having a good experience- Sometimes we expect that having to reach out to a customer service department will result in a negative experience. The best thing you can do is tell yourself the problem will get resolved and you’ll get to interact with a nice person who is hoping to help you out. Not all customer service experiences are or have to be bad, so be open to the idea that it can be great, and it will make a world of difference. To toot our own horn a little bit – our customer support team has a 99% customer satisfaction rating over the past 2+ months. We work hard to make customers love our service, but we’re also really fortunate to have so many great customers.
What are some of the ways you try to be a pro-active customer or consumer?
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