While it's important to have several different types of support messaging and live answering services that consumers can reach out to, it's also best to make sure each of these options is versatile enough to address a variety of problems and even find the solution somewhere else if necessary.
Sometimes, the problem might not be right in front of the customer in question—in fact, it might be out of his or her reach altogether. When a device is misplaced or stolen, your company should be able to quickly assess whether recovery or replacement is the best option and how to get that underway quickly.
Take, for example, cell phones or other communication devices. One L.A. Times story recently profiled the allegedly tortuous customer service one visitor to a California Six Flags theme park was forced to endure after her phone fell out of her pocket on one of the roller coasters. Despite persistent pursuit through multiple channels—including email—the frustrated patron, Katherine Gould, eventually gave up.
"No one ever picked up the phone," she told the Times. "No one ever called me back or returned my email."
It should go without saying that this is not a victory for Six Flags. There are plenty of technological resources a company can use to locate missing or stolen phones, and at the very least, someone should be able to comfort the victims in these situations and inform them of possible options.
But, this can be true for other companies as well, especially when they trade in valuable goods that represent a prime investment for the customer. If your company takes a person's plight seriously, he or she will most likely take your business more seriously in turn.
Here are some ideas for how your call center, online support or other answering service might handle this kind of situation:
- Get all the information possible. Sometimes customers might not know exactly when or where a loss occurred, but if they do, your service representative can take down extensive notes before transferring them to the appropriate department, rather than rushing them off quickly.
- Advise the customer on seeking out help. A CNET article by Dennis O'Reilly describes several actions consumers should take when their property goes missing, from amateur detective work to signing up with databases that might help clear the situation up. Even a relatively low-tech customer service line can read up on these kinds of options so they're prepared. This can include letting them know to go to the police in the event of a theft.
- Consult on warrantee or insurance possibilities. What kind of policies does your company offer to safeguard the consumer? These can obviously vary pretty wildly depending on circumstances, but once again, your company can get all this information up front. Taking the initiative in helping your customer to resolution communicates a level of concern that other competitors could be envious of—with good reason.
Businesses should have online customer services in place with workers that don't fear the customer base or dread the extra work it might take to make them happy. Putting a focus on this can enhance the value your brand represents.