Be on Target: How to Provide Accurate Customer Service

Blog Post 8 Archery Target

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I read a book a few months ago and found it provided lots of helpful advice. It also generated a lot of thoughts. As I typically do when I have questions, I e-mailed the author. I fully expected a cheery response when he wrote back. What did I get? An e-mail from someone who was an administrative assistant. The e-mail didn’t answer my questions at all. Instead, it advertised certain products the author offered for sale. I walked away disappointed and a bit frustrated. Essentially, I’d asked for a banana and gotten an orange.

That experience made me think. Our lives are hectic. People have questions. They want answers. Accurate answers. And quickly. How do we in the workforce provide accurate customer service? Here’s five ways I think we can do so.

  1. Listen. A huge frustration occurs when a person does not listen when someone asks them a question. Most of the time, this results from multi-tasking. When someone calls with a question, set aside your other work and listen to them. They may go on for a few minutes, so ask clarifying questions when need be. That allows you to determine what information you need to get to them. If responding to an e-mail, do the same thing and respond with clarifying questions if necessary.
  2. Give them what they need. Am I saying give them what they want? No. Give them what they need, which is an answer. They may not like the answer, but respond to them. I know it can be difficult. Sometimes, voicemails get lost. E-mails get lost in the clutter of the Inbox. Keeping these two areas of your workplace uncluttered goes a long ways toward actually responding to questions.
  3. Validate accuracy before responding. A client calls with a specific question. You know you have to respond. When you do, provide accurate information. If you can’t get them what they need, let them know you’re working on it. Most clients appreciate accuracy more than promptness. However, don’t linger too long.
  4. Respond promptly. At my day job, staff must respond to clients within twenty-four hours. I encourage you to make one business day your own standard. If a situation arises where you need more time, simply let your client know that. See #3 above regarding accuracy over promptness.
  5. ’Fess up. Face it. We live in a hectic world. We’re overburdened. We multi-task. Things slip through the cracks sometimes, and we make mistakes. That’s okay. It happens. The key is to own up to it. If you e-mail someone with a pat response that you know doesn’t address their needs, apologize. The same goes if you forget to respond. They may be upset, but hopefully they’ll appreciate your honesty. Then avoid making the same mistake with them again.

In our fast-paced, imperfect world, it’s easy to brush off customer service as less important than it is. Face it. Accurate customer service is crucial. It’s what keeps people coming back. It’s what can help a business grow.

Question: What are some methods you use to maintain accurate customer service?

This post does not mention any products. Therefore, I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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