Problem-solving is a very important ingredient of high-quality customer service. As long as you have a product, people will come to you and tell you they have problems with it. And by solving their problem, you are essentially increasing customer satisfaction.
As a specialist, you may rush to offer your solutions, though this is where the situation gets tricky. Giving your client a solution straight in the face and not even taking the time to listen to the problem is risky and definitely not what the customer came for.
Suggested read: How to create a great customer experience
To increase customer satisfaction and quickly solve your customer’s problems, you have to obtain some specific skills, personal qualities, and techniques. Here are 6 best tricks for solving your customer’s problems quickly, and improving the overall customer satisfaction:
6 tips to improve customer satisfaction
Listen to the customer
The number one complaint most customers have is that they aren’t listened to. Sometimes customers really talk a lot and try to describe the issue as accurately as possible. Taking the time to listen is the key to solving the problem. Customer support agents often tempt to interrupt the speaker, as they have developed enough experience with the product. Though, such behavior is the right way to make the customer feel mistreated.
As you listen, the client feels more confident about describing the problem. Listening breaks down the barriers and creates a trusting atmosphere. Give the speaker signs of attention by saying phrases like “Alright”, “I see”, “Go on”.
When the customer is done describing the issue, you have to summarize everything they said with your own words to find out if you understand things the same way your customer does. In case you misunderstood the customer, let them explain the point again. You can never listen too much.
Good advice at this stage is not to be afraid of silence, give yourself or your customers enough time to think about the issue over.
Look at things from the customer’s perspective
Empathy is the key quality for those who work with people. To solve someone’s problem, you need to get into their shoes. The most challenging part on the path of being a good listener and empathetic problem-solver is getting aside from your own views and beliefs.
Once again, you might be a complete professional when it comes to the product you’re selling and know all the answers, but take the time to see problems the way your customers do.
A useful tool for understanding a customer is picturing yourself in their place. You are here to solve the problems and provide a high-quality experience for customers, so your main agenda should be understanding the problem clearly and avoiding conflict by any means and of course, solving the problem.
Set aside the professional knowledge you have and become an observer instead. You have to make an effort and see the situation from a completely different angle. This will allow you to approach the situation from a brand new perspective and find better solutions that will satisfy both parties.
The customer also may have a problem that seems impossible to solve. Here is where the customer support agent has to switch to positive thinking. Probably, the client has a terrible situation and you are the one who has to make everything work.
In such situations, return to the first step and become an active listener. As long as you see things from their perspective, there is time to find a good solution and get a deeper understanding of the problem.
Define the problem
Listening to the customers and looking at things from their point of view are powerful tools. However, their effectiveness can nullify if the problem is not defined well. Clarification is necessary to understand where exactly the issue is.
To define the root of the problem, ask questions to your customer. If the problem is technical, you have to ask if the customer tried to solve it himself. This step will ensure that the solutions you are about to suggest are accurate and help both you and the customer save time.
Customers don’t know the right technical definitions support agents use and explanation might take a while for them. The only thing your customer knows is that he is deeply unsatisfied and wants to fix the current situation.
As a customer support person, you are supposed to clarify the exact time when the problem occurred, ask the customer if he had experienced it before and reconnect with your past experience to understand if you have solved anything like this earlier.
In case you are not familiar with that type of issues, confidently answer that you need to contact your colleagues and ask the customers to hold on a little. Don’t worry about taking the time, customers will be glad to get an accurate solution even if it may take a bit longer. Though, don’t make the customer wait too much and apologize afterward.
Come up with a solution
In order to come up with an accurate solution, ask yourself
– who else has to be involved in the process?
– can you reproduce the problem?
– what does the timeline of resolving the problem looks like?
– how are you supposed to inform the customer about the solution?
Sometimes it happens that your company is unable to give or sell the right way to solve an issue. What can be done then? The answer may be surprising, but you can redirect the customer to someone who can solve this problem. For example, you can advise your customers about workaround/other software that can help with the problem.
Convey to solution very clearly, even if it takes a minute or two longer to write or explain the solution. This is to avoid wasting time in re-explanation or wrong implementation of the solution.
Implement the solution and do an evaluation
Once you have clearly understood the problem and are ready with a solution, get in action quickly. That is the moment you have to make rapidity your priority and deliver the solution straight to the customer. Customer service agents are usually busy solving customers’ issues and evaluating the quality of work seems like a crazy amount of extra work.
Though, evaluation is crucial to know how effective your work is and spot your weaknesses to improve and grow. Make sure that you confirm with your customers that the solution you gave is working. You can set up an automatic evaluation messages/emails your clients will get after their problem is solved or send a link to a survey via email or live chat.
Make sure the same problem does not occur again
Solving a customer query quickly is great. But how do you make sure that the same problem does not occur again? This is often overlooked but yet a very underrated aspect of customer support.
First and foremost thing to do is to identify if this is a recurring problem. If you can give a solution in the product itself, well and good. If not, then you can add an article in your knowledge base to highlight the problem and its solution.
Most of the time a customer will see your documentation or knowledge-base before reaching out to the support team. Making customer support proactive is the latest technique to improve customer satisfaction. This way you can save plenty of time, both for you and your customers.
Problem-solving is like a muscle you can regularly train to facilitate better customer satisfaction. Become an active, empathetic and goal-oriented listener and remember that problem-solving is rather a mindset than a defined list of actions you need to take.
Remember that customers come to you to find the right way to manage their problems and they will be satisfied even if the solution might take a couple of extra steps. There is no problem that is impossible to solve.
This is a guest post by Cheryl Hearts.
Author’s Bio: Cheryl Hearts is a talented journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. From an early age, she was into writing so she decided to make it her career. Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Journalism has boosted her desire to grow as a journalist and currently she contributors to major media publications. Cheryl also runs her blog CherylHearts.com where she shares her opinion on topics trending in modern society.
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