How effectively an organisation deals with customer queries, requests and complaints can play a huge role in the success of a business. Indeed, a recent study by Khoros revealed that 86% of people believe good customer service has the power to turn one-time clients into long-term brand champions. This means it helps to optimise your customer service team and ensure your entire business knows how to properly deal with queries and requests from customers.
Whether your business makes use of smart customer service software or logs customer interactions manually, understanding the difference between customer queries and requests, as well as how to deal with this aspect of customer service, is essential. In this blog post, Intelastel takes a deep dive into the world of customer services to answer all of your questions and more.
Aside from dealing with specific complaints, the primary job of a business’ customer services team is to listen to, record and ultimately solve customer queries and requests. While there is a certain degree of overlap when it comes to customer queries and requests, these two interactions do have a number of important differences.
A customer query is specifically a question received from a customer, or on their behalf, that relates to a product or service your business provides. Companies will typically equip customer service agents (or automated systems/chatbots) with the answers to a repository of frequently asked questions (FAQs), to ensure customers receive a quick and helpful answer to their query. This repository of FAQs can also help businesses properly analyse the reasons why a certain question is asked so often, ultimately helping to provide a permanent solution.
On the other hand, a customer request is a statement made by a customer who would like to see action taken to have their want/need carried out. This could include a customer contacting your business to request their surname be changed on your records if they have just got married, for example, or, if your business provides a tier-based service, a customer requesting that their account be upgraded or downgraded accordingly. Unlike queries, customer requests tend to have actionable consequences. Naturally, what starts as a customer query may develop into a customer request as an interaction between a customer and your business evolves.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. For this reason, instead of viewing customer service interactions – be that a customer query, request, or even a complaint – as a hindrance, they should be seen as an opportunity to create a happy and loyal customer that will want to return to do business with you in the future. With this in mind, here are our top tips for dealing with customer queries and requests.
Nothing frustrates a customer more than feeling as though they are not being listened to or understood when they come to you with a query or request. If a customer has a question or problem relating to a product or service you provide, they want to be heard and not just palmed off.
For this reason, customer service agents should be trained in active listening techniques. This can ensure agents do not make the customer feel dismissed or as if their query/request is trivial. Detailed notes should also be left on a customer service system so that future agents can easily get up to speed on the query/request if the customer gets in touch again in the future.
2. Acknowledge the query
After you have listened to your customer’s query/request, you should acknowledge the issue by repeating it back to them. This not only helps to ensure you have got the right end of the stick, it also allows you to reassure the customer you are on the same page and are working with them to answer their queries and action their requests.
3. Ask questions
While this stage may not be needed for simple or frequently asked questions/requests, for more complex queries, it can be a good idea to ask the customer a series of questions relating to their query/request to ensure you fully understand what they are asking and so you can provide a helpful and satisfying response. Once again, answers to your questions should be detailed on a customer service system for future reference.
4. Provide an answer
Once you have listened to your customer’s query and grasped exactly what they are asking, it’s time to provide an answer or solution. On many occasions – especially if the customer’s query/request is one that is frequently asked – a suitable answer/action may be able to be provided then and there. However, in other situations, you may need time or additional resources to find the helpful and satisfying answer/response the customer is looking for. When this is the case, it is important to reassure the customer that you will get back in touch with them with an answer or confirmation of an action taken.
5. Follow up
If a customer query/request resulted in you providing an answer which involved actionable information, it can be a good idea to get in touch with the customer later down the line – be that the next day, week or month – to see how they go on and if your answer helped to resolve their issue. Reminders should be put in your customer service software to ensure this is carried out where needed.
6. Document the query/request
Once the interaction is over, the entire exchange should be documented on a customer service system. This will ensure there is always a record of the interaction that can be revisited in the future. Additionally, collecting this data can also help to improve your product or service going forward, allowing you to address issues or problems before the customer feels the need to get in touch with a specific query or request.
Intelastel helps businesses to answer customer queries and deal with requests efficiently with our smart customer service software. Providing automated enquiry recording services and intelligent logging and tracking systems designed to make customer interactions easy, our solutions streamline operations and save costs, improving customer experience in the process.
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