When running a customer service department, one of the most important things you should do is empower your team members to make decisions, even if they are hard ones. Should the client be refunded? Should they get a discount? Should we exchange the product for a new one? These are all hard questions that at most companies require an answer from a manager.
When your customer service rep has to talk to a manager about these questions, the client’s trust in the dialog with your company takes a big hit. Why are you, as the manager, better informed than your employee to make these decisions? You have not been talking to the client, and you don't know all the details of the situation. More importantly, this policy can make your employee feel as though you don't trust him or her to make the decision. This leads to a bad customer service experience and an unhappy employee.
You should give your employees a full toolbox with which they can resolve disputes, participate in the decision-making process, and do their jobs.
If your employee needs to give a refund, he or she should be able to do so with just a few clicks while the client is on the phone. Make sure that your back office handles the case and that your accounting is automated so your internal processes don’t break. This will make the employee’s workflow much faster and the customer’s service experience much better, thus avoiding a bad situation and creating a positive one.
Your employees can face hundreds of situations like this. It’s hard to plan for all of them, so begin with those that lead to the worst customer experiences. If you have a hard time identifying them, look at some of the following scenarios:
- Refunds: These can be hard to handle correctly. Clients are already angry/stressed; otherwise, they wouldn’t want a refund.
- Lost shipments: How can you send new products ASAP and satisfy the customer?
- Packaging errors: When something is missing in the shipment, what should you do?
- Discounts: Offering discounts can increase return business and foster customer loyalty.
Make sure your employees’ ability to provide customers with positive experiences is not hindered by the inclusion of an unnecessary management layer and a lack of useful tools.