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Fix your customer's problems to deliver fantastic customer service

Updated on February 8, 2014
Solutions to Customer Service Problems for Your Business
Solutions to Customer Service Problems for Your Business | Source

Communication is key to great customer service

In the first article in this series we explored the importance of moments of truth and how you can set things up to make it easier for your customers to learn about and solve their issues.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of fixing problems quickly, keeping lines of communication open and learning from your mistakes.

This will all help to build trust in your business, establish a good relationship with your audience and encourage repeat custom.

Topics we'll cover include:

  • Fixing problems as quickly as you can
  • Keeping up with communications
  • Following up and learning from your mistakes
  • Seeing how this all fits together
  • A case study – FeedBlitz

Benefits for you include:

  • Ensuring that your fixes benefit your customers
  • Understanding the importance of effective communications
  • Building your learning into better products and services
  • Finding out the key things you can do right now to improve the customer experience with your business
  • Discovering how it all fits together
  • Reading a real life case study

Please ensure that before reading this article you've read the previous one as that will give you a great overview of why this information is important and how you can use it.

Tick all the boxes for your customers, and they'll keep coming back to your business
Tick all the boxes for your customers, and they'll keep coming back to your business | Source

Fix the problem as quickly and efficiently as you can.

Once a customer has contacted you, it’s important to reassure them, empathize with their issue and let them know that you’ll resolve it as quickly as possible.

Let them know that you’ve received the problem and that you’re working on it.

Whether this is an automated or personal response, let your customer know that you have the information you need and that you’ll have the problem resolved ASAP.

Resolve problems quickly and effectively.

This really goes without saying, but resolve the issue as quickly as you can, while still ensuring a quality fix.

Go the extra mile to fix things, do more than the customer expects.

Go ‘above and beyond’ if you need to. In a particular issue I had (described later) the support person got in contact with the application developer to ask them for a fix (it worked) – That really impressed me.

Demonstrate empathy.

Apologize for the issue and demonstrate empathy with your customer. This issue matters to them (or they wouldn’t have contacted you), so treating them with courtesy and respect will build a rapport between them and your business.

Communicating with your customers is the best way to build up and maintain trust
Communicating with your customers is the best way to build up and maintain trust | Source

Keep up with communication.

Sometimes you won’t be able to fix a problem straightaway. In these circumstances, keep your promises and make sure you maintain communications with your customer.

Keep people updated on progress.

People like to be kept informed of what is happening. Even if things are progressing slowly, there’s value in letting people know. They don’t want to feel that their issue has vanished into a ‘black hole’, so maintaining contact is always a good idea.

Meet your commitments and promises to your customers.

If you’ve promised to provide updates at a particular time, make sure that you do. Use an issue tracking system and reminders to ensure that you keep customers informed when you say that you will.

Make the responses personable.

People like to be treated as, well, people. If your responses are personable and professional, it will reassure a customer that you’re taking their issue seriously.

Follow up and learn from the problem.

Once the issue is resolved, there’s still more that you can do to help out your existing and future customers.

Follow up with your customer.

A day or two after you have resolved the issue, consider sending a friendly follow up to check that everything is working as it should and that the customer is happy. This kind of communication clearly shows that you have the customer’s best interests at heart.

Learn from the issues that people have and correct accordingly.

Once the issue is resolved and you have an understanding of what the cause of the problem was, can you correct your service, product, website or documentation to stop it happening again? Could you add something to your knowledge base, tweak something or otherwise ensure that the root cause problem is addressed?

The essential things to get right in customer service

Fixing problems
Fix it as quickly and efficiently
Update the customer on progress
Ensure a quality fix - Do what your customer needs
Be proactive - You should contact them
Exceed your customer's expectations
Keep your commitments & promises
Demonstrate empathy
Treat your customer as a person
Learn from the problem
Don't make them have to chase you

See how this all fits together

How Customer Problems Can Benefit Your Small Business
How Customer Problems Can Benefit Your Small Business | Source

Tell us about your customer service

How would you rate the existing customer service that your business provides?

See results

A case study – Feedblitz

I was prompted to write this article after a recent, positive customer experience with a business called FeedBlitz, which I will discuss below.

FeedBlitz is a service that improves the way blogs and other websites manage their subscribers via RSS (Really Simple Syndication), email and other means. It includes services like social sharing, statistics and the like and is similar to (although better than) Feedburner in many respects.

There are rumors that Feedburner (acquired by Google several years ago) may be shutting down soon. Since Feedburner is one of the main ways that bloggers serve content to their subscribers, this is a bad thing, hence my hunt for alternatives.

During my search, I came across FeedBlitz and had a good look around their site. They had:

  • Clear documentation on what the service was and how it worked
  • An extensive knowledge base
  • A support network
  • A migration guide for moving from Feedburner to FeedBlitz

It was the last point that really won me over. I signed up for a free account (all very easy to do), downloaded the migration guide and got underway.

The migration guide took me clearly, step by step, through all of the detail that I needed to setup FeedBlitz to serve my blog feeds. Reassuringly, throughout the migration guide, I was encouraged to contact the support team if I ran into any problems.

Unfortunately, I did run into a problem with the WordPress plugin (my blog runs on a WP platform). I tried following the various suggestions in the guide and searched through the comprehensive knowledge base to self-diagnose, but wasn’t able to find a solution to my problem.

That’s when I decided to write to their support team and request some help. I provided the relevant information and had a response in less than an hour from the owner of the business (now that’s service!). He suggested a couple of things to try, which I did but to no avail. After reporting back, he told me that he would pass my problem onto the developer of the plugin, find a solution for me and get back to me the next day. This was both going above and beyond what I would expect and also keeping me informed.

The next day he did come back to me with another suggestion from the developer that I tried and this time it worked. Needless to say, I was very pleased with this (pleased enough to write this article in fact) and since FeedBlitz is now running very happily on my blog have no hesitation in recommending them. If you’re a blogger, go use them now, especially if you’re currently using Feedburner!

So I, a customer with a problem, became an advocate and FeedBlitz hopefully get a little more business. That’s why this stuff works.

Secrets of great customer service from Richard Branson

I hope you’ve found this article useful.By dealing with problem customers effectively, you’ll build loyalty and trust, which ultimately will translate to your success in business. Good luck!

Do you have any insight, hints or tips on how to deliver great customer service? If so, please let us know in the comments.

If you found this article useful, interesting or informative, please do check out my other guides for small business owners here.


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