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NVQ Unit C5 - Monitor and solve customer service problems - Part 3
While dealing with customer service problems, organisational procedures need to be followed in a systematic way. This will help with gaining customer loyalty and improve working relationships between everyone and all organisations involved.
This hub focuses on the organisational procedures and systems for dealing with customer service problems, our organisation's procedures and systems for identifying repeated customer service problems, how the successful resolution of customer service problems contributes to customer loyalty with the external customer and improves working relationships with service partners or internal customers and how to negotiate with and reassure customers while their problems are being solved.
This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6. For ease of navigation and to keep the hubs from being too long, this unit has been divided into three parts.
The discussion and examples are very much focussed on my job role and is also organisation and department specific. As you read through, you will get an idea of how to go about preparing this unit relating it to your job and organisation.
To have a look at the next two parts of this unit, please follow the links below.
4.1 Describe your organisational procedures and systems for dealing with customer service problems.
Customer service problems are problems that we will be mostly dealing with externally with external customers and also internally with internal customers. In either case, we need to follow the organisation’s policies and procedures and adhere to the systems while dealing with customers.
The organisation which I work for deals with clients of all ethnicity, race, age and culture and hence policies, procedures and legislations have been laid to handle / treat everyone equally.
Our organisational procedures and systems for dealing with customer service problems are:
- Complaints procedure - Customer service problems like complaints, queries, etc. have a procedure through which they have to be made. For example, customer complaints have to be in the form of written letter or filling forms that have details of what to fill in and how to fill in.
- Equality and Diversity - Everyone should be treated equally and they should not be discriminated based on any factor
- Complaints system - There are a number of days within which customer service problems need to be acknowledged and resolved and this depends on the problems and various factors associated with it. Timescales should be provided to customers regarding when the problem will be solved and the customers are kept updated of progress.
- Feedback and resolution procedure - In the complaints process, feedback needs to be taken and the customers are sometimes compensated depending on the nature and seriousness of the problem
- Work ethics and practice - Legal agreements and contracts are in place for all services offered by the organisation and booklets or printed material are provided with details of the service, costs and other information.
- Confidentiality procedure - Confidentiality and security issues are in place when exchanging, taking or giving information.
- Performance management - Performance is monitored and any deviations towards the negative side are brought into concern and investigated.
- Tracking and monitoring - Progress of issues or problems is tracked and customer is kept updated and reports are provided to management.
- Customer relationship - Relationship between employees and customers have limitations that are governed by organisation's procedures, failing which formal disciplinary actions will be taken
- Quality Assurance - Quality issues are dealt with the concerned agencies and commissions and embargos are laid for organisations where serious concerns exist
- Customer Service procedure - Employees are always expected to be polite and listen to customers complaints, empathise with them and deal with it in a very sensitive way
- Training Procedure - Employees should undergo proper training for the job that they undertake, so that they can deal with problems easily and effectively without any errors.
- Records management - Problems are monitored and tracked and the records are kept for future progress and implementation of systems where these problems can be avoided.
Knowing the Policies & Procedures for Customer Service
4.2 Describe your organisation's procedures and systems for identifying repeated customer service problems.
Dealing with customers is a very sensitive issue as it involves various factors and also has the organisation’s development and progress at stake. In order to thrive as a good organisation, efforts need to be taken so that customer service problems do not get repeated. Lessons need to be learned from past experiences and systems and policies need to be put in place to avoid future problems.
Identifying customer service problems is a very important factor, because, not all customers come in to complain or voice their thoughts and problems. They may excuse the organisation or employee once or twice, but when problems repeat, customers may just leave and look for better organisations. In order to avoid this situation, repeated customer service problems need to be identified.
Some ways in which this can be done are:
- Keeping track of customer service issues and the customers who were affected
- Keeping track of the intervals of reoccurrence of problems related to all customers, number of times the problem has occurred, grouping similar issues.
- Prepare some statistical data or graphs or charts to help with analysis
- Conduct half yearly or annual surveys with customers and ask for feedback on the services provided and the services that they have received
- Study the history of any issues or problems, and also the history of customers who have experienced problems
- Examine sales, types of services, their outcomes and customer satisfactions frequently.
- Check for communications between organisation and customers
4.3 Explain how the successful resolution of customer service problems contributes to customer loyalty with the external customer and improved working relations
A business or organisation cannot run without its customers. Customers are like the backbone of an organisation or a business. When services are provided to customers, the job does not end there. The customers need to be looked after before the service, where their needs are assessed and the correct service or product is identified. They are looked after during the service, so that everything is done in the right way on time, and to make sure that the customer is happy. They are also looked after, after the service has been put in place to check that they are happy and satisfied and that there are no problems with the service provided.
Frequent checks are done and feedback gathered to make sure that everything is fine. These are repeated till the organisation or business is responsible for the services.
In this process, we may come across various problems regarding quality, delivery and other issues and so, successful and quick resolution of these problems is very important. Customers will stay or leave depending on the way the problem is handled and resolved. The same applies when dealing with agencies, suppliers and internal customers.
For example, as I am writing this, I remember the issues dealing with the information assets team in our organisation. They have not resolved two of the queries that are more than a month old. These kinds of services will only cause frustrations and will hinder my day to day work activity and quality of service. (Evidence of emails, phone calls made were provided to the assessor to justify this statement)
Successful resolution of customer problems will lead to customer loyalty and improve the relationship between the organisation and the service partners and internal customers too. The reasons behind these are:
- You learn from the mistake and keep track of the product strengths and weaknesses and avoid the weaknesses in the future, this will improve customers’ confidence in the business
- It improves the sales and boosts the performance and name of the organisation
- The customer knows that the organisation has a customer friendly attitude and that we are proficient in the services that we provide
- Customer gets to know that we understand the customers’ expectations and values
- They know that the customers are valued and respected
- They know that we listen, and do what we say
- Customers know that we are there to support them when necessary
- Keep customers updated of new products and services, change in already existing services
- Follow up after a problem has been resolved, this will show that the organisation cares
4.4 Explain how you negotiate with and reassure customers while their problems are being solved.
Customer service issues can be quite frustrating for the customer and it also puts pressure on the organisation or the business. While customers are going through this process, it is our responsibility to reassure them that the problem will be solved and to negotiate with them possibilities about the outcomes. Ways of doing this are:
- First step is to listen to your customer, whether they are angry or calm, let them speak their heart out, let them voice their concerns. Do not get distracted, focus on your customer, be it over the phone or face to face. That itself will resolve half the problem. It will help them calm down. Tell them that you understand their concern.
- Sympathise with them if it is a serious concern; empathise with them for all the problems that have happened or they had to put up with. Speak slowly and do not be loud. You need to speak to customers in a way that makes them feel that the problem has been solved already.
- If you put the customer on hold while on the phone, or if you have to leave that place to discuss about their problem with an expert, ask them for permission before doing so, and thank them while returning back for holding or waiting. This will assure them that you value and respect the customers.
- I ask questions to clarify points, and summarise the problem, so that the customer knows that I have listened and that I am eager and willing to help.
- Tell them that you understand their problem and that you want to help them fix it, and that you will help them fix it. Reassure them that something will be done to resolve the problem. If I have something proposed in my mind, I inform the customer. Ask them if they are happy with that.
- Take notes of all the problems and everything that the customer has told you. Record those on the customer’s database for future reference (remember, if you record, anyone can deal with the customer if you are not available, so that customer does not have to wait).
- Give the customer a timescale within which the problem will be solved.
- Keep the customer updated / informed with each step or progress. This will reassure them that you are working on their problem.
- Maintain professional language.
- Be flexible and respond to all the customer queries promptly and aptly
- Maintain a balance between the needs of the customer and the procedures and policies of the organisation.
Excellent Customer Service Skills
I hope that you found the information in this hub useful. This is purely for reference purpose only. If you have any questions or wish to share your experience, please do so in the comment section below.
All the best!