What happens at your small business when somebody makes a customer service mistake? Do you reprimand the employee and then forget about it? Big mistake. Everyone on your team, not only customer service employees, can learn valuable lessons from customer service goofs.
To gain value from errors, just as with everything else in your business, you need to create a system for doing so. Here are six steps to keep in mind.
- Start by writing down problems. In the heat of the moment, you may not have time to do more than quickly deal with the issue and satisfy the customer. However, you and your managers should always record what happened so you can discuss better solutions in more detail later.
- Set up a system for collecting customer input on an ongoing basis. This can include online reviews and ratings on external websites, comments from customers on social media, emails or letters that your business receives from customers, or comment cards in your business.
- Once a month, go through the information you’ve collected about customer service mistakes and problems. Note any recurring trends. For example, maybe several customers have complained about being put on hold for long wait times when they call your business to make an appointment. Clearly, this isn’t just an isolated incident.
- Dig deeper. Do long hold times occur on certain days or at certain times? How is your business staffed at these times? Is the issue one of inadequate staff, staff unresponsiveness, or technical issues with the phone system?
- Get input. Hold a monthly meeting to discuss customer service issues with your team. Depending on the size of your business and the nature of the issues, you might want to start by going over problems with key managers first and then bringing customer service employees in for a bigger meeting to discuss challenges and solutions. Involving front-line employees will often uncover issues you didn’t know about that could be solved easily. For example, adding a self-scheduling appointment app to your website could eliminate the need for customers to wait on hold at all.
- Don’t accuse. The group meeting is not the time to put individuals on the spot. The focus should be not on who made the mistake/s, but on what everyone can learn from them and how they can be prevented in the future.