Here's the deal- there are rules and standards that you should follow in customer service, and we are your experts that can tell you what is best to do. Below is the first in this series ("Round 1") of answering some of your questions. Share with your teams and make sure everyone is on the same page. As you know, seamless consistency is imperative to achieve customer service success.
1. Is it okay for me to use a script to guide portions of my conversation with a customer?
Absolutely! The key though is to rehearse and know the script so it's a guiding point rather than a read that you do word-for-word when speaking with the customer. They can tell when you are reading; there are tell-tale signs in how you sound, how you pause, and how you make mistakes. Practice with someone or record yourself while you are trying out the script so you can truly learn and hear how you sound. The key is to sound authentic, fluid, and natural rather than forced, mundane, and scripted.
2. Is it okay for me to call/email a prospect on a daily or every other day basis to show that I have good follow-up?
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Would this level of follow-up impress or annoy you? More than likely, if he/she isn't responding to each of your attempts, they need more time or aren't ready to communicate again. So if you are relentless with your touch points, your prospect could decide you are annoying and not want to pursue business with you. What's the right amount of follow-up? There's no right answer since each situation is unique, but you should space out the touches by at least several days, unless you have a compelling reason to contact him/her sooner. And when in doubt, just ASK the prospect what their preference is for the follow-up, but be careful because you might receive an answer you don't like.
If you have specific scenarios that you want assistance with regarding making a follow-up plan, feel free to email me for help.
3. What "customer service misses" do you most often witness or train for?
Listening and politeness. Is this surprising? They somewhat go hand-in-hand. If you don't accurately listen and retain what your customer is telling you, he/she will most likely question your authenticity/character and consider you impolite. One of the best ways to build a great, lasting relationship is through your ability to be attentive and focused while in conversation and to be genuinely friendly. When you do this, you will have more fun, and so will the customer. Win/win!
4. How quickly should I reply to a customer email?
Simply put - as fast as possible (like within a couple of hours), but don't obsess over your inbox so much that it derails and rules your day and tasks on a regular basis. The standard should be no longer than 1 business day, and if a proper reply may take longer than 1 day, shoot over a quick email to state that you "received the email, and will reply by XX" so he/she knows you received the message and has a clear expectation of when to expect a solid response.
5. Is it okay to use a "read receipt" on emails that I need to make sure is read by the recipient?
Let's be honest, NO ONE likes to get the alert that comes with one of these emails. It feels like an invasion of privacy and shows a lack of confidence in your belief that he/she will read your email. Don't turn this feature on. It could leave a negative impression.
Have more customer service questions for us? Send them my way or place in the comments below, and we will be sure to answer them in a future article. We like nothing more than to help all of you deliver the best service possible so that your business can thrive. And go ahead and download this freebie, which will give you great tips for your customer service efforts. Cheers!