The previous post discussed why it is important to set customer expectations, the next question is how we set those expectations. Please have a look at the following tips that can be easily implemented and quickly improve the customer service you offer your clients.
- Be Open and honest
As a customer service agent, you may feel at times it would be better to hide the truth or not completely tell the customer everything that you possibly should. You may even be tempted to make grandiose promises at the start and then later realise that you are unable to deliver! If you’re open and honest with your customers at the outset, they may initially be disappointed at you not meeting their expectations, but they will later trust the service you offer and they will appreciate being helped to understand the process behind their request.
- Be optimistic but realistic
Following on from the previous comment, you may think that the message you deliver to your customer needs to be negative, but this doesn’t have to be the case. You should always strive to deliver an optimistic message in setting expectations but at the same time remaining realistic. You can do this by talking the customer through the process of their request and hopefully the solution. This may include letting them know company policies, the teams current workload that could delay their request, and the potential difficulty in resolving their request. If your message is conveyed in a positive and realistic way, the customer will respect you for it.
- Set clear timelines
This is one of the most important parts of setting customer expectations. You should avoid saying things like “we will get this resolved as soon as possible”, or “I will call you back later”. Both lack providing the customer with a clear timescale. If you say that you will get back to them as soon as possible for example, they may make an assumption that means within 5 minutes when you may actually mean 10 or 15 minutes. Rather if you inform them clearly that you will get back to them in 15 minutes, and you get back to them within that time, you would have met their expectations.
- Keep the customer updated
You may be dealing with a problem that may take some time to resolve for the customer. If this is the case, the customer will definitely appreciate being updated by you on a regular basis. You may even update the customer and at the end of your conversation let them know when you will be in touch with the next update. Every step of the way you are setting their expectations and hopefully preventing them from complaining.
Setting customer expectations can go a long way to improving the service you offer your customers. It will also prevent them from making assumptions and setting their own expectations.