October 31, 2012
When customers contact your organization, they deserve to receive exceptional service without having to navigate through an obstacle course. Obstacles may include a complicated phone system, the inability to talk to a “live” person, long “hold” times, or being transferred to other departments where they are asked to repeat their request multiple times. Seamless service requires every employee throughout the organization to operate as part of a team in order to meet the needs of the customer. It’s a way of streamlining service requests without the customers feeling the pain. When this occurs, customers feel more in control of their own destiny. As a result, your customers feel certain that they are valued. You receive a phone call from a customer who has a service request. You quickly realize that you are not the person who is equipped to help this particular customer. In a warm, friendly voice you say to the customer:1. “I’m sorry, we don’t handle that in this department, I’ll transfer you to our purchasing department. Please hold while I transfer your call.”2. “The employees in our purchasing department would best be able to handle your request. May I put you on hold while I contact someone in that department to explain your situation?” If you selected #2, you are correct. One goal of seamless service is to do everything you can to prevent your customers from having to tell their story over and over. Every time your customers need to repeat their requests, loyalty goes down.You need to transfer a call to another department and you want to communicate in a way that will be least offensive to your customer. You say to your customer:1. “The employees in our customer service department will be best able to help you with your request. May I transfer your call to that department?”2. “Just a moment while I’ll transfer you to the customer service department.” If you selected #1, you are correct.It is always better to “ask” your customers for permission rather than “telling” them you are going to transfer their calls. Hot tip! If you ask your customer, “May I transfer your call?”…you need to wait for their answer before proceeding!You know that after you transfer your customer’s call, he or she will be placed into another queue and will need to wait several minutes before an employee will be able to answer. You say to your customer:1. “You may be on hold again once I transfer your call.” 2. “Due to the high volume of calls coming into that area today, you can expect to be on hold for up to five minutes after I transfer your call. Is this acceptable or would you prefer that I have someone from that department call you back?” If you selected #2, you are correct.When a customer is going to be inconvenienced in any way, it is important to explain the reason: “Due to the high volume of calls..” Also, recognize that time is your customer’s most precious commodity. Most customers do not mind being placed on hold when they know how long they are expected to wait. But if you really want to build loyalty, help them to control their destiny by offering the option of not waiting and receiving a return phone call instead.Seamless service may sound like it takes more time and effort than satisfactory service, but in the long run it actually saves time for both you and your customer. Everyone who works in your organization is part of the same team. When your customers perceive that service is a team approach, where every employee takes complete ownership of his or her role in the customer service chain, loyalty is sure to follow. Take this quick quiz to see how well you understand the difference between adequate service and seamless service. Select the response that best demonstrates seamless service in each of these scenarios.