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Ask the Right Questions

How about this for a customer service goal: We don’t want the customer to come back! Have you ever had an experience where the company makes you feel like they don’t want you to come back?  It may have been bad service or an employee’s lousy attitude that made you feel that way.  That’s probably not their goal, but it is the result. Many of the customer service tools, tactics and strategies I cover in my books, articles, speeches and videos are about getting the customer to come back again and again.  But there are times that you might have the goal of not wanting the customer to come back.  Actually, a better way of putting it would be that there are times when you don’t want the customer to need to come back. If the customer calls with a service issue or complaint, you want to resolve it in such a way that the customer is happy and doesn’t need to call back for the same issue.  This is frequently called first-call resolution, and is the goal of many customer service support centers. There are some companies I’ve worked with that take this concept a step further.  They not only want to resolve the customer’s initial problem, but they will ask questions and probe to see if there are potential problems the customer might have in the future; the goal being they don’t want the customer to call back.

Sometimes it’s not about a complaint.

For example, you might be painting a room in your home and visit your local Ace Hardware to buy a can of paint.  The sales associate will ask questions to ensure you have everything you need for the project: brushes, rollers, drop cloths, masking tape, primer and more.  The goal is that you won’t have to come back because you forgot to purchase that one item you might need to complete your project.  When the associate asks the right questions and gets you everything you need, you are thankful and appreciative.  And while you won’t come back for that project, you will surely consider coming back for future projects. So, you really do want your customers to come back – just not because they need to continue resolving the same problem or because they forgot to buy something they needed.  Ask the right questions.  Ask extra questions.  Be it one-call resolution or one-stop shopping, do what is necessary so the customer won’t come back… until they want to, not because they need to. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXIII, Shep Hyken)

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