5 strategies for managing customer expectations
A customer can expect everything from the ordinary to the seemingly impossible. But whether or not a customer is asking you to take them to the Moon or provide a simple reporting apparatus, your business needs to be able to meet their expectations in at least some manner, or risk the consequences. So in the cases where a customer is asking for something you can't provide, whether that's faster response times or new features (or a trip to the Moon with Wallace and Gromit), your business needs to manage their expectations.
A company's ability to provide an ideal B2B customer support experience is only capable of going as far as it can meet customer expectations. To this end, a ticketing management system, or the team behind it, needs to also manage customer expectations. In the end, the most damaging thing a business can do is tell a customer one thing and then do another. Nobody likes a hypocrite, and even if your customer service team had no intention of giving misleading statements or half-truths, the customer will almost always see it in the most negative light.
The expectations placed upon customer service are only ever more demanding and complex. Customers also expect solutions and answers at the speed of light. However, the best way to exceed expectations, and ensure that your customers are satisfied now and for the long haul, is to carefully manage expectations from the get-go.
Businesses can set themselves up for long-term success by relying on the best B2B support software and adhering to these five strategies:
Five customer service strategies to follow
1. Openly discuss solutions
Businesses that have highly knowledgeable customer support teams should be well-versed in the solutions to every potential problem and be able to speak to those possibilities quickly. One important way businesses can manage customer service expectations is by openly discussing possible solutions.
By providing various possible resolutions up front, support teams empower their customers to understand the complexity of a particular problem and engage directly on help desk software with its solution. Additionally, by painting a clear picture of possible results, service teams ensure customers don't have unrealistic expectations of how simple or difficult the resolution will be.
2. Provide clear timelines
Glitches, errors, and bugs in B2B software can be irritating and costly to customers. However, customers will become more angry if they look forward to their problem being solved in a week, and instead wait a week and a half. Businesses can manage customer service expectations by clearly stating how long any particular task will take, to the absolute best of their knowledge, from the moment the customer gets on a customer support call until the resolution is in progress.
Teams should ensure customers are well-informed of not only how long a task will take, but how much time and work is required to get them a solution as quickly as possible. And if a support professional doesn't know how long it will take? Then honesty is always the best prescription.
3. Be customer-first
To truly provide a great customer experience, a business needs to be customer-centric and put the customer first in everything that they do. This also means that businesses must be open and honest. Honesty and transparency is absolutely crucial to managing B2B customer service expectations effectively and will affect clients' ability to trust a company.
By remaining honest in every possible situation, businesses can ensure customers remain confident in their partners and have a positive experience. So if a customer service representative doesn't feel confident to correctly address a particular issue, there should be clear and optimized avenues for collaboration and looping in other representatives. Regardless of the situation (or what Gandalf says), support teams should avoid keeping things secret.
4. Understand your customers
It's easiest to manage customer expectations if you know your customer. The better you know your customer, the better you can accurately pinpoint their needs and their wants. The best way to know your customer is with a full 360-degree view that tells your business what a customer needs and wants, how they use your product in the first place, and a whole history of their interactions with your staff on the ticketing management platform, among a slew of other things.
Additionally, by understanding ticketing management system abilities, the complexities of certain problems, and the workload of team members, support experts can gauge how a particular ticket will be solved and the time investment that is required. While it can be nerve-wracking to tell a customer that a problem will take longer than expected to resolve, it is more important to be realistic and honest than set expectations that can't be met.
5. Check in frequently
Finally, support teams can manage customer service expectations by following up after each stage of the resolution process. Customers expect businesses to follow up with them to round out their customer experience. After a customer service agent communicates the potential solutions to a problem and offers realistic timelines, they should follow up and reiterate what was decided. Additionally, customer support teams should always check in with customers as the resolution progresses and once a ticket has been closed.
There are many ways businesses can optimize their customer experience strategies. However, the first step to delivering excellence is to manage expectations effectively from the get-go.