Managing your Customer Service Expectations

Dealing with customer service expectations is a nightmare. Customer service is a difficult science, dealing with technologies, human relations and communications, protocol definitions and of course some good old fashion negotiation skills.

People expect everything at once from customer service, and the truth is that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. So, you have to handle customer service expectations with care, and use some wisdom in choosing which expectations, incoming from the customer feedback, to work towards meeting.

Remember that customers can demand impractical and impossible things, and sometimes humans just aren’t reasonable. So, customers may come to unreasonably expect their demands be met in a negative scenario, and that customer service be instantaneous and nigh worshipful of them.

Well, the thing is that while being congenial, empathetic and respectful of customers is a very important thing to adhere to, there comes a time when you have to stand your ground and stick to your principles and your specified limitations.

So, the common expectation of “I will get what I demand because you made a mistake” is not a balanced expectation nor one you should worry about matching. Now, other expectations such as being instantaneous (no hold times, wait for response periods etc.) is also an unreasonable one, and thus one not to worry about accomplishing, though doing your best to be speedy is a good idea within reason.

So, once you define expectations that customers will have regarding your service and regarding your customer service alike, you need to prioritize them, and pick which things make the most practical sense. Look through the things the most people want, which are also possible to comply with, and then work out a strategy to implement these in the future.

The easiest way around this, and to meet expectations more clearly is going to be to try to go self service as much as possible. In this channel, people are empowered to safely and easily do many things themselves, thus making many of their expectations moot, because they don’t rely on human arbitration to get their stuff done.

This makes them happy, and any other expectations they’d have on account of the normal limitations would no longer apply. Onboard technology like WalkMe makes implementing this easy, and greatly reduces the strain on managing these expectations.

But, if you can’t go self service, at least not far enough to matter, then you are best to prioritize like I said, and just go for the most popular and practical things you can do that maybe, to them, you don’t do well enough right now.

It’s not unlike needs or preferences, but is more about identifying standards imposed on you, and finding out which unmet standards are worth meeting, or practical to attempt.

You’ll need to take your time about sorting and prioritizing your customer service expectations, because the more refined they are, the better you can devote resources to changes and improvements that bring the best return on investment (of money, time and resources). While some expectations will be absurd or impractical, when you find the ones you can do that will benefit everyone, you’ll have taken measures that greatly improve your customer relationships.

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Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe