How to say no and still leave the customer satisfied? Some organizations have appointed account managers for this: people whose job it is to establish a strong relationship with customers built on clear, regular communication. This can work wonders. Here’s how to get the most out of your account managers.
Not just for sales
You may not associate account managers with service departments. But really, why not? Sure, your IT or Facilities staff might not act like typical sales reps, but they’re doing pretty much the same job: making customers happy. And in order to make your customers happy, you have to know what they want or need. It’s the account manager’s job to find this out. How does it work? Here are 5 tips to get the most out of account management for your service desk.
Tip 1: Stay in touch
How can you give customers what they want if you don’t know what that is? Regular contact with customers keeps you updated on how happy they are with your services – what are you doing right, and what can be improved? And on the more proactive side of things: what problems is the customer facing, or will they face soon? Imagine how happy they will be if you are able to provide an answer to a question they haven’t even asked yet. Set up workflows to make sure you stay in touch, like a phone call or visit every few months.
Tip 2: Formulate a fixed workflow for requests and questions
A fixed workflow offers several benefits. First and foremost, it’s the best way to enforce your policies. And you didn’t create them for nothing. What’s more, a consistent approach to dealing with customer questions helps you manage their expectations, which plays a massive role in determining customer satisfaction levels.
Tip 3: Ask for questions, not answers
Imagine: you receive a customer request for a smartphone. The latest flagship gadget from some big name. Now, you could deny the expensive request, but then you haven’t helped the customer. They’ll just send you another request, or complain about receiving poor service. Not good for your performance, or your image. Instead of saying no, find out why the customer wanted a new phone in the first place. The new phone is an answer to a problem – one you should solve, not the customer.
Tip 4: Don’t bite off more than you can chew
There’s a lot to consider before saying yes to a big change. You need to ask yourself a lot of questions before you commit – and there are plenty of opportunities (and very good reasons) to say no along the way. Is the request something you can actually deliver? Does it meet your policy requirements? Do you have the skill to implement and maintain the solution? Does it fit in your budget? You want to give the customer what they want, but make sure you don’t make any promises you can’t keep.
Tip 5: Get the experts involved
The only way to provide completely honest answers about what you can do, is by actually knowing what’s realistic. What certainly isn’t realistic, is expecting one person to know what an entire department can and can’t do. The easiest way to make honest and achievable offers is to involve the experts who know more about the relevant service. Ask for their input on requests and questions. They may even come up with an alternative solution you never would have considered.
Download the free ebook and get customer-focused with BPSM
Appointing dedicated account managers for your service desk is just one small improvement in working more customer-focused. Want to make customer satisfaction an essential part of your service processes? Download our ‘Best Practices Service Management’ ebook and find out how you can improve your services with BPSM.