Sometimes, when I’m home alone and don’t feel like cooking, I order food online and have it delivered. I pick out something nice and spicy, order extra chili and go to check-out. Within a few seconds I get an email confirming my order. There’s an overview of what I ordered, the price of my order and how long it will be until my order should arrive at my door. Usually around 45 minutes. Which is a reasonable amount of time to wait if it means you don’t have to cook, do dishes or even shop for groceries.

A TOPdesk Magyarország ügyvezetőjének írása. A magyar verziót elolvashatja itt.

Waiting for my order

Now the waiting begins. I don’t mind because I know how long the wait will be. Since I don’t have to slave away in the kitchen, I take out my tablet to go over today’s news. When I’ve finished reading the big news stories, I glance at the clock: the 45 minutes are almost up. And I’m starting to feel hungry.

When 50 minutes have passed I’m getting worried. How long will they be? Has the restaurant received my order properly? And what if the food never arrives, what will I do then? And will they give me my money back? I decide to call the restaurant. “The delivery guy is on his way. He should be there any minute now.” The doorbell rings before the end of the conversation. I’m glad I have my food, but why didn’t the restaurant let me know they were going to take a little longer?

Angry calls to the service desk

Service desks have similar situations. The customer submits a call and gets a confirmation email saying their call will be handled as soon as possible. The waiting begins. The longer it takes, the more the customer questions whether anybody is still working on their call. And the more likely they are to make an angry call to the service desk.

Your service desk probably has a great reason why they can’t finish a call just yet. Perhaps you’re waiting for a third party you have no control over. Or perhaps you’re just very busy at the moment, so there’s a backlog.

Keep in touch with your customer

No matter what the reason is for the delay, tell your customer about it. Most customers won’t mind waiting, as long as they know their call hasn’t slipped through the cracks. Promise your customer you’ll keep in touch, even if there aren’t any changes in the status of their call.

Clearly indicate when your service desk will get in touch. You don’t always have to get in touch by phone. In your self-service portal you can publish the date you hope to close the call. Is that date getting closer? Send the customer an update. Make the message friendly. For instance: „Unfortunately we don’t have news about your printer yet. We are waiting for our supplier, but we haven’t been able to reach them so far. But we will keep trying and we will get in touch with you again soon.”

Sometimes a call just keeps dragging on while your service desk is powerless to do anything about it. Be honest to your customer in those cases as well. Call your customer and tell them about your dilemma. Clearly tell them what their options are, even if those options might be disappointing. Your customer will know you’re taking them seriously and they’ll be more likely to feel positively about working with your service desk. Download our ebook to find out two popular methods to measure customer satisfaction.

The customer journey

The situation discussed in this blog is one instance in the customer’s journey through your services. The customer journey is a way for you to see your services through the eyes of your customers. In the customer journey you don’t just look at the way you handle a call, but at all the different things that affect how your customer experiences your services.

Want to find out more about the customer journey?
Read this article by Wes Heemskerk on how to improve your service desk with customer journeys.