During my career in the customer service industry, I felt most effective when I understood the available options for handling customer requests or inquiries. It’s important to be able to confidently provide service as customers and employees both enjoy the experience so much more. Here are a couple of things to consider to establish option awareness.
The Play Clock is Running
I like to look at customer service like the game of football. American professional football has a 40-second play clock. It’s required that the team in possession of the ball start a play prior to the play clock expiration. Failure to do so results in a delay of game penalty. It’s the same in customer service.
When approached, in receipt of a web chat request or called by a customer, the play clock begins to run at that moment. Customers expect to receive timely service. Just as in football, the failure to do so might result in a penalty – an upset customer. It’s critical that customer-facing personnel are equipped with options in order to provide timely and efficient service.
Most of the great quarterbacks spend time studying various scenarios that might be faced during an upcoming game. This helps him in determining which option is best for particular situations. It’s also necessary to know your options before interacting with customers. Customer service managers must ensure that customer-facing personnel is aware of the options available for delivering a great customer experience.
Make it a point to inquire about the typical scenarios that front-line personnel face on a regular basis. Work with customer-facing personnel in developing options for handling these situations. When the quarterback is equipped with options, his confidence level increases as he feels equipped with the right tools to handle the situation. It’s the same in customer service. Customer-facing personnel is able to perform at higher levels when they are aware of available options and can make applications in a confident manner.
What’s the Correct Option for This Situation?
In American football, the quarterback is primarily responsible for insuring that the chosen play is the correct one. When surveying the opposing defense, he has to make the decision as to whether or not the chosen play will be successful.
Often, he has to switch to an option (another play) to increase his chances for success. It’s the same in customer service! Customer-facing personnel must determine which option is best for the customer s situation, whether it be in meeting a sales or service need. One’s ability to utilize the best option creates trust from the customer in your ability to provide what’s best to fit their specific situation.
The better the quarterback gets at choosing the right option the longer he gets to stay in the game. It’s the same with customers. When trust is gained, the customer will usually return again and again for additional services or products. The ability to choose the right option is crucial to success in customer service.
Customer service requires customer service personnel to always be ready and equipped to work at maximum efficiency and with maximum effectiveness. One’s ability to know that the Play Clock is Running in your customer’s head, understanding that there are solutions available via Option Awareness, and possessing the knowledge to Select the Right Option will lead to creating satisfied customers and confident customer-facing personnel.