The Dos and Don'ts of Customer Problem Resolution

Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Here are a few dos and don'ts that will help companies optimize problem resolution, and in turn, customer satisfaction.

When your customer has a problem, the last thing they're going to care about is your satisfaction program. It doesn't matter that you're going out of your way to help, or bending over backwards to keep them happy. The only thing they're interested in is solving their problem. And if you're not doing that, then you're going to have a problem of your own. Here are a few dos and don'ts that will help you optimize problem resolution, and in turn, customer satisfaction.

DO understand the customer. You're likely already tracking everything your customers are doing on your website, but what exactly are you doing with that information? Is it solely being used within the confines of marketing? Or is it being shared across support and R&D teams that could also benefit from the information? If it isn't being shared, now's the time to start. Whether its sophisticated reference materials or specific support features, each customer profile has different needs and it's important for all teams - not just marketing - to understand where they're coming from.

DO speak their language. And by that, I mean in both a literal and figurative sense. Naturally, you're going to want to assist your customers in their native language, be it Spanish, Chinese, French, or any other language. But you also need to adapt to their personal tone and voice in your interactions with them. For example, let's say you're in the photography business and you sell directly to professionals as well as hobbyists. If you spoke to a professional, more sophisticated user in a hobbyist's language, the professional would likely be offended by your use of such plain, elementary descriptions. Alternately, if you used a professional's voice to speak to a hobbyist, that information would be over the hobbyist's head. Think carefully about the language you use to assist each type of customer.

DO provide relevant content. Where the tip above relates to the voice you're using to interact with customers, this one relates specifically to the information you're providing. Continuing the example, a professional user is trying to find out how to use a special lens-adjusting feature. You want to give that customer a professional reference guide with the more granular and technical information they're looking for. However, this type of content would not be suitable for a hobbyist user. Likely, all they're looking for is how to use simple features like auto zoom or flash, and giving them all the technical information would just make it harder for them to learn how to use the product. So when a new customer registers their product, make sure you gather the information you need to ensure relevant content is being delivered to them, and then ensure that information is actionable by all teams responsible for providing customer-facing content.

DON'T waste their time. When a customer has a problem, they want it fixed, and they want it fixed ASAP. Make sure you're not forcing customers to jump through hoops just to find the information they're looking for. The content they need should be available wherever they happen to be and regardless of the device they're using (be it a smartphone, tablet or PC). If it's not easily findable and well-indexed, they'll be searching forever - and in the end, more likely to walk away out of frustration.

DON'T get in their way. According to a survey conducted by SDL last year, most consumers use product information (whether that's user manuals, how-to guides, or installation and troubleshooting guides) to either learn about a product or solve a problem. You can liken the difference of these two experiences with that of going to a store to browse versus going to a store knowing exactly what you want. When you're trying to solve a problem, you want to be in and out of that store (or in this case, user manual) quickly. You're only looking for one thing, and everything else is just in the way. So when you're thinking about providing relevant content to your users, make sure you're giving them a clear path to the information they're looking for.

DON'T just provide answers - provide resolutions. Answering a question (e.g. "Where can I find the reset button?") does not always mean that you're solving a problem ("My cable box isn't picking up any channels"). To truly resolve customer problems, you need make sure you're having a two-way conversation with them at all times. Send your customers helpful tutorial videos, how-to diagrams or links to support forums. Whatever the content, the point is to have communication traveling both ways-not just from customer to support team, but from support team to customers as well. That means providing all direct feedback mechanisms to the customer at all touchpoints.

To sum up: customer experience is not something to ignore. According to a recent survey released by Oracle, 70 percent of shoppers have stopped buying goods or services from a company after experiencing poor customer service. You don't want to fall in that boat. So use the tips above to avoid letting poorly structured content get in your way of delivering optimal customer experiences.