Train Your Customer Service Representatives

One of our Solutions Forum clients related a cautionary tale recently during one of our private meetings recently, which bears repeating because it was so tragic.

She was trying to order a chair in a different color than what the retailer had on its website. This retailer is also one of the major retailers of patio furniture on the website, well ranked above the fold by Google.

But, they wasted a lead, some 800 number money, some rep time and their reputation with one shot.

How? A young man answered the inbound call, and didn’t do well by this customer at all. How? This particular customer wanted one of their chairs, but in a different frame color and probably with different cushions.

Now, as it happened, this online retailer had the lowest price in the internet. Did it make any difference? No.

What the customer service rep could have said is that we could send the metal framed chair out for custom powder coating, with matching cushions. I’m sure, given where the retailer’s warehouse is located, there is a powder coater in the realm. Powder coating might have cost $100.

Custom dyeing the cushions might have cost another $100.

All told, the customer order would have been about $200 less, or about 20% than what the customer eventualy paid, but they lost the order entirely, and probably a repeat order, by not inquiring as to whether the customer would like a custom order. It was all doable.

But, because the customer rep answering the inbound call didn’t ask a couple of probing questions, all was lost.

So, the moral is train your customer service reps to render service! Tell them to ask some probing questions! Ask the customer if he/she would mind taking a short (and we mean short) questionnaire at the end of their session, with management reviewing the ones that are sub-par, or less than a 4 of 5.

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