As I mentioned in Chapter 12, customers today who are connected online often use social media to share and compare customer service outcomes, and this has brought this department back into the spotlight as a critical business function. Although customers may ultimately want to establish an ongoing affiliation with a company, they want their immediate queries handled expediently and professionally when they are interacting with someone from customer service. Regardless of the customer interaction channel, executing customer service well is a key success factor in creating a positive experience for the customer.

Solve Their Problem

When a customer has experienced a problem with your company's product or service, it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. A number of customer service skills are necessary to succeed in problem resolution, regardless of the interaction channel. Here are seven key success factors for solving customer problems in a positive fashion:

1. Respond quickly. Customers want their inquiry to be acknowledged quickly, whether it was submitted via e-mail or Twitter! In fact, social media has greatly accelerated customer expectations for how fast a company representative should respond—from hours to minutes. Be sure to know your customers’ expectations (which may have been set by other companies they do business with), and meet or exceed them to resolve the issue in the best way possible.

2. Have a great attitude. Customers are most ...

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