What has been the important thing to the business now? Is it customer experience or customer revenue? If you see the customers denying to be associated with your company that is because they don’t feel valued anymore. And you’ve been giving them a poor experience altogether. You don’t want to continue to be in that loophole of providing a poor experience to the customers anymore, right? So, focus on Customer Escalation Management!
What is customer escalation management?
It is the process carried out to handle queries or issues within the system of your business in regard to customers’ concerns. It ensures resolving the obstacles at the right level. As a Customer Success Manager, you have a big role to play here!
Under different circumstances, companies have already set up a process. Where the issue of the customer is addressed by a more skilled agent.
When does it come into play?
It’s that case when the agent is relatively new to handling their issues and that leads to reduced customer satisfaction, in turn, unhappy customers. That is when they seek an experienced agent to help resolve the issue!
Though escalations aren’t bad to have, too many of them can reduce the customer experience. So you wouldn’t want that to happen and hence it’s important to lay the customer escalation management process that is known to everyone in the team for such scenarios.
The use case scenario if you are still wondering, why?
Lets’ say you subscribed to milk providing service that delivers milk to you every morning at your home. And one day you find that the milk is curdled, the first thought to your mind would be to call the relevant service to escalate the issue and you wouldn’t want them to repeat the same.
So what happened to the customer is that they experienced something that was poor service. This may leave an opinion in their head or may not, depending on how you handle this issue. In the worst case, they’d leave you to go to the competitor’s door.
This is why you need effective customer escalation management practices in hand!
So let’s get there…
# Practice 1: Don’t let customer escalation happen!
First things first! Don’t let the customer queries escalate. You have to be able to resolve it at a lower degree of intensity before even the escalation happens. So the team needs the tool and training that is comprehensive and should have developed a reliable judgment.
Hence, any previous interactions or success must have been recorded and documented to be aware of their current status. So get them on that track!
# Practice 2: Being accountable for the responsibility!
The team member shouldn’t be the one who avoids situations and passes them to someone. One has to take full ownership of the situation they have. This may include things like asking related queries to understand better, sharing the relevant documentation that could help, and going beyond in giving them rightful answers.
It doesn’t mean you have to meet their expectations of the offers, it is not viable but rather comes with options for them to pick.
The ownership should be such that before it is escalated to the higher authorities, you should resolve the issue to the best of your ability. “Leslie, I understand your situation, but before we escalate it to the vice president, can we loop our senior managers in this to gain a fresh perspective that is not yet sought? Who can likely help us out to be back on our toes!”
# Practice 3: Give ears to your customers!
It is quite not possible to understand the problem without knowing about it, right? Hear from the customers what they are facing, respond to their queries and solve their queries.
It all starts with being empathetic to the customer. Although their situation is pathetic and they are frustrated and yelling at you, they’ll cool down when you empathetically answer them.
Suggested Read: Difficult customer conversations and the best way to handle them!
# Practice 4: Time to be in their standpoint!
The possibility of rejecting your product is 99% of it when they face an issue but if they rather sought you out for help, it still means that they care to be in your service because they gave a second thought to it! Now it’s your responsibility to give a resolution in a way that is fair.
So how do you know it is fair? When you solve the issue being in their place and analyze what would you do if you were in that position and what you would have expected the company to have done in return? That must be your perspective!
Then it all makes sense!
# Practice 5: A combined effect!
Okay, there is a problem but how do you find a resolution to it? Is it getting harder for you with the traditional approach taught to you and you find that it is not working and lately do you knock others for help at a time when it is nearly impossible to be reactive?
The answer to this is, to not be hesitant to ask for help at the initial stage!
A combined effort has always been fruitful in solving situations rather than being left alone and to have not properly acting in solving it. So, ask your peers or collaborate with other teams to go to the customers with the best solution.
# Practice 6: Right customer escalation handling
You don’t write an email to the entire world but rather to the immediate respondents. While you are escalating, your next contact must be the senior manager, and in absence of his availability, it’s the director, and if that’s not working then the vice president.
It’s not one rush of emails all at once.
# Practice 7: Understand the business point of view as well!
Before coming to a compensating offer, dig out their purchase history to analyze how much value they have been adding to your business.
Just ahead of being in their shoes, you don’t want to leave your company’s business out of mind. So first things first,
1. How long have they been your customer?
2. How much is their spend value?
So that’s how you consider business interest while keeping in mind that you don’t want to miss out on retaining a high-value customer that deserves generous compensation in return instead!
You don’t want to be in the limelight on social media for the post they have tagged you in their disappointment. And a refund in return for an instance is not a big deal when they are going to be loyal to you indeed for the greater service you gave to them! Then you are always remembered!
# Practice 8: The right way to route from the start!
Right from the beginning get this correct! Know who is handling the kind of customer escalations. From where it will lead and end at the scenarios possible. So in that case, time is saved and takes no longer time to solve an issue.
# Practice 9: Give closure to the customer escalation within 15 days.
The closer you finish the better it is! There should be no time given to think for customers to have negative feelings about your brand which may lead to what is called “Unsubscribing”. They should be heard and the resolution to it should be delivered well before 15 days and not more!
Having a customer escalation is not too bad. If once that happens and the customers receive the satisfactory resolution, they always know that they are well served and if the resolution didn’t lead to being satisfactory, it is when they are confirmed, that they don’t want to be subscribing to you anymore.
The customer’s concerns are more important for a business than anything else. For this customer success software is most needed to keep track of the behavior of your customers with your SaaS products. Which keeps you aware of their risks before even an escalation!