6 Great Customer Support Responses


We’ve talked before about using ServiceNow as a complete Customer Service Management platform.  You can’t forget, however, that any successful solution encompasses People, Processes, and Technology.  Even the greatest technology won’t help your CSM efforts if you don’t invest in your People and your Processes.

To help both areas, here’s a quick list of best-practices for 6 common customer service scenarios.


#1: How to TEll A Customer You Need More Time to Work on Her Issue

Everyone always wants immediate results, but unfortunately, they are not always realistic or possible.  If you can’t solve a customer’s issue right now, it’s important you’re transparent and set accurate expectations on the resolution timeline.

Here’s how to let the customer know you need some time:

“I apologize, but I need a few more minutes to solve this. Do you mind waiting for a few moment while I find the best solution?  If you’re in a hurry, I’d be happy to call or email you back with an answer instead.”

#2: How to Transfer a Customer

Nobody likes to have the buck passed on his issue, but at times you might realize that another person or department is far-better suited for the particular issue at hand.  Being transferred can be interpreted as, ‘bad news’, so it’s important to be gentle.

Here’s a good response to try:

“[Customer Name], my colleague, [Colleague’s Name] in the [Department] department is more of an expert in this area than myself.  If you don’t mind, I’m going to transfer you to her.  I’ve also gone ahead and briefed her about your situation, so you won’t have to re-explain anything.”


#3: When You Can’t Resolve the Issue

Don’t ever repeat this, but sometimes the customer is just plain wrong.  Perhaps they reached you in error, or where completely off the mark in understanding what you really offer or provide.  When deflection is fair and warranted, try these techniques:

  • The Compliment Sandwich.  Start with a compliment, then give them the bad news.  End with another compliment.
    • “We appreciate you letting us know about this issue, however, there’s nothing we can do to resolve it.  To make it up to you, would you like a discount on your next order?”
  • Slight of Hand.  Answer a question you have the answer to that is somehow related.  It might actually answer another question the customer had.
    • “I’m really sorry you’re having issues with your cable TV bill, but this is the water company.  Have you signed up for a new conservation program yet?”
  • Escalation.  Sometimes customers expose an issue that needs to be addressed higher up the chain.  To prevent similar calls in the future, take the time to alert your supervisors of the issue.
    • “Boss, I’ve been receiving multiple complaints about the UI in the latest version.  We might want to collect the feedback for R&D to review.”


#4: How to Admit You Were Wrong

Bad news doesn’t get better with time.  If you mess up, you need to own up early and show that you have a plan to remedy both the mistake, and the original customer issue.

When you’re at fault, here’s what to say to a customer:

“[Customer Name], I do really apologize.  I made a mistake and, we will fix it immediately, but it may take up to [Amount] days/hours to fully resolve. We’ll keep you posted as quickly as possible, and will ensure this doesn’t happen again.  Again, I’ve very sorry.”


#5: Dealing with Angry Customers

We’ve all seen the angry, emotional customer who’s upset with an issue and taking it out on a customer service representative.  Maybe some of us have even been that customer…  Dealing with people in that state is an art, but it’s best if you remember your A, B, C, D, Es.
  • Apologize
  • Brevity
  • Chief Priority
  • Don’t [You] Take it Personally
  • Empathy                   
“I’m so sorry you’re having this issue.  I understand how frustrated you must feel and I’m making fixing it my top priority.”
(Never forget, in these high-stress situations, keep the “F’s” to yourself…)


#6: Following Up When You Don’t Have A Resolution Yet

If you say that you’re going to get back to a customer, you need to get back to the customer.  This should occur no longer than 24 hours later, even if you are just reporting that nothing has changed yet.

Here’s a good template for a follow-up conversation:

“Hello.  I just wanted to give you quick update.  I’m still working on your issue, but don’t have the final solution yet.  I did take the following steps so far, and when I can resolve this, I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”


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