What to do when customers demand a channel you're not offering

What to do when customers demand a channel you're not offering

Faith Ocampo
March 9, 2017

confused businessman scratching his head in office

Customer service professionals know that not all the interactions they’ll be handling will be easy. More often, they’ll be facing tricky situations when talking to customers.

It’s true that consumers are becoming more and more demanding these days. Partly, it’s because they’ve grown used to instant gratification, as fueled by the spread of various modes of digital communication. They expect brands to be available 24/7 across all platforms possible such as phone, email, live chat, social media, and mobile apps.

customer service rep addressing call hand gestures

If you’re not offering omnichannel services, this can become a major problem for you. How should you handle customers who are seeking support via a channel you’re not offering?
Such situations can be difficult to handle. If you can’t meet them at their preferred channel, customers may feel like you’re depriving them of their needs as consumers. On the other hand, call center agents must still try to resolve a customer’s complaint efficiently, using every means available. Otherwise, a customer may threaten to abandon the transaction, or even the entire brand. Here are the five tips that would help you out of this dilemma.
 

1.     Clarify your policies tactfully.

call center agent in white using laptop

If it’s not possible for you to take the conversation to the channel being requested by the customer, firmly but politely state your policies. Explain clearly why you can’t grant their request, but reassure them that you’ll still help them in every way possible.

As you talk to the customer, be sure to use the right tone of voice. Try not to sound too authoritative, as this can drive customers away even further.

 

2.     Seek cooperation from the customer.

As a customer support rep, successfully resolving every customer issue you encounter is part of your duty. However, in most cases, you won’t be able to do this if a customer refuses to cooperate with you. Thus, let them know that you’re willing to address their issues, but remind them gently that the two of you must work as a team. You may use statements like:

I want to help you find the information you need, but to get this done, I will need your help. Can you provide me with more details?

 

3.     Focus on problem resolution.

customer service agents in call center speaking on headset

Even if you can’t transfer a transaction to the channel being requested by the customer, be as resourceful as you can in solving the issue. Let the customer know that regardless of the platform you’re using, your main goal is to help them overcome the snags they’re encountering.

It helps if you can steer the conversation to this direction. Reassure customers that their issues can be solved in a variety of ways, and be sure to do so as quickly as you can.

 

4.     Respond immediately.

Often, customers demand a particular channel when they feel that they’re being ignored. You may not be responding quickly enough, or you may be taking too long to address their complaints. This is particularly true if you’re communicating via email. In these cases, consider moving the customer to your live chat platform, so you can talk to them in real time.

 

5.     Consider adding new customer service channels.

business executives holding glasses looking at computer tablet making decision

If many of your customers are requesting for a channel you’re not offering, consider deploying an omnichannel strategy. However, before acquiring a new call center software, be sure to study all its features to ensure that it fits well with your existing customer support approach. Also, think about investing in a high-power customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This technology would let you gather, store, manage, and analyze customer interactions across various platforms.

 
 

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