Forrest Gump knew what he was talking about when he said life was like a box of chocolates.  For customer support reps, some days on the job are like a rich truffle, while others are like those nasty drugstore fruit nougats.  You may be nursing a killer headache, or falling asleep despite the 5-hour energy drink you just consumed.

But no matter how you’re feeling, there’s no excuse for dismissing a customer’s concerns.  If a chain of emails between you and a customer threatens to fly south for the winter, it’s time to take a deep breath and bring in the big guns – the telephone. Let’s break down a major customer support fail to see where and how the rep should have taken action.  Documented on a blog called Technoracle, this customer support chain of emails deserves a place on the Wall of Shame.

Swing and a Miss

Earlier this year, Duane was trying to complete an order with an online business when he ran into some trouble and contacted customer support, asking them to reset his password.  Customer Support Rep Grace responded by admitting that her delay in response was due to vacation time and failed to help the customer reset his password.  In fact, she didn’t even mention it!  That’s two, two, two fails in one!

Customer support managers, always make sure your help desk is staffed during normal business hours, and reps, READ EVERY WORD of a customer’s email and make sure you address the issue.  By ignoring the customer, Grace immediately raised his frustration like a thermometer on a sweltering summer day.

Help was Just a Handful of Digits Away

After a few more emails, Duane asked Grace to expedite the issue or he would take his order elsewhere.  Uh, anyone else raise a red flag here?  Rather than risk the possibility of failing the customer once more thus losing a sale, this customer support rep should have immediately picked up the phone, apologized for the confusion and reassured the customer that the problem would be handled.

Instead, Grace paved the way for Duane to take his business to another company.  In his frustration, he lashed out at Grace, who then proceeded to tell him HER COMPANY DOES NOT MAKE PHONE CALLS.  Bwah?  Are you serious?

Managers, business owners, and customer support reps, we know that sometimes using telephones can seem like going back to the Stone Age, but we’ve yet to find a business that doesn’t own one.  If you want to retain clients, solve problems and avoid a nasty situation going viral, pick up the phone!

Say Goodnight, Gracie

Towards the end of their virtual communication, after Duane had elevated his tone with Grace, she continued responding by ending her emails with “have a wonderful day!”  Duane found this patronizing.  If, as a customer support rep, you aren’t matching your language or tone to address the customer’s frustration, you’re making a big mistake.

Clearly Duane was not having a wonderful day.  In fact, he was not having a wonderful 6 days by the end of the email chain.  Granted, a phone call should have been made by this point, but any email sent addressing an escalated customer support issue should have included language profusely apologizing for the amount of time it took to respond and for the frustration the customer endured.

Furthermore, there should have been a good reason for the customer to come back.  Managers, a good will gesture or assurance that this situation would never happen again would help leaps and bounds in a case like this.  With social media reigning supreme these days, if you lose one customer due to poor service, you risk losing them all.

Let FuseDesk Assist!

When looking at an escalated customer support case in FuseDesk, you can pull up the customer’s contact info right into the case view so that you can see both their primary and secondary phone numbers.  And, once you make a connection with the customer, one click is all it takes to log your call notes directly onto the case in both FuseDesk and Infusionsoft!  Taking notes from the call can save your tail and assist other reps with future customer concerns.

To sum it all up, when responding to customers through your online help desk, just be sure to remember this acronym:  D.O.G. (Do the Opposite of Grace).