It’s an unfortunate reality that not every issue that someone raises as a customer service concern can be dealt with to the complete satisfaction of the customer. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a customer service role knows that there are some issues that, due to internal or external factors, simply can’t be handled. The sign of great customer service though is how one handles that.
I spent a number of years as a manager for a food service chain that will remain unnamed and one of the most important things I learned from my time there was the importance of acting as a personal point of contact for every customer that raises some kind of concern with you. Social media, and digital communication in general, has a tendency to seem impersonal and desensitizes us to the fact that we are indeed talking to a real person on the other end.
We have a general policy of always trying to use the name of the person we are speaking to. Context tells us that a reply to a comment is always directed at the original comment but we take it another step and personally direct our reply to them. This lets them know that we aren’t simply providing some stock answer and that we took the time to consider their message and concerns before replying.
We always try to end all of our engagements with thanking the user for reaching out and reassuring them that they are always welcome to reach out. Many complaints can be resolved by simply letting them know they were heard. Thanking someone for bringing something your attention lets them know that, even if you have no way of quickly resolving or changing their current experience, their voice was heard and it may cause the next person to have a better experience.
Just as it is important for most branded messaging to have a uniform brand voice, it is also important for those reaching out with a personal concern to feel that an actual person received the concerns and addressed them. Simply replying to a customer and letting them feel heard has a dramatic effect on their willingness to give the brand another shot at providing a great experience.