How to handle your prospects/customers after a service outage
Ever been in a situation where your services go kaput and you are faced with a barrage of customers/prospects? Well, situations like these will always test your mettle as a sales individual or as a support agent. What you do in a time of a crisis is not just a reflection of your skillset but also an accurate reflection of your company’s support/service philosophy.
Depending on what kind of support infrastructure you have in place, your SOP (standard operating procedure) will vary. However, here are 4 things you must do to make sure you reassure your customers/prospects.
Step 1: Keep calm and take a deep breath
Easier said than done you say? Well not really, just because you are getting email after email or chat after chat, does not mean you go into panic mode.
Understand that your customers/prospects are coming to you because they don’t know what else to do. So, your team’s composure in such a situation is vital.
The moment you suspect something has gone seriously wrong with your services, you need to communicate this to your development/NOC team. Open clear communication channels with your team. Don’t keep telling them how many customers have now reported the problem. The idea is to understand what is going wrong and when you can expect a resolution.
Once you know what is going on, time to go to step 2.
Step 2: Don’t apologize needlessly, first explain what is going on
Your prospects/customers are not here to listen to you apologize. They are more concerned with what went wrong and what you are doing to fix it.
For example, if your services are down due to a programming bug. The best way to communicate this to your prospect/customer is:
“Prospect, we have identified that this is a problem in our system and our development is already working to resolve this issue. I apologise for the disruption in services, but rest assured our team is working to resolve this as we speak.”
Note how you have explained that you have identified the problem and are looking to fix it.
If you don’t have a clear communication channel or simply have no idea what is going on. You can be equally transparent with your customer/prospects with out adding to their concerns.
“Prospect, we have identified that our services are down. We have already communicated this to our team and I am sure our services will be up and running soon. This is a priority with us. Please accept my apologies for the disruption in services. We will reach out once we have resolved this. “
Step 3: Take ownership and follow up once the issue is fixed
Avoid using statements like “Someone will reach out to you once this resolved” a better way is to use the ownership statement and say “I will make sure you are informed the moment this is resolved”.
Don’t just say what you say for the heck of it. Meet your promise and make sure either you or your team members follow up with all prospects that reached out with an update. Even if the problem takes longer than expected, you need to update your customers that you are working to resolve their issue. Once the issue is resolved, make sure you send out an email to your prospect/customer informing them that the issue has been resolved.
Step 4: Make sure you get confirmation that everything is back to normal
Sending out an email is the easiest way to wash your hands off the problem. The best way to update your prospect/customer is to ask them to confirm everything is back to normal.
As discussed earlier, I am sending an email to inform you that services are back to normal and you should have full service now.
Can you please confirm that everything is up and running?
Again, apologies for the disruption in services.
Notice how an apology is added in the end, yet the main purpose of the email is to inform and also get confirmation from the prospect that everything is up and running. Many sales individuals lose trust with their prospects after a service disruption because they are more than happy to send an email out and not wait for confirmation.
Your prospects are still trying to figure out if they like your services or not, so your active participation in making sure everything is back to normal is vital.
Remember that your prospects faith in you and your company is vital and that you need to be as honest as possible without freaking out your prospects/customers.