7 questions to ask your customers while solving a phone support issue

Miruna MitranescuLast updated on October 20, 2023
5 min

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No question customer service is key for any company, let alone a startup. Your customers are the heart and soul of your company; you can’t do anything without them. Even in the midst of solving a phone support issue, you can add value to a customer interaction.

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and customer happiness guru, declared:

“We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department, it should be the entire company.”

However, the barriers to understanding your customers are high. According to a study from 1st Financial Training Services, 96% of unhappy customers will never complain, and 91% will simply leave. So for the 4% actually calling you, you have to try to get as much information as you can.

#1: Solve your customer’s issue or question (obviously)

– How can I help you? –

Even before asking for anything else, when a customer calls you, it means he or she needs an answer, fair and square.

First, listen to his (her) inquiry. I mean, really listen. Especially if your caller sounds angry. He or she needs to feel heard and taken into account in order to be ready to hear your answer.

And if your customer is particularly disgruntled, try to win his or her trust by over-solving his or her issue and going the extra mile, whether it be offering a discount, sending a gift or any other innovative – and personalized – idea.

As we said in a previous post, a dissatisfied customer has the potential for becoming your company’s best evangelist. Indeed, studies show that happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4 to 6 people about their experience.

#2: Dig a little bit deeper

– May I help you with anything else? –

Even if your customer called you for a specific reason, the most obvious he or she had in mind, your caller may have other background issues or questions. Don’t rush to hang up and go back to the task at hand; your customer calling is a great opportunity to make sure he or she understands the full potential of your product and uses it to its maximum extent.

Only when a customer really understands how your product works and makes the most of it will he or she fall in love with it and (maybe) start recommending it.

#3: Understand the usage of your product

– Which particular case are you using X for? –

You may have asked it upfront during the sign-up process, but if not, use this opportunity to understand how your customer uses your product or service, and why he or she signed up in the first place.

It can help you check that you are aligned with your customer needs and that your communication is consistent. It can even give you ideas for writing specific blog posts your customers will be interested in.

#4: Ask for features feedback

– Which features are your craving for? –

The best way to know which feature to develop first is to ask the people using it: your customers. When receiving a call from a customer, you have a chance to get authentic feedback on your current features and their expectations for your product.

For instance, Front has opened a public roadmap so that anyone can know which features are considered / under development. Customers can vote for the best ideas, and even submit new ideas.

Is there a better way to make sure your product or service meet your customers’ expectations?

#5: Ask if they would refer you (and if not, why)

– How would you feel about inviting your friends and colleagues to try it out? –

Referrals are the Grail to any startup – but your customers don’t always think of it. If you have a referral program, you should be sure to describe it to your customers. And if you feel your caller is reluctant about it, you can always try to get more feedback – on your referral program itself or on your product or service.

#6: Build a community

– Would you be interested in subscribing to our newsletter / following us on twitter or facebook? –

If your customer’s question or issue relates to a topic you’ve shared on your blog or one of your social media, you can encourage your caller to subscribe / like / follow you. Don’t over push it. But building a great customer experience is a first step to creating a supportive, loving community.

#7: Rate your customer overall satisfaction

– How satisfied are you with your call? With our company? –

As Mention’s CEO Matthieu Vaxelaire said:

“Closing a ticket is not enough, we want to delight and WOW our customers”.

At the end of the call or in a follow-up email, don’t forget to assess your customer’s overall satisfaction. And use the survey results to keep improving your customer service.

Your best-graders will make you feel good, but most importantly, this satisfaction survey can pinpoint your most unhappy customers. Up to you to reach out to them and try to win them over!

Mention even made it a contest: each week, the employee who gets the best results from the customer satisfaction survey is elected “customer support champion of the week”.

To wrap it up, inbound calls to your customer service are a great opportunity to interact with your customers and to help you improve your product or service. However, don’t try to implement all of these at once, the best way to please your customer is to answer and solve his problem quickly. Pick one or two questions at a time, based on your interactions with your customer and his or her level of satisfaction, love for your product or service, seniority as a customer, etc. It’s time to sharpen your empathy over the phone!

But first thing first, your customer service has to be reachable. With Aircall, you can create a unique number for your customer service, distributing calls to different people in your company, all at the same time or one after the other. So, if your company is settled in different continents, let’s say Europe and and US, it’s easier to have a 24×7 customer service without paying for overtime.

Have you tried implementing these? Do you have other tips to add? Please share your best practice in the comment section.

Wanna see this in practice? Call us and check how many of these questions we ask you 🙂

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Published on February 23, 2015.

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