How to Set Up a Quality Flow for Customer Service Handoffs

John Krautzel
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Customer service experts understand that escalation is often inevitable. Not all customers will be content with the policies and procedures established by the organization, and it falls on customer service managers and team leads to address these issues as they arise. One of the largest pitfalls in the process lies in handoffs, the transfer of a customer to a supervisor, and incorrectly handling this part of your flow can make the process much more difficult.

The customer service experience can fail during handoffs for a variety of reasons. The first part of your new workflow process should involve ensuring that the attention of a supervisor is necessary. Some companies may have de-escalation policies that allow representatives to potentially defuse a complaint before a handoff is necessary. Others may have a blanket policy that any customer who asks for a supervisor receives one promptly. In order to avoid confusion, customer service reps should clearly identify the problem and why their role prevents them from solving it before handing off the call. Giving the supervisor this information before transferring the call can ensure accurate and timely results.

Customer service verbiage is exceptionally important, and the words you choose during handoffs can have a large impact on the customer service experience. Both the employee handing off the call and the supervisor receiving it should promptly apologize for the escalation. Even if the reason for the problem seems unfounded at first glance, the primary goal of service is to ensure satisfaction, and the need for escalation automatically constitutes a failure to achieve that goal. The representative should confirm the details of the issue before handing off the call, and the supervisor should do the same upon accepting it.

The next step involves addressing the issue. The handoff is not the end of the process, but it is the beginning of the troubleshooting and resolution of the complaint by a supervisor. While each company may have a different process for this, remember that customer satisfaction is still a primary goal. Once the matter has been dealt with as fully as possible, even if that requires scheduling an update call in the future because matters cannot be resolved in a single call, it should be documented. This documentation can help create workflow processes to prevent or address the issue in the future.

Setting up a quality workflow involves clearly identifying the problem before handing the call to a supervisor. Correct verbiage, including apologies, should be used throughout the handoff, and the supervisor should attempt to address or rectify the issue in as timely a manner as possible. Excellent documentation is the final part of resolving specific issues arising from handoffs, and they can help with customer service training and process development in the future.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net

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