Learn when and how to properly escalate a contact.
- A customer service philosophy that I live by is the four Fs. Customers want friendly fast service and they want it fixed right the first time so they don't have to contact a service desk again. But what happens when there's an issue that cannot be resolved the first time or on the first contact? We now have to engage what we call the escalation process. An escalation is the process of sending an issue to another resource for resolution. This resource could be a manager, a team lead, a supervisor, peer, deskside technician, second level technician.
You get the picture. Why would we need to escalate an issue? Perhaps the customer insists on an escalation, demands to speak to a manager, and/or won't cooperate with us at all. So we would need to engage a managerial resource to assist us with a customer. This is defined as a hierarchical escalation. The customer could be a VIP and the process is to escalate the VIP to a specific group or individual for resolution. Perhaps the issue is a high priority and time is a factor.
Multiple users and applications are affected. So another team could be engaged to work on the issue more efficiently or a technician who is onsite could assist as well. The issue could involve a level of expertise that the service desk doesn't have rights or access to fix. So another group who does have the rights or access to fix can be responsible for resolving the issue. Maybe you've just exhausted all of your knowledge options. Then it would need to be sent to a higher level resource for investigation and diagnosis.
This is referred to as a functional escalation, when another level or tier becomes involved in the escalation. Another reason that issues are escalated is that we as technicians can get tired or frustrated or even just overwhelmed and we just want to punt it to another group. This becomes an issue though for the organization as it reflects poorly on the service desk and creates unnecessary work for other groups. Our goal is to try and resolve the issue on the first contact.
Now that we've discussed some of the common reasons why we would need to escalate a customer, let's talk in our next movie about how to perform an escalation.
First, Fancy provides guidance on how to use the right types of questions to gather information about an issue. Then, she explains how to professionally handle common customer service tasks, like escalating and transferring calls. Then, she shows how to hone interactions with customers by refining communications—acknowledging how tone and word choice can diffuse tension. She wraps up by covering common customer behavior scenarios in which the tools, techniques, and strategies from the course can be applied.
- Greeting and validating contacts
- Asking investigative and diagnostic questions
- Confirming and validating responses
- Reaching resolution and closure
- Using mute or hold on a call
- Escalating or transferring a call
- Building rapport over the phone, in writing, and face-to-face
- Refining word choice, style, and tone
- Managing conflict effectively
- Recovering unsatisfied customers
- Redirecting customers
- Identifying customer behavior