Image for Customer service best practices: When communications break down Post - man-931974__180Customer service best practices include having a plan for communicating promptly with customers and prospects. A business set up a Facebook page and began to get good response to it. At one point, a person who had liked the page sent a message to ask a question about their services. Unfortunately, the message came at a time when the owner was experiencing a series of personal and business challenges and he neglected to respond. The person repeated the question online, and when that got no response, sent a third message asking why he was being ignored and questioning the business’s operating practices.

How should you handle situations like this? First, always try to respond to communications from customers in a timely manner, even if it’s simply to say, “Let me look into that for you.” Make sure someone on your staff is assigned to handling incoming communications promptly.

If a problem—be it technical, personal, or other—prevents you from responding promptly and the customer loses their cool, don’t respond in kind. Apologize and, if appropriate, briefly explain the reason for the delay Don’t go into details. You could also offer them a small, one-time discount on products or services to smooth over any ruffled feathers.

The wise Solomon wrote, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” advice that works surprisingly well in customer service best practices.