How to Respond To Customer Inquiries Ultimate Guide

December 18, 2023

In sales and business, creating a positive impression is crucial. One of the key ways to create positive impression is to respond to customer inquiries properly.

This is because responding to customer inquiries adeptly not only fosters credibility between you and the customer but also shapes the customer’s perception of your business, influencing their likelihood to buy from you. In this post, we will explore how to respond to customer inquiries in the best possible way.

❓What are customer inquiries?

Customer inquiries is a contact initiated by a customer to a business. It encompass requests for information, complaints, or feedback. Handled via channels like email, phone, or chat channels like Whatsapp or SMS.

Inquiries are managed centrally, typically through a dedicated customer service team or sometimes the owner directly. Prioritising response based on urgency is vital to delivering a positive impression to the customer, as nowadays timely and effective responses are expected, and meeting this expectation is crucial to avoid customer dissatisfaction.

🤫 Know the importance to respond to customer inquiries

Most people are turn off when they see that they need to handle customer inquiries. Instead of seeing it as a chore, seeing handling customer inquiries as an opportunity is crucial to improve the business or even gain a chance for promotion.

Changing the mindset from “this is a bad encounter” to “this is a great opportunity to build relationships” will often help to not only feel less angst when handling customer inquiries, but also helped to actually provide a good response to the inquiry at hand.

Not only do you build trust amongst customers by handling customer inquiries well, it often helps with conversion and revenue as well due to the fact that it froster a higher customer satisfaction ratings.

Here are the top reasons why it is important to handle customer inquiries:

1. Respond to customer inquiries well for retention:

Effective handling of inquiries provides an opportunity to address customer concerns, preventing potential dissatisfaction and retaining existing customers. Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to the brand.

Do not make the mistake of seeing customer inquiries as a bad sign as often it is an opportunity to rise above the fold and deliver an exceptional customer service. Trust me, they will stay with you in the long term as a result!


2. Respond to customer inquiries well for positive word-of-mouth:

What happens when customers are satisfied? They tell their friends! Satisfactory resolution of inquiries contributes to positive customer experiences, so do not ever think that it is a small thing when you manage to resolve customer inquiries as they can often deliver huge wins doen the line for the business.

Happy customers are likely to share their positive experiences with friends, family, and online communities, generating valuable word-of-mouth referrals. Sometimes, all you need is that one referral to explode the business so it is definitely worth it to provide consistent customer experience that is pleasant throughout their buying journey.


3. Respond to customer inquiries well for feedback & improvement:

Business everywhere in the world always want to improve, and the best place to gather feedback and data on where and what to improve upon is directly from the customers’ mouth!

Not only do customer inquiries provide valuable feedback about products, services, and overall customer experience, they also can be a great source of data for future product development and new revenue streams.

By handling customer inquiries well, not only do you get to improve the overall satisfaction of the customer, but also gather data on where the businesses need to improve on to drive further growth.

💬 8 ways to respond to customer inquiries

1. Product Information Customer Inquiry:

Product Information Inquiry stands as a common quest for details about a specific product. Adept handling here involves delivering a thorough rundown of the product’s features, specifications, and pricing, coupled with a willingness to offer further clarification.

Common mistakes here is not asking the customers what they are looking for and deciphering the true intention first before answering, resulting often in a lost opportunity!

Characteristic:

Customer seeks details about a specific product

Example:

Customer asking whether the product has certain features or service package comes with certain add-ons

Best Responding Approach

  • Always ask about customer pain points to uncover needs and wants first, do not just respond without first understand what customers are looking for. For example, if the customer asks “what does the product do?”, instead of answering “our product does XYZ” and leave it at there, you can always follow up with a question such as “our product does XYZ, may i know what brings you here today and what interests you?”. This gives you the space to understand the customer’s point of interest and prepare you to make a sale later on.
  • After you have determine what your customer needs and his or her true desires, it is important provide the most comprehensive information about the product, including features, specifications, and pricing based on their request. However, rather than just giving information and facts, remember to highlight the benefits as well of the product to induce credibility and desire to purchase.
  • Last but not least, do not stop there after you have answered the question. Most people just respond to the inquiry and that is it! Stay curious about what the customer wants and offer assistance for further clarification is key to making a positive impression and also closing future sales down the line as well. It will pay off in the end!


2. Order Status Customer Inquiry:

Another prevalent inquiry revolves around Order Status. Here, customers seek real-time updates on the whereabouts of their orders. A responsive and efficient approach entails promptly checking the order status and furnishing the customer with precise information, often accompanied by a tracking link or an estimated delivery time for added convenience.

Common mistake here is just to give a one liner without any customer service or appearing to curt without being empathic, thereby making the customer feel like they are talking to a robot.

Characteristic:

Customer inquires about the status of their order.

Example:

Customer asking whether the product has been processed and is on the way for delivery.

Best Responding Approach

  • Quickly check and provide real-time updates on the order status. Offer a tracking link or estimated delivery time for additional convenience.
  • Do not linger too long for this type of inquiry or keep the customer waiting. They just want an answer in the most courteous tone possible.
  • If you are using any software solutions, it can also be automated via the Exabloom inbox manager.

3. Complaints and Issues Customer Inquiry:

Complaints and Issues type of customer inquiry form another category, requiring a delicate touch in the customer service and also thinking on the feet. Swift acknowledgment of the problem, a sincere apology, and the proposition of a viable solution constitute the best handling practices, all the while ensuring empathy permeates the response.

Characteristic:

Customer expresses dissatisfaction or reports a problem.

Example:

Customer highlighting certain defects about the product and asks for a fix

Best Responding Approach:

  • First, always seek to solve the problem in this case. Customer can be quick to forgive once you are able to identify the root cause of the problem and solve it effectively.
  • Rather than diverting the blame, the best scenario here is to acknowledge the issue promptly, apologize if it is the brand at fault, and offer a solution or resolution.
  • Most people who are responding to the customer freeze up when they realized that it is a complaint. The best mindset to apply here is to see it as an opportunity to deepen the relationship rather than seeing it as a blame game.

4. Technical Support Customer Inquiry:

Technical Support Inquiries demand a tech-savvy and patient response. Guiding the customer through troubleshooting steps or directing them to relevant resources exhibits a commitment to resolving the issue at hand.

Characteristic:

Customer seeks technical assistance or troubleshooting.

Example:

Customer asking for clarification when he or she is unsure of how to operate the product to achieve the desired result

Best Responding Approach:

  • Provide step-by-step guidance, troubleshooting tips, or direct the customer to relevant resources.
  • Offer assistance until the issue is resolved.
  • To save time here, always have a FAQ document that is ready to be sent to the customer based on their inquiry. You can always send the FAW document as a first response and see if the customer can figure it out first before hopping onto a zoom call due to limited time.
  • If all else fails, then respond promptly with a zoom call or visit to resolve the problem for the customer. This way, not only do you save costs and time on customer inquiries, but also help your customers to achieve immense satisfaction in choosing you as well.

5. Return and Refund Request Customer Inquiry:

The realm of customer inquiries extends to Return and Refund Requests, where customers express their desire to return a product or seek a refund. The optimal handling approach involves a clear communication of the return/refund process, along with efficient processing and regular updates on the status.

Characteristic:

Customer wishes to return a product or requests a refund.

Example:

Customer initiated a refund request after purchasing the product due to an unpleasant experience

Best Responding Approach:

  • Clearly communicate the return/refund process, including any required steps or documentation.
  • Process the request efficiently and update the customer on the status.
  • In the case dispute, weighing the situation is extremely important.

6. Subscription or Account Customer Inquiry:

Subscription or Account Inquiries necessitate a secure and comprehensive response. Verifying customer details and offering information on subscription, billing, or account status is paramount. Providing assistance in modifying account details adds a layer of service excellence.

Characteristic:

Customer has questions regarding their subscription or account.

Example:

Customer switched from a monthly subscription to an annual subscription and asked about the discount rate

Best Responding Approach:

  • Verify the customer’s details securely and provide information on their subscription, billing, or account status.
  • Offer assistance in updating or modifying account details as needed.

7. Feedback and Suggestions Customer Inquiry:

respond to customer inquiry - feedback inquiry

Feedback and Suggestions often grace the customer service arena, remember that when this happens, it is a good sign. When customers take the time to give you feedback and suggestions, it means that they to some degree have enjoyed the product and service, and is invested enough to give you feedback on areas of improvenment.

Whether it be positive feedback or constructive criticism, an appreciative acknowledgment, coupled with an indication of any actions taken based on the feedback, can fortify the customer-business relationship.

Characteristic:

Customer provides feedback or suggests improvements.

Example:

Customer suggests certain features to be added into the product in order to have a smoother experience

Best Responding Approach:

  • Whenever a feedback is being received, always express appreciation for the feedback, whether positive or negative first.
  • Acknowledge any areas for improvement and communicate any actions taken based on the feedback.
  • Ask for the reason behind the feedback to understand the underlying motive of the customer and see how you can improve
  • Whenever possible, try to incorporate the feedback into the service or product to make it better the next time!

8. Shipping and Delivery Customer Inquiry:

respond to customer inquiry - shipping and delivery inquiry

The shipping and delivery customer Inquiry is a familiar query regarding shipping methods and delivery timelines. An adept response involves clear communication of shipping options, estimated delivery times, and any associated costs. Providing tracking information and proactively addressing concerns about delivery delays adds a proactive touch to the customer experience.

Characteristic:

Customer inquires about shipping methods or delivery timelines.

Example:

Customer asked about the shipping options and how long can the product reached his or address based on her location.

Best Responding Approach:

  • Clearly communicate shipping options, estimated delivery times, and any associated costs.
  • Provide tracking information and address any concerns about delivery delays proactively.
  • For this customer inquiry type, do not linger or excessively drag the conversation, short is sweet here!

❌ Common mistakes made for respond to customer inquiries (With Examples)

Given its dynamic nature, while there are no right answers to handling customer inquiries, there are definitely wrong ones! Below are the list of common mistakes when it comes to customer inquiry:

1. Delayed responses:

respond to customer inquiry -  delayed response

credit:

In the realm of responding to customer inquiring, a common misstep is the failure to respond promptly to customer inquiries. Responding fast to customer inquiry is extremely important.

This oversight can have significant repercussions, as delays often breed customer frustration and contribute to a perception of subpar service. The consequence is that customers may start to feel neglected or unimportant, potentially eroding their trust in the business.

The remedy for this mistake lies in a strategic approach. By prioritizing timely responses, businesses can address customer inquiries promptly, mitigating the risk of frustration.

Setting clear expectations for response times and leveraging automation like Exabloom’s leads management dashboard further ensures that inquiries are managed efficiently, contributing to an overall positive customer experience. The key is to proactively address customer needs, reinforcing the importance of responsiveness in fostering strong and enduring customer relationships.


2. Lack of personalisation:

respond to customer inquiry -  personalization

Another frequent error in responding to customer inquiries involves generic and impersonal responses.

This misstep has profound negative consequences as customers highly value personalized interactions. When responses lack specificity and feel generic, customers may interpret this as a sign of being undervalued or that their individual concerns are not receiving due attention. Worst still, they might think that they are talking to a chatbot rather than human!

The corrective course of action lies in the art of personalization. Employing customer names, referencing particular details from their inquiry, and tailoring responses to individual circumstances are effective solutions.

By doing so, businesses can create a more engaging and customer-centric communication approach, ensuring that customers feel acknowledged, valued, and that their unique concerns are being thoughtfully addressed. This personal touch contributes significantly to building trust and fostering positive customer relationships.

3. Not looking for real motivation of the buyer when responding:

respond to customer inquiry -  finding out what they really want

Most responses when it comes to customer enquiries only answers the questions that the customer is asking. However, it would be much more effective if it is an interactive process whereby the sales person responding to the customer inquiry also seek to understand the motivation of the customer and the reason behind the inquiry so that he or she can gently guide the customer towards a sale.

For example, if the customer asks “does it come with the color red?”, instead of answering with a simple “yes” or “no”, a good response would be “yes, we do at the moment, may i know why is it important for the color to be red? Does it have a special meaning?”

By asking questions like this, it is possible for the sales person to know what is truly important to the customer and know the decision making criteria to move them towards a sale.

4. Failure to Follow Up:

respond to customer inquiry -  following up

A common lapse in responding to customer inquiries involves not following up with customers after an initial response. When this happens, customers often have feelings of being overlooked or that their concerns have been left unattended. Beyond that, it opens the door to unresolved issues and a heightened sense of dissatisfaction among customers.

To rectify this oversight, businesses can implement a systematic approach to customer follow-up. This involves establishing a structured system to ensure customers are kept informed about the next steps in the process.

Providing timely updates on the status of their inquiries not only addresses concerns but also demonstrates a commitment to ongoing engagement and resolution. In essence, proactive and consistent follow-up practices contribute significantly to a positive customer experience and the overall satisfaction of patrons.

4. Not responding in an empathetic manner:

respond to customer inquiry - responding with empathy

Sometimes, due to time crunch, it is understandable that we tend to respond in a manner that is only informational whereby we just give the customers the answers to whatever they asked for.

For example, when customer asks the question of “what is the price of the product?”, the common answer during time crunch would be just “$100.”

How unpleasant would that be if you are the customer! In this case, it would be better if we can exercise some empathy, and try to respond while thinking in the customers’ shoe. By practicing empathy, you would naturally start to answer in a way that is more pleasant that will drive customer satisfaction.

For example, in this case, a better answer might be “Thank you for your inquiry, the price is $100 for this model and we do have other models that are at different price points based on your needs, may i know what kind of products are you looking for so that i can better serve you?” (smiley face).

What a different (and better!) way to respond!

Conclusion:

Phew! That is a lot to know when it comes to responding to customer inquiry! Hope it is helpful, and may you enjoy success on your customer inquiry respond journey!