Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
How many times have you heard a friend or relative say “I had a terrible experience with [a company or brand]?” Well remember that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as a praise for good service, and that’t not good news for companies. Customer support teams may assume that they are providing excellent service to your customers, however would your customers agree to that? A little mishap and customers are easily convinced that a company doesn’t care for their needs. It won’t take long before a customer turns into a detractor due to a bad experience. I am sure you’d agree that there are already enough reasons that trips a customer. Let’s try not to give customers any of the following reasons, lest you’d like them to believe that you really don’t care about customer experience:
1. Sorry, Not Sorry
If you know you have poor service, change it! Don’t hire an apologist.
However, I must give these guys credit for publicly admitting their issue.
Four decades ago Elton John wrote the lyrics:
“What do I do to make you want me
What have I got to do to be heard
What do I say when it’s all over
And sorry seems to be the hardest word”
He implied that sorry is the hardest word for anyone to say. Maybe in 1976 it was. Want to hear someone apologise today, simply pick up your phone and call a 1800 customer support number. They’ll ‘sincerely apologise’ before you even state your concern. It’s almost like they are tuned to blurt out that one phrase.
If you realise that your customer representatives say sorry too often, without further action this could potentially be injurious to your customer experience and relationships. Yes, it is always the first step when you receive a call or a complaint on one of your customer support platforms, however, numerous companies fail to take it to the next step.
Say it like you mean it. Some customers call in angry, disappointed, confused or fearful. Don’t go into an apology mode where you sympathise for your customer. Put yourself in their shoes, empathise with them. Take the problem as your own and be prepared to resolve it. Don’t be afraid to offer them a compensation or stay on the call with them until the problem has been resolved. After all, they don’t have many other options and if you aren’t there to help, your competitor is.
2. Lag in response times
Respond immediately. Whether it is a social media comment or a phone call. Don’t force the customer to repeat his/her complaint/feedback. It’s alright if you don’t have an immediate resolution, but by ensuring that you are getting on it immediately will placate even the angriest customer. Therefore, in your initial response, provide the customer with a realistic date for when their issue will get resolved. This will help your company manage expectations and put a lid on further negative experience.
If you are anything like me, you don’t appreciate the auto-acknowledgement email sent within a minute of registering a feedback with your service provider. It is impersonal, it says “This is an auto-generated email…”, and it doesn’t help you anyways! No doubt such auto-emails are a boon for businesses, but there is a huge gap in communication over there. Make your auto-responders more personal, and, along with providing an estimated turnaround time, share the name of the service rep who will call to help the customer resolve the issue. This establishes a personal connect and the customer is already expecting your service rep’s response when he calls.
3. Inaccessible customer support
What different ways can your customers access you, when they have a problem or would like to know more about something? If your answer to that was ‘we have a state of the art call centre, with well-trained employees,’ then I would require you to take a step into 2016. In this era, customers don’t like calling a a customer service centre and get transferred from department to department with that horrendous wait music; until eventually the call gets dropped.
Today, there are so many ways that a company can interact with their customers. Social media, email and even live chat. Have all these channels established in your company and well-trained, responsive employees to handle such channels. Everyone has a social media account today and they’d rather tweet about their problem than email or call. Sometimes, customers need more information about a product and don’t want to waste their time on a call. Facilitate a live chat where customers can easily interact with your company and resolve a doubt.
4. Lack of follow up
After having responded to a complaint, feedback or even after a purchase, don’t forget to follow up. Customers want to know that you are and will be there with them throughout their journey with your brand. One slip in your interaction or relation with them and you may lose them forever. They may also bad-mouth your company to a great extent.
You have not closed the loop unless you ensure that the customer’s issue or feedback has been resolved or responded to satisfactorily. Reach out to your customers personally when following up. A personalised approach lets the customer know that you value their needs and place their opinions first.
In conclusion, the definition of a bad experience always comes from the customer, your company doesn’t define what is a bad experience. Always look at the problem from the customers standpoint. And finally, never let your customers believe that you don’t care about their experience!