Any business in the world knows that the greatest service-providing companies are the ones that render the best customer experience. All successful companies know that success lies in their ability to transform dissatisfied customers into
satisfied ones and to let them know that it is in everyone’s best interest for you to keep it that way. This is even more important if you know for a fact that your company is deep in a market full of competitors who provide the same service as you do, rendering the best customer experience is where the true battle lie.
Being consumers ourselves, we know how a customer feels. We have waited in line, twiddled with the phone cord while the hold music played, and rolled our eyes while the customer service representative took his sweet time. According to Forbes’ 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement
Study, 96% of customers were willing to leave their current service due to bad service. That’s almost everyone! Meanwhile, NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 “Serial Switchers” report reveals that poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. That’s an increase of $13 billion since its last report in 2016. CEOs of companies large and small are now recognizing the importance of delivering a better customer service experience. That being said, here are some customer complaints that we have been hearing time and again that we really should try to avoid. “I’ve been on hold for an hour!”
Keeping dissatisfied customers waiting and putting them on hold is a customer experience turn-off. Like what has been said before, we have been customers ourselves and we know how staying on the line for a long time feels. Making the customer wait or putting her on hold for a long period is a sign of disrespect to her time and her complaint. What’s more, all the dissatisfaction and fury will just bubble up the longer you make the customer wait, and as soon as you come back to her, she will be livid. If putting the customer on hold is unavoidable, ensure that your representatives come back to them every minute and update them about the resolution of the customer issue. That way, the customer will not feel that he or she is being neglected.
“You are the fifth person I’ve talked to today!”
Passing the customer around is a form of customer neglect. Not only does this show that the receiving representative is disinterested, but it also shows that every representative who passed the caller off to someone else is disinterested in helping out. Every representative should do their utmost best to assist dissatisfied customers. If the problem is really out of the representative’s sphere of assistance, the representative should make certain that the proper person is reached. Your representative should be the one to find the correct agent and be able to explain to the receiving party a little bit about the problem before transferring the customer over.
“I want to talk to a real human!”
Automation is the future of customer service, and chatbots are just the technology to get us there. However, along with fast-paced solutions and precise problem-solving steps comes the problem of impersonal customer handling. Some customers prefer to talk to humans, and they will never let us hear the end of that. Remember that automation can only work if a human is behind it, giving the lifeless machine a human touch. Automation is not the end-all and be-all solution to the customer experience—it is only a part of it. Remember that your chatbot is a machine but your customers are not. Make sure that a human representative is there to consistently check and monitor customer interactions and your chatbot responses are assessed and updated regularly.
“I never felt like a human being”
What separates human emotion from animal emotion is that animals don’t have mixed emotions the way normal people do. It is our complex ability to understand and process feelings are that makes us unique—and this is why your customer experience representatives need to comprehend and respond to your customer’s feelings. We may have heard “put yourself in your customers’ shoes” too much in the customer experience stratosphere, but only because it’s very true. You would be frustrated too if your service did not work as you thought and your representative did not assist you the way you needed to be assisted. Empathy is the key, and coach your agents on how to express it. Teach them the golden rule:
treat others as you would like to be treated. “Stop selling me things!”
It never hurts to offer customers something new from your line of products to make their life easier—and also for your agents to earn a little more incentive on the side. However, a mistimed upsell produces dissatisfied customers. Product promotion in the middle of an unresolved customer issue may not be the best way to go about it. Instruct your representatives to time upsells and ensure that they have a deep knowledge of your services. Make an upsell a solution to a customer issue. Not only will the customer issue be resolved but your agent will have earned through an incentive. Everybody wins.
“He was rude to me!”
Dealing with rude customers is one thing, but dealing with a rude customer experience representative is a whole different ball game. Your agents should know that the expression ‘fighting fire with fire’ is not exactly the solution to a difficult customer conversation. At this point, allow your team leads to determine whether or not there is a deeper unresolved issue behind their representative’s rudeness. Perhaps the agent has personal issues that are affecting the work. This needs to be resolved so that the representative may be able to function properly.
“I didn’t understand what she was trying to say!”
Certain scripting needs to be established to keep representatives uniform and precise in their everyday interaction with customers. However, this does not give your agents an excuse to abandon all empathy and feeling. Your representatives should know that scripts are more of guidelines than actual text that should be read word for word. Your agents should still be able to personalize each call and they should inject humanity into the conversation.
“It sounded like they didn’t know what else to do”
There comes a point in every customer conversation that a resolution may or may not be reached. Whatever the outcome is, there is always a plan as to what to do next. Customers are turned off by certain phrases like “there’s nothing I can do” or “I’m afraid that’s the end of that.” Uttering these words may signal the end of a good customer chat, and you may expect a dissatisfied survey soon after. Ensure that your agents can formulate an action plan for the customer before the call is ended, especially if the issue remains unresolved. That way, your representatives are assured that they will look more confident in front of their customers as they will be able to display a vast knowledge about their job.
He told me that they were going to _________ but they didn’t”
Nothing breaks a heart like a broken promise. This is why representatives are advised not to make any, especially if the chances of delivering on a promise are slim. The only thing that an agent can make an assurance of is the service that they will render to the customer. Anything else beyond that, like resolutions that are out of your representative’s hands, is a promissory taboo.
The key to an amazing customer experience is listening to the customer, understanding their needs, responding appropriately, creating great conversation, and acting to resolve their issue. While empathy is still the most important part of any customer conversation, backing up a good conversation with a working action plan is still the best way to delight a customer.