Did you know that 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service? This is a clear indication that customer service has evolved from a traditional back-end cost center to a brand focused profit center.
Customer support needs to be elevated to the realization that every business process starts and ends with customer satisfaction in mind. It’s a culture, not an event. An ideology, rather than an isolated action.
For businesses that realize its power, customer service can be a strategic weapon, a powerful unique selling proposition. It’s crucial that you get customer interaction right the first time itself, and grow the relationship over subsequent interactions.
In this article, I’ll reveal five costly things that your customer support should stop doing to a customer.
Question a customer’s perception of the product.
“The customer’s perception is your reality.” – Kate Zabriskie
Always remember that your customer does not know the product as well as you do. If he expects your product to perform in a certain manner, there can be numerous reasons behind it, such as: (a) your marketing folks promised too much, or (b) your competitor has that feature.
Be patient when the customer asks for something. Communicate that you will find a way to accommodate the request along with the steps you plan to take. It will make your customer feel more involved. Remember: if you’re on the receiving end of a complaint, the finest approach is to listen with patience and understand the issue.
Fail to be consistent across channels.
“Knowledge management is the one investment that consistently pays back.” – Jeff Lundal, Oracle
A customer service agent talking to a customer over the phone is, more often than not – unaware of the interactions that took place on other channels (e.g. social media). The change can start with building an omni-channel knowledge base which can be accessed by agents across channels.
If a customer calls customer service, and the agent is able to quote the comment the customer posted on Twitter 6 months prior, it will definitely leave a lasting impression. It’s a great way to communicate that you are listening, that you care. It builds trust.
Leave customer conversations open.
Leaving a customer email, or a tweet, unanswered is one of the worst things that a business can do to a customer. The customer is sure to get offended if he sends an email and it goes into blank space. It’s one of the easiest ways to lose even the most loyal of customers.
In my last four years of talking to customers, I have always ensured that the last email on the thread is from me. It’s a great rule of thumb to live by. American Express does this well on Twitter, ensuring all customer concerns are answered in a timely manner with a friendly and personal response, signed by the employee who tweets.
Overpromise on problem solving.
Don’t commit to deadlines you cannot meet. This will only add to a customer’s lament when you can’t deliver. A better approach is to tell customers up front that a service might take a certain time frame and then look good when the job takes less time than promised.
A customer would rather be pleasantly surprised than hit with disappointment. This is how people respond to broken promises:
Promise made – Yay! Warm fuzzies all over.
Promise broken – I am never doing business with you again. In fact, I will tell all my friends to never do business with you!
Being unfamiliar with the product and the UI.
Make your customer service team a part of your product sprints. Agents should be aware of, not only, the current features, but also the features that the company is building.
It’s important that an agent can talk about a feature-in-the-making when a customer talks of an unmet need. It’s equally important for the agent to have a good working knowledge of the UI, or user interface. This will eliminate any disparate information going out and make sure your customers find the answers they need.
Ensure that you avoid the bad practices outlined above. Happy customers become repeat customers!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Harsh Vardhan is the Head of Marketing at GrexIt, an app the lets you share Gmail labels with other Gmail users. He’s an avid reader, a backpacker, and a rock music aficionado. Connect with @harshvgehlot and @grexit on Twitter.
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