5 ways you’re absolutely infuriating your customers


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Image from Death to the Stock Photo
Image from Death to the Stock Photo
Everyone thinks theirs is great, but the majority disappoint. (Customer service, that is.) The truth is, in the age of the empowered consumer, customer service is struggling. Some 80% of companies assert that they deliver “superior” customer service… only 8% of their patrons agree.

For the most part, then, it would seem that many businesses aren’t even aware that they’re not up to scratch on the service front. What do you think – are you guilty of poor service? Here’s 5 ways you might be infuriating your customers…

1. Leaving them hanging on the telephone

Blondie called it all the way back in 1978: hanging on the telephone is the worst. According to a recent survey, 25% of customers switch purely because they’re tired of being kept on hold. And you can understand why – few things are more annoying than sitting listening to overly chirpy elevator music while a cold, recorded voice repeats: “Your call is important to us. Thank you for waiting.”

Takeaway tip: Stop relying on telephone. Seriously, stop. Focus on the front end here by ensuring your site contains clear, detailed information and comes with a user-friendly self-service option. Even better, invest in a live chat solution so your agents can handle multiple queries at once and in real-time. Your resource problems might not be solved altogether, but they’ll be massively alleviated.

2. Ignoring them on social media

Let’s look at some stats. Over 50% of Twitter users expect a response in 2 hours or less – and that’s substantially shorter than most companies’ response windows. 57% of customers have to switch from web to phone in order to get answers, which can increase churn rates by 15%. So, customers are using social media to reach out – and they’re getting snubbed. Pretty infuriating, wouldn’t you say?

Takeaway tip: Simple – keep communication within the customer’s comfort zone. If they’ve reached out via social media, reply via social media. And if you’re worried about missing messages, invest in a social media monitoring tool. It’ll be worth it for the surge in customer satisfaction, we promise.

3. Failing to know your stuff

“Umm… sorry… I don’t really know, let me just ask someone…” Brilliant way to get your customers gritting their teeth and fighting back exasperation. Want to know how often customer service agents fail to answer customer questions? 50% of the time. (Or so says Harris Interactive research). Customers are getting in touch because they want information, not because they enjoy the sound of an agent ‘umm’ing and ‘ahh’ing and want to get put on hold for ten minutes of their day.

Takeaway tip: Employee training can’t be underestimated. But to avoid those embarrassing “I don’t know” moments, you could also try skills-based routing. With an advanced support desk solution, all your support requests can automatically get sent to the right employee with the right knowledge.

4. Dithering over decision-making

You know what exacerbates the frustration of an unhappy customer? A long wait. The customer has already spent time reaching out with their issue, and they don’t want to spend even more time waiting around for a resolution. 67% of customer churn could be prevented if the issue is resolved quickly, at first engagement. And if you resolve even a serious complaint in the customer’s favour, they’ll do business with you again 70% of the time.

Takeaway tip: Empower your agents. At Timpson, for example, store managers have the authority to spend up to £500 to resolve a customer complaint, without having to request permission from ‘above’. That way, they nip dissatisfaction in the bud before it escalates – and they retain their customers in the process.

5. Making them sound like a broken record

Let’s say a customer has called your contact centre. They’ve waited in line, they’ve jumped through identification hoops and they’ve finally got through to a live person. Next, they’ve spent several minutes explaining their problem – only to get put back on hold while you transfer them over to the right person… who they have to repeat their issue to all over again. It’s frustrating just reading that, isn’t it? And believe it or not, it happens to 72% of customers who report a bad customer service experience.

Takeaway tip: Make the switch to digital. With an omni-channel digital contact centre, not only will you be stepping away from costly reliance on telephone, you’ll also avoid the issue of repetition. Live chat software can direct the query to the correct operator via automatic keyword recognition, and all that ticket information will be recorded to prevent your customers becoming parrots.

So, have you committed any of these service sins? 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on customer experience in 2016 – making it the next battleground. It’s time for everyone to up their game.

Roxanne Abercrombie
I like sugary tea, Arnold Schwarzenegger and quality copywriting. (Not necessarily in that order). You can find me at Parker Software as Online Content Manager.


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