How to Fix Bad Customer Service: The $54,000 Question

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Bad customer service experiences don’t just impact one customer. The costs of bad service compounds as poorly trained agents continue to make critical mistakes in the customer relationship.

According to a new study by New York Times bestselling authors, Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield bad customer service experiences cost the average company $54,511 annually per employee.

The study, which surveyed 991 respondents, found that bad customer service is a widespread problem for B2B and B2C organizations, and employee silence isn¹t costing companies¹ big money. The study found:

  • A typical employee witnesses 19 poor customer-service incidentsper year
  • 66% of employeessay they are capable of helping solve the customer¹s problem.
  • However, only 7 %of employees can be counted on to always speak up when witnessing an incident of poor customer service.

As part of the study Grenny and Maxfield shares six tips for how companies can create a culture where employees feel empowered to speak up and confront incidents of poor service.

  1. Talk face-to-face. If possible, speak to them in person and privately.
  2. Assume the best of others. It’s possible the person is unaware of what they’re doing. Begin the conversation as a curious friend.
  3. Talk tentatively. Begin to describe the problem with, “I’m not sure you intended this…” or “I’m not sure you’re aware of this…”
  4. Start with facts. Not only are conclusions possibly wrong, but also they create defensiveness. Say, “When that customer said they disagreed with you, you said…”
  5. Ask for others’ views. Ask if they saw the issue differently. “Is that what you intended to say?”
  6. Use equal treatment. This applies to everyone, regardless of title or position. People deserve to be treated with respect.

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