Customer service is the voice of a business. It’s who we speak to when we call the phone number on the website or the bottom of that letter. Customer service staff represent the businesses that they work for in the most crucial way. They are often the first person a customer speaks to and certainly the ones dealing with any problems.
We had the unfortunate experience of being on the receiving end of bad customer service here at Go Websites only a few weeks ago. We had an urgent job that we were relying on a trusted company to deliver for and it all went wrong at the worst possible time.
Now we all know that things sometimes go wrong; it happens. In the end it turned out to be a broken machine that had delayed our order (and no doubt a lot of other people’s too), but it was the bad customer service and lack of communication that was so frustrating. It took six hours, 3 outbound phone calls and one live chat to get the information we so desperately needed about the delay to our order.
I had to repeatedly chase our order and each time I got through to someone I had to explain all over again why I was calling and go over what the previous person had told me. It was incredibly frustrating and no one called back or emailed when they assured us they would.
The whole fiasco got me thinking about how often people experience bad customer service. I know it happens to me on a regular basis and usually has me going off in search of a business that can do better.
Is Your Bad Customer Service Losing You Customers?
Customer retention is a big priority for most companies, since attracting a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining a current one.
As we move towards 2020, more and more people are focusing on customer experience over price or product. They are more likely to stay with a business due to the experience they receive rather than anything else.
Recent statistics show that 56 per cent of people around the world have stopped doing business with a company because of a poor customer service experience. That figure alone should make you sit up and take notice. But if you need a little more motivation, here are some other statistics to ponder:
- 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand
- 47% of consumers have made the choice to switch to a different brand due to bad customer service within the last year
86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience
- Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%
- 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago. This percentage jumps to 66% for consumers aged from 18 to 34 years old
What Can You Do To Increase Customer Loyalty?
Millennials expect more. But it’s not true that they lack brand loyalty. However they do expect a different kind of customer experience than their predecessors and social media plays a big part in this. By its very nature, social media is immediate and you need to keep up with this in order to satisfy customer expectations.
Overall, 43 per cent of customers expect social channels to be integrated with other customer service channels. If you have a social media platform but aren’t monitoring it for queries then you could be losing customers. For example 53% of customers expect a response within one hour from a brand on Twitter.
Whether it’s a phone call, email, tweet or live chat, customers expect their needs to be met with the same efficiency and skill. But despite the increase in other forms of communication, phone calls still account for 68 per cent of customer contact overall. If your customer service is letting down your customers then you need to know why.
In order to give your customers the experience they want, you need to have the procedures and training in place so that your staff can do just that. Bad customer service stems from bad organisation so you need to tackle the problem at its root.
When I called that company from the beginning of this article, all they had to do in order to give me a good customer service experience was cover the three points below. Remember, we aren’t talking about the problem itself, just the customer service related to it.
- Call me back within the hour they stated on my first call
- Tell me that my order was delayed due to a machine breakdown
- Tell me when my order would be delivered
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it should have been. The customer service representative I spoke to on my first call should have been made aware of the machine malfunction that morning. But she hadn’t been because the procedure to do so hadn’t been adhered to somewhere along the line.
It’s all very well having the procedures in place, but if your staff don’t follow them, or not everyone follows them, then the procedures break down and you get negative repercussions, such as unsatisfied customers who decide to go elsewhere for their requirements.
It can be time-consuming to initiate procedures; trust me, we know from first-hand experience. But it’s worth it in the long run to take the time to write them up, train your staff and get those processes and procedures working for you and your customers.
One of the best ways to incentivise your staff is to introduce a games based system. This can be something as simple as a leaderboard to see who can get the most positive reviews of their customer service. The reward can be a trophy that changes hands once a month, a reward voucher or even a bonus based scheme.
“If a thing is useful they call it work, if useless they call it play. One is as hard as the other. One can be just as much a game as the other. In both there is rivalry. There’s a struggle to excel the rest. All the difference I see lies in attitude of mind.”
Claude C. Hopkins – ‘My Life in Advertising’ and ‘Scientific Advertising’