Five customer service mistakes that drive you crazy
Darryl Hardidge identifies the five key areas of customer service that generate the most common complaints, and the best ways to prevent them from happening. We all work hard for our money, so when it comes to spending it we expect a certain level of customer service. But as you know, we don’t always get it and […]
Darryl Hardidge identifies the five key areas of customer service that generate the most common complaints, and the best ways to prevent them from happening.
We all work hard for our money, so when it comes to spending it we expect a certain level of customer service. But as you know, we don’t always get it and that creates a degree of disappointment: “why is it that they just don’t seem to care that I selected them today”.
Whether it’s splashing out for a special dinner, buying a new car, or booking in for a new haircut, we’re often faced with frustrating buying experiences that let us down.
But it’s what they do about it that counts.
From conducting hundreds of thousands of phone-based surveys on customer experience across a range of industries, I’ve identified the five key areas that generate the most common complaints. They are:
1. Communication: This is by far the most significant; calls/emails aren’t answered as expected. The frequency isn’t enough, and customers have to follow up with the business when it should be the other way around. Miscommunication and confusion cause a lot of wasted time, when all of it could have been avoided.
Solution; Make it a rule that a customer never has to contact you twice for the same reason; involve your team in the solution as they have the experience to fix the issues.
2. Knowledge: A lack of training and awareness of what’s required and not ensuring the responsibility of being able to give the correct advice. This leaves customers in a predicament they didn’t expect, and always costs. A few wasted hours can be very expensive to a customer.
Solution; Train your team to have the experience required to be a champion of knowledge; make sure there is an experienced mentor to support them until they are competent.
3. Efficiency: The impact of being inefficient has a deep and lasting effect. This is often due to systems and procedures not being optimised. Have you ever been messed around from a bad process or attitude and in that moment decided you aren’t ever going back? Think telcos, banks, energy and automotive companies.
Solution; You must have the ability to measure optimal efficiency and then predict how to achieve it. How often do you review your procedures around customer service? Always involve your team to design service excellence.
4. Delivery: Often the last point of a transaction and the real human experience of a company. So many businesses fail to ensure their delivery team are clear on the vital importance of this touchpoint. Have you ever had a purchase where it all seems terrific and then at the very end the delivery process crashes your whole experience?
Solution; Train your delivery team to be the custodians of customer experience and understand their critical importance in being the face of the company. Provide basic sales and customer service training to all your delivery team.
5. Price: There is one undisputable relationship around price – the relationship between service experience and the price tag. If your service experience is very high, customers are happy to pay a premium. If the experience is low, then it better be cheap or why else should I buy from you? Ask any person loyal to their hairdresser if they can find a cheaper one. The answer is always yes, but it’s the service excellence that keeps you there. Otherwise if the skill was comparable, you’d go to the cheaper option.
Solution; You must become a value driven customer service model to optimise margin. If you don’t then it’s all about your price tag. Research your customers to discover what they value about your company that’s not about price.
The funny thing is, the most common complaints from customers are often quite easy to resolve. In fact, most could have easily been avoided in the first place, if only the focus was on the outcome rather than just doing what has to be done now. I know a business that lives by the mantra ‘we haven’t mastered our service with a customer until they personally refer a friend to us’. This is a true commitment to excellence as they always focus into the future to first ensure their customer returns. Whilst this can be hard to deliver on, at least they know they’ll have loyal customers like you and me.
Darrell Hardidge (pictured) is a customer experience strategy expert and CEO of customer research company Saguity, specialising in driving revenue growth from customer appreciation. Darrell is also the author of The Client Revolution and The 10 Commandments of Client Appreciation. To find out more, visit www.saguity.com