What Frustrates Customers Most?

When calling in for customer service, we all have our own individual pet peeves.  For example, some people do not like being put on hold, while others may have trouble with voice recognition systems.  There are many possible things that can turn a consumer off and create a negative impression of the company.

Consumer Tipping Points, a recent benchmarking survey released by ClickFox, indicates the things that create the most frustration for people seeking customer service.

#1.  Having to speak with multiple agents and start over every time (42%):  It is bad enough having to explain your problem in the first place, but being forced to regurgitate the situation to numerous different agents is the single most frustrating thing, according to nearly half of all consumers surveyed.  This commonly happens when the initial agent does not have the ability to resolve the issue, and must escalate the case to a different support level.  Often, he or she will do a cold transfer, which is simply sending the caller on to another agent, essentially starting from scratch.  A more effective solution would be a warm transfer, where the initial agent outlines the problem to the next agent before connecting the caller.  This way, the new agent already has a good handle on the situation, and the caller does not have to repeat him or herself, thus avoiding a lot of unnecessary frustration.  An alternate solution would be to increase the level of training and expertise for front line customer service representatives.  This would give them the ability to solve more problems, thereby reducing the number of different support levels required, and lowering the overall number of transfers in general.

#2.  Being kept on hold for long periods of time or not getting the problem resolved on the first try (17%):  Time is valuable to everyone, and people have better things to do than be kept waiting on the phone.  A customer service call should function like an efficient fast-food drive-thru.  You drive up to the order station (place the call), order your food (explain the problem), pick your meal up at the window (the agent resolves the problem), and drive away (hang up).  Keeping the customer waiting for extended periods during any point of this process can be very annoying.  Also, a customer service representative who does not resolve the issue during the first call would be like a drive-thru attendant forgetting the French fries, forcing the person to go through the drive-thru all over again.

#3.  Rude or inexperienced representatives or difficulty navigating a website (13%):  This one is a no brainer.  Dealing with rude or unpleasant people is never enjoyable, and speaking with agents who do not know what they are doing is not much fun either.  This problem can be remedied by taking the time and effort to hire genuinely nice, friendly people, and by providing adequate training for customer service agents.  Getting the right people in place and getting them prepared for the job will also help cut back on employee turnover, which can be a huge problem in the call center industry.  The other part of this response, difficulty navigating a website, is also very important because visiting the company website is often one of the very first ways that people interact with a business.  Being turned off by an unattractive or convoluted web page may end up deterring many potential customers.  The most effective corporate websites have a clear and logical design, where relevant information is easy to find.

#4.  Frequent service interruptions, or not being understood by IVR/speech recognition applications (12%):  When you pay for something, you expect it to work.  After all, you are giving them your hard-earned money.  It is not unreasonable to expect consistent and reliable service.  However, when it does come time to contact the customer support center, it sometimes can be a chore simply to reach the right person.  A well-designed IVR menu that incorporates some speech recognition can be an effective way to direct callers to the appropriate departments, but a poorly designed system that results in having to constantly repeat answers or that sends callers to the wrong departments, can be hair-pullingly frustrating.

#5.  Long windows to wait for a service technician, and fee/price increases (6%):  Most people have busy schedules, and making someone wait around for an entire morning or afternoon for the repair-person to show up can be a huge hassle.  This is especially frustrating in cases where the technician is unable to make it, and the service appointment needs to be rescheduled for another day, thus wasting even more time for the customer.  The frustration associated with fee/price increases is self-explanatory.  People like to get good value for their money, and frequent cost jumps will urge them towards considering terminating the current service in favor of a competitor.

Understanding the most common sources of customer service frustration is extremely important for all contact centers, both outsourced and in house.  Only by knowing and measuring these key issues can steps be taken to fix the underlying problems, and deliver a better overall customer experience.

So, what do you think is the most frustrating thing about customer service?

 

Building Loyalty Through Customer Service

Keeping customers happy is more important than ever before.

The logic is pretty simple.  Receiving exceptional customer service makes people feel good about a company, which in turn makes them more likely to be loyal to that company in the future.

In fact, in many cases a good customer service team can be even more powerful for building loyalty than continually delivering a good product or service.  A study by Marketing Metrics indicated that if a company consistently delivered its product or service without any problems, customer loyalty would be approximately 60-70%; that is, existing customers would be about 60-70% likely to keep buying their current brand of product or staying with their current service provider if nothing else changed.  However, if instead the company screwed up somehow (I.e. service interruption, defective product, etc.) but fixed its mistake through excellent customer service (I.e. immediately acknowledging the problem and quickly resolving the issue to the customer’s satisfaction), customer loyalty levels increased up to 95%!

People don’t expect companies to be perfect, but they really admire the ones that care enough about their customers to admit their mistakes and provide superior service to fix problems.

But why is customer loyalty so important?

One big reason is that people are simply becoming less and less tolerant of poor service these days.  The Harris Interactive Customer Experience Impact Report indicates that 86% of consumers have quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, which is up from 59% just four years ago.  This is important because losing customers is expensive!  It has been estimated that it costs about five times as much to acquire a brand new customer than it takes to retain an existing one.

The deterioration of a company’s reputation due to poor customer service is another important consideration.  According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about his or her experience.  Plus, with the proliferation of social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+, this number can be even higher, causing more potential damage to a company’s brand.  This trend can also work in a company’s favor, however, as happy customers will generally tell 4 to 6 other people about their positive customer experiences.

The bottom line is that customer loyalty matters, especially in our modern economy where people have more choices than ever before.  People will not be shy about taking their business elsewhere, so companies must focus more and more on keeping their customers happy if they want to remain competitive.  Delivering great customer service is no longer the exception… it’s the rule.

Outsourcing your contact center operations to a highly qualified customer service provider like Tacamor can get you on the right track towards keeping your customers happy and building loyalty.  It might even save you money, too!  Request a quote today to find out how Tacamor can help your business.

Random Words of Kindness

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the things that are most appreciated.

It doesn’t always take something major to make a person feel good.  Little things like holding a door open, helping someone pick up a dropped coin, or even a simple smile can make a person feel on top of the world.

The same is true for customers.  Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and a kind remark here and there by a customer service agent can go a long way towards building a stronger relationship between a company and its customers.

Of course, delivering quick and effective customer service is usually the best way to keep callers happy, but a random word of kindness can be the icing on the cake that really strengthens the bond with the caller, and makes him or her feel special and appreciated.

There are many different things you can say to customers to make them feel good.  Some possibilities could be:

“I notice that you have been a customer of ours for ____ years.  I would just like to thank you for your business.  We really appreciate it!”

This indicates that the company does not take the customer’s business for granted, making him or her feel valued.

“I see that you also called us last month about another issue.  How did that go?  Did everything get resolved okay?”

This comment demonstrates a level of caring and concern on behalf of the company for its customers, and a commitment to high quality service.

“You have been one of the nicest callers I’ve had all day.  It has been an absolute pleasure dealing with you.”

This type of comment singles out the person in a good way, making him or her feel special compared to everyone else.

“I see that you’re on the __________ plan.  That’s a great choice.  I love that plan because _______________________.”

This statement indicates that the caller made a good decision, making him or her feel smart about that choice.  A personal endorsement by the agent also helps to further promote the company’s offerings.

In each case, these types of remarks help to build upon the overall customer service experience for a caller.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much to delight a person, and little statements like these can help to create (and maintain) customer loyalty, which should be a primary goal for any business.

Tacamor customer service agents can increase customer loyalty for your company.  Get in touch today to find out what we can do for you!

12 Customer Service Tips for the 12 Days of Christmas

Red christmas bulbHere at Tacamor, we are committed to providing great customer service throughout all 365 days of the year.  However, as the holiday season approaches, we would like to provide twelve extra special tips that can help you to deliver the best customer care possible during the busy holiday rush.

1. Don’t forget to breathe!  Seriously.  You may have a lot of information to communicate, but blurting it all out in a rush may make the caller feel overwhelmed and confused.  Sometimes it’s a good idea to pause, take a deep breath, and let an idea sink in before continuing on with the rest of your explanation.

2. Try to vary the tone of your voice.  Talking in a dull monotone throughout a call gives the impression that you are not interested and is a sure way to put the caller to sleep.  Changing up your voice to emphasize certain words will make you sound more interesting and engaged.

3. Be patient.  As a customer service agent, you are an expert on your client’s services.  However, most callers probably do not have your level of expertise, and may not understand something after the first explanation.  Be patient, and if he or she does not understand, try to explain it again in different words.

4. It’s okay to ask for help.  We all try to be as prepared as possible, but sometimes an issue may come up that you have no idea how to resolve.  In that case, it is okay to get some help from your supervisor, team lead, or co-workers.  Getting assistance is always a better idea than trying to pretend you know the answer when you really do not.

5. Be forgiving.  The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people.  If a caller snaps at you, don’t take it personally and remember that he or she may be under a lot of pressure.  Remain calm and professional, and definitely don’t snap back.

6. Listen carefully.  People need to know that they are being heard and understood.  Listen carefully, don’t interrupt, and really try to understand exactly what callers are saying so you do not have to ask them to repeat themselves.

7. Spread the love.  The holiday season is a time of joy.  Let the people around you know that you appreciate them by performing small, random acts of kindness.

8. Think positively.  When presented with a challenge, don’t dwell on negative things, but instead concentrate on what you can do to make the situation better.  This applies both at work and at home.

9. Be a chameleon!  No two customer service calls are ever completely identical.  Call center agents need to be able to adapt to the particular circumstances of each individual call and change their communication style accordingly.

10. Mind your Ps and Qs.  Including simple niceties like “please” and “thank-you” in your conversations can go a long way towards making people feel respected.

11. Clear your mind.  Lunch and coffee breaks are great opportunities to get re-energized for the rest of the workday.  Make the most of your breaks by doing something that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, like reading a newspaper article or going for a brief walk.

12. Do your best and forget the rest!  When you give your best effort, it’s always enough.  Don’t focus too much on things you cannot control.

Tacamor would like to wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season!  To all our clients, employees, family and friends, thank you so much and we hope you enjoy the holidays!

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