Sensitivity to the consumer/customer’s time should be at the center if companies want to address their concerns and complaints
It is working as designed…There is nothing I can do for you…I am sorry but that’s our policy…Our rep will contact you…
Sounds familiar right..you bet! If you ever have been indulged in conversation with customer reps regarding the faulty product and / or services you must have had come across these lines…
So what are we talking here; we’re talking about a very sensitive issue involving ‘Customer Satisfaction’. And which not only applies to B2C but also to B2B services and / or products.
There have been very few organization who have done it pretty successfully; the likes of Apple, Xerox, Zappos – to name a few.
Why is it so difficult to manage a customer? Probably a million dollar question!
You need a strategy to handle customer – Well start by developing the ability to listen to the them.
By the way what Organizations get as a part of achieving Customer Loyalty?
To understand this let’s first see what exactly Customer Loyalty mean:
Customer loyalty is the feeling of attachment or affection for a company’s products, people or services.
The measure of loyalty is actually the share of purchases in the specific category. For example in the restaurant business, as John Martin Taco Bell president and CEO says, it is “share of stomach.” For a Social Networking Site it is Ad revenue, for automobile business it is the share of a garage….
But in order to achieve this loyalty; how far you should go?
Not too far…just solve their problem! That’s it!
What customer really wants (but rarely ever get) is simply a satisfactory solution to their problem.
Try and address the emotional side of the interaction, listen to the ‘Noise’ coming out from customer, learn from it, and focus always on problem solving and Not on speed with which it is solved.
Personally I feel we should train our Customer reps on not to exceed customer’s expectations, but to “Make it easy for customers’ which eventually means “Remove obstacles”!
Ask yourself as a customer; what exactly is the issue that you face while going through a customer rep; I can count these:
- Need to contact company repeatedly or being transferred to get one issue resolved
- Repeating the information
- and having to contact different service channels; for example after you may have to call customer center after trying to resolve the issue on website
Ideally from my point of view as a customer, I would expect following:
- Let’s say I am a broadband customer and my wi-fi is not working. Your customer rep figures out that and provide the resolution…fair enough..I try and implement the solution and realize that issue is not yet resolved..via because of a downstream issue which is related to my original problem for which I called at the first place.So what do I do, I will call again…and that is a frustration…why you can’t anticipate at the first time that I may end up in to some other issue too…! My call is not just about a particular issue it is about an issue with the service…which may have several links to it!
Overly focusing on managing ‘time’ of call, results in less satisfied customer…Don’t just resolve my current issue but also anticipate and move to next one!
As an organization we should not only train our customer reps in resolving the current issue but also train them in anticipating and providing with a manual which allows them to provide “Suggested solution”, “Upcoming issues and how to resolve them”, “What-if” guides…and so on.
I wish all my utility bill for the first time tells me how to make sense of their numbers…that would have had reduced at least one call and call time!
- Now as a customer there have been instances when I have not trusted a particular information…and at times didn’t like the answer given to me…so what did I do…I called them again and this time a different rep was talking with me…
For example once I was ordering a particular brand of Air cooler…and called up the customer rep…their simple answer…Sir, we don’t have this item in stock! I was surprised and asked them when it will be available, response: We don’t know, we can’t tell…You can almost feel the negative vibes coming out from this transcript…I mean..instead of saying “we don’t have”, better say We’ll have stock availability in so and so weeks time.” How hard is it?
- Go to a product website and for sure you’re going to see this:
Contact Us via IVR, email, Chat, online-support communities, Facebook, Twitter, and so on…
Phew! You may have all this, but at the end if your customers have to pick phone…well then you have to think again!
Cisco has a very nice way to take care of customers coming on to it’s site:
Based on the expertise of the individuals visiting their site they route users to specific channel. As per a research in order to resolve an issue on an average it takes 2.4 emails compared to 1.7 calls
Another very easy way of reducing your call rates and making sure your customers are keeping their loyalty; look out for your search page. Look out for the jargon that are used, how the layout for search looks like, is it easy to search and so on.
Don’t have your customer hoping from one channel to other; try and address it via first channel itself.
With these simple steps you can actually make a dramatic improvement in Customer Loyalty.