We’re in the so-called “Age of the Customer.” The customer is and will be the primary focus of any company in any sector. Customers choose a product or a service not only for its technical characteristics, price or availability but also – and above all – for the relationship they have with the company.
Guaranteeing a valuable Customer Experience is the key to success and it’s a mission that is ongoing. Being omnichannel, therefore covering all of your communication channels, updating your website, paying attention to customer reviews and providing a memorable experience are requirements that will bear fruit in the short and long term.
However, it’s easy to get it wrong. Little information on products and services, less than satisfactory service, and poor after-sales service can all happen, and provide the customer with a negative experience that, if mismanaged, can drive him away, sometimes forever.
According to Ruby Newell-Legner, an American guru in the customer care sector, 12 positive experiences are needed to make us forget a single unresolved negative experience.
How many times have you said “I’m not buying from this company anymore” or “they’ve lost a customer”? At one time or another, you’ve probably found yourself on the phone with customer assistance to solve a problem. No business is immune to these situations.
In reality, it doesn’t take long to lose a customer’s trust. Loyalty can be a strong thread that connects the company with the customer, but at the same time, it is fragile enough, in some areas, that it could break with a single mistake. In order to prevent such mistakes, we need to understand the most common mistakes that could break the customer’s trust.
1. Slow and late response times
When a problem occurs, the customer will often immediately contact the company. Therefore, they will expect an immediate response. Waiting is nerve-racking and keeping the customer on the phone, or waiting hours, even days, for an email response, without providing a real solution, is certainly not the best way to keep a customer. In fact, 15% of customers who call a company hang up within 40 seconds of waiting.
If there is a problem, the company must respond immediately and appropriately. According to a study by Warwick University, responsiveness has the greatest influence on customer satisfaction.
Today, dissatisfied customers turn to social networks where they are most likely to receive an almost immediate response. For example, 32% of users who contact a company on Twitter want an answer in just 30 minutes. Now standard, emails, phone calls, and chatbots have to travel at the same pace.
2. Transferring customer requests
There is no better way to disorient and discourage a customer than bouncing him from one office to another. “I’ll have the relevant person contact you” is a formula that should only be said only once. It is plausible that some issues may require transferring the customer to another operator or department, however, abusing this practice can, in the long run, cause discontent.
This “delivery” step, therefore, must necessarily take place in case of need in such a way that the customer does not feel that their request is unimportant.
When a problem occurs, 53% of users prefer to switch to a competitor without even trying to solve it, often out of fear of not being able to contact a real person.
We live in the age of automation, of recorded voices, of chatbots… but are they really effective at every moment of the customer journey? Automation processes can be beneficial for both companies and customers. For example, chatbots connected to the CRM can automatically and quickly solve routine problems or collect and qualify information.
However, some customers may see them as “distant” and a sign that the company is not “interested” enough in the customer. Receiving a response from a chatbot may be good for initial contact and minor issues, but then it is advisable to relate directly with the customer through a live operator.
4. Being too informal
Informality and being friendly is often a winning move: the customer feels close to the company and feels freer to express himself. Informal language is increasingly widespread and encouraged by social networks, but it’s worthwhile to first assess the situation to determine the degree of formality that should be applied.
A study conducted by Software Advice shows that when a problem occurs, customers prefer to be answered in a fairly formal tone. It also emerges that the informal tone used to deny a request has a negative impact on customer satisfaction (78%), while the “formal” tone has no impact (65%).
5. Not apologizing
When a problem occurs, there is one thing that must be done immediately: apologize. A good Customer Experience is based on a good business-to-customer relationship and as with all relationships, companies must be able to say they are sorry.
According to research by the W.P. Carey School of Business (Arizona State University), when faced with an error, 37% of customers were satisfied after receiving a refund or a coupon, but when the company added an apology, the satisfaction rate reached 74%.
In short, when a problem occurs, it’s important to support the customer right away, without making him wait. Being able to apologize is just as important, as is using the right level of formality, and communicating directly with the customer.
Today, customers demand instant solutions and, in most cases, prevention is the best way to solve them. Many companies are relying on “self-service” solutions, such as customer portals, communities, database-based information centers, and highly innovative communication services, which often manage to avoid the problem. These tools are able to provide customers with all the information they need and allow them to perform actions and contact the company in a simple, fast, and autonomous way.
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