What makes a customer experience turn bad? Is it a bad tone of voice from an overworked representative? Is it the customer’s frustration over the fact that they bought a problem instead of a solution and now they have to deal with it?
The truth of the matter is that it’s never necessarily just one thing and today we’ll talk to you about a scenario that happens way too often in this line of business.
The policies you set in place to protect your business can also kill it
A very nice lady contacted us regarding an order she had placed with one of our clients. The package had been sent out to her, but it hadn’t arrived on the day it was supposed to, even though the carrier's website stated it had already been delivered.
The representative, following company policy, asked the customer to please wait while they submitted a claim with the carrier to either find where the package was or have the carrier reimburse the company so that then, and only then, the customer could get their money back. The problem with that type of policy is that the claims process can take up to 120 days with most carriers, and even then, the success rate is usually around 20%.
The impact of achieving First Contact Resolution
The customer grew frustrated after every contact due to the company’s inability to offer a quicker solution. It wasn’t the company’s fault that the carrier had misplaced the package, but it wasn’t the customer’s either, and come on, do you think the customer is going to take out their frustration on the carrier? OF COURSE NOT!
From the customer’s perspective, they had made a business transaction with our client and didn’t care about any fine-print in the policy that said that once the item was shipped out it was no longer the company’s responsibility.
After a month-long wait, the carrier alleged that they had delivered the package and the claim was denied. When the customer learned that they weren’t going to recoup that money, they threatened to take this matter to the BBB. What happened after that you ask? The obvious. The company refunded the customer.
Having the advantage of hindsight it would have been a better solution for both parties to have refunded the customer on the first contact, no? The company would have gained the trust of the customer without losing so much precious time, and they wouldn’t have frustrated the heck out of their revenue source in the process. Who knows, maybe the customer would’ve even bought the product again and our client could have retained at least part of the money.
Empathy is not only about the way we communicate
To be brutally honest, sometimes the problem is not the representative, but the policies and procedures they are asked to enforce. Do you expect a customer to be satisfied just through sheer charisma and politeness from the customer service agent representing your brand?
We’ve developed quite a few pieces of training that are full of excerpts regarding how to show empathy to customers, such as using the right words and tone of voice, actively listening to the customer’s plight, but guess what folks? Those empathy tactics we teach our collaborators need to be matched by the action the company is willing to take to resolve the problem. Hence the importance of setting aside a budget dedicated to solving them.
Experience helps immensely
It’s understandable that a small business may be strapped for cash and needs to spread every penny as far and wide as possible, but it is also paramount to take into account the intangibles that can make you lose potential revenue, and a bad customer experience (especially those that end up in a social media post) can be one of those reasons.
We hear a lot, especially from new business owners, the paranoid thought that most customers are trying to take advantage of them, but experience has shown us that this is not the case. The great majority of scenarios are real problems that need to be fixed and not dealing with them can soon prove very costly.
Abusers and fraudsters are something to watch out for, but there are control methods that can bring those risks to a minimum without impacting the relationship with those that you should care about. Paranoia should never take precedent over reality.
And that is where we come in
We help businesses of all sizes to scale up customer service operations including reviewing policies that are hindering your growth. Our service is not only about answering chats, emails, or calls, but also providing valuable insights to businesses - we believe, is the best sign of a true partnership.
We have helped many companies take their operations to the next level by recommending changes in policies and procedures and would love to put our experience to work for you and your customers!