Customers today have higher expectations than ever. They have the power to make their wishes felt, too. Customer complaints reach twice as many people as customer compliments. With social media, it only takes a few minutes for unhappy customers to air their grievances in front of thousands of people.
According to Consumer Reports, more than half of those surveyed had left a store without making a purchase, or hung up in the middle of a call, due to poor customer service. Their expectations are high, and they have no problem going somewhere else if they don’t like the service they receive. Here’s how to handle the top ten customer complaints about customer service.
1. I can’t talk to a real person
Customers get very frustrated when they can’t talk to a live person when needed. Today’s computer-savvy customers have most likely searched for a solution themselves, and failed. They call with more complex problems, and it doesn’t help to be redirected to your FAQ (frequently asked questions) page when they already know that information.
To avoid this customer complaint, make sure your customer service phone number or live chat is featured prominently on your webpage, and that you have enough reps to handle the load.
Do not force your customers to go through a poorly setup AI – that’s a good way to drive them into the arms of a competitor.
2. It takes too many calls to resolve an issue
First call resolution is the gold standard of customer service. If the experience is bad enough, many customers won’t give you a second chance.
The first step towards attaining this level of service is deciding that it’s a priority for you. Use it as your most important metric and train your staff to achieve it. Have the staffing and support levels you need to achieve first call resolution for the majority of your calls, while still maintaining acceptable hold times and call length. Consider outsourcing some of the work if you need to.
Investment in your customer service department will pay you back in satisfied customers.
3. The company takes too long to respond
According to a 2015 survey, 44% of customers expect a response to their email within four hours or less. Even for customer complaints that are complex and will take more than four hours to resolve, send out an acknowledgment email to show that you’re aware of the problem and are working on it.
4. The customer service rep was not professional
Train your staff in people skills, such as empathy and listening. Something as simple as saying, “I’m sorry” or “Thank you for your patience” can do a lot to calm down an irate customer. Similarly, the line between “pushy” and “helpful” can vary from person to person.
Your staff should be sensitive to the customer’s needs and feelings and tailor their approach accordingly.
Customer service reps are people too, and might need to decompress after an intense customer interaction. Allowing them some time off the phones – perhaps by switching to email for a while – gives them a chance to calm down and relax so they can give each customer their best.
5. Staff couldn’t do much to help me
Companies with the best customer service reputations authorize staff to go above and beyond to please the customer. You don’t need to go that far, but you should have a good online knowledge base that contains all the information reps need to solve customer problems.
For the best results, reps should be able to offer some solutions without a manager’s approval − for instance, refunds or replacements under some circumstances. Solving the problem should be as easy and effortless for the customer as possible.
6. My agent seemed like a novice
Your customer service reps need thorough training in your products, policies, and programs. If possible, it’s a good idea to separate customer issues according to their level of difficulty – easy, common issues can go to new hires, while difficult problems can be routed to your superstar reps.
Make sure reps know how to get help when they need it. More experienced reps can assist, or the supervisor can take over if necessary.
7. I received an unrelated copy/paste answer
In an increasingly mechanized world, customers look for the human touch. Little things can mean a lot. Greet the customer by name when they call or email. Enter customer preferences into your knowledge base, along with relevant personal information. For example, you can send out a short “Happy Birthday” message along with a coupon for a discount on their favorite product.
When using your mailing list, try to add value to your customer’s lives. For instance, tailor your offers to match their interests instead of sending out the same email to everyone.
8. I was unable to talk to talk to a human
The simpler your automated system the better. Don’t make customers go through more than two levels of automation before they reach a live representative. If you use a voice-recognition system, make sure it works well. There are few things more irritating that repeating yourself to a computer.
9. I keep getting transferred/disconnected
It’s a good idea to get your customer’s phone number so you can call them back if you’re disconnected. On live chat, customers should be able to reach the same rep instead of having to explain the problem to someone new. If they need to be transferred to another staff member or department, make sure to tell them what you’re doing and give them the direct number so they can call back if necessary.
10. They didn’t respond to my problem on social media
A social media presence is essential for the modern business. For many people, social media is their go-to method for contacting companies, and they expect answers fast. If you want a “very responsive to messages” badge on Facebook, your page needs to have responded to 90% of messages within 15 minutes for the last 7 days.
Customer complaints can drive a company into the ground, but if you’re prepared you can come out ahead of the competition and reach success.