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How to avoid scary customer service 

Spooky season is here, so it’s only fitting we look into the ways in which we can help drive down those customer service horror stories! 

Providing good customer service is vital to building a good reputation and loyal customer base. A recent study by Salesforce showed that 80% of customers consider their experience with a company as important as its products. And, according to SuperOffice, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.  

You can spend years improving customer service, but one bad review can disproportionately affect business perception. Unfortunately, this is where the ‘Negativity effect’ can play its part, meaning customers are more likely to trust a negative review and share a negative experience over a positive one. So, as a business owner or leader of customer service operations, it’s hugely important to try and avoid bad customer service. 

What does bad customer service look like?

No reputable business goes in with the plan of creating scary customer service, so let’s take a look at examples of bad customer service and then see how we can take measures to rectify this and avoid negative customer reviews. 

1. Mismanaging social media 

Many companies have yet to master social media, especially when it comes to handling complaints and customer service requests. They may be great at keeping up-to-date with trends and creating the most effective Instagram reel, but can often fall short when simply responding to customers who message their page or comment on social media posts with questions or with negative feedback.  

Companies should put the same investment into social media customer service that they do in growing their social media presence. Having trained customer service and support employees constantly monitor social media channels and respond to customer feedback is a great way to avoid a crisis. 

2. Being kept on hold

It can be frustrating to be kept on hold for an unreasonable amount of time, especially when time is of the essence. The 2019 State of Conversational Marketing Report showed that 75% of people think that a telephone call should be answered in under 5 minutes, and a huge 82% thought an online chatbot should provide a response in less than 5 minutes, increasing from the previous year’s stats. This increase in customer demand is building pressure on businesses to lower their on-hold times and ultimately improve their customer service.   

3.  Customers simply can’t reach you

We’ve all been there when you need to get in touch with a company but can’t find their contact details. There’s a reason some companies keep their phone number hidden – they simply haven’t the people power to deal with a large influx of calls, and some have such convoluted procedures to contact their company that a phone number isn’t a viable solution. That’s where transparency needs to come in. It’s best to present people with your contact details, even if it’s just an email address. If customer service is something your company isn’t familiar with and doesn’t have the expertise to handle in-house, why not consider outsourcing?  

4. Providing insufficient chatbot support

When customer service teams become stretched, companies look to chatbot to ease the pressure. Chatbots are attractive to businesses because they’re capable of taking on the small tasks usually dealt with by customer service teams, and ultimately help to reduce phone queries. However, if the chatbot it is poorly built and not tailored to your customer’s specific requests, it can cause more harm than good, leading to frustrated customers and in increase in customer service calls. 

Chatbots also need updating as your product and business services increase. If your product or service is too complicated for simple requests, then chatbots may not be the answer for you. Not only that, chatbots often have the inability to understand emotions and personalities, unlike a human. Notably, chatbots are still treated with some caution. For example, Userlike conducted a survey in 2022 that showed that only 23% of those asked said they would trust a chatbot to settle disputes, and only roughly 1/3 third would trust it to pay a bill.  

So, how can we overcome these pitfalls in customer service?

1. Hire the right people 

It might sound like an obvious one, but when recruiting your customer service team, it’s important to prioritise candidates who possess the right customer service skills. Empathy, enthusiasm and good listening and communication skills will enable them to establish positive communication with customers and understand their needs effectively.  Not only that, the ‘right people’ should reflect your brand and culture; for most customers, they’re their first point of contact, so it’s paramount they should represent the organisation in the best possible light. 

2. Train and empower staff 

You’ll need to provide sufficient training to enable the CSRs to carry out their job effectively, making sure they’re fully emersed with the company brand and values. But as well as providing training, it’s important that you empower your staff to enable them to fully support the customer. So why not give them the authority to help appease customers and resolve issues quickly with capped refunds, discounts and other similar compensation? This leverage could help prevent putting customers on hold or getting back to them at a future time, which only adds to customer frustration and places more stress on the customer service operation.  

3. Use technology to your advantage 

Technology can be a powerful tool for improving customer service. Investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which can help you track customer interactions and provide a personalised service, can help improve your overall customer experience. In the same way, it’s important to monitor and measure customer satisfaction. You can do this through surveys and feedback forms and analysing the data to help form a proactive customer service campaign. There are companies that can analyse this data for you, removing the need for you to hire and manage this in-house. 

4. Outsource customer service 

Businesses know their product inside out and are experts in what they’re selling. However, they may be lacking expertise in other areas that can make or break an organisation. Customer service is one of those areas. Seeking to outsource customer service or other parts of your business can help you concentrate on your core offering – what you are the experts in. Outsourcing removes the need for permanent employees, training, office space and costly recruitment fees.  

Avoiding bad customer service is essential for building a loyal customer base and maintaining a positive reputation. A whole host of measures can be drawn upon, including traditional and technological, to make sure you avoid scary situations and customer horror stories. Why not see how DDC OS can support your business – contact us today

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