Every good company understands the best customer experience strategies are consistently tweaked and adjusted based on changing customer behaviour and expectations
But for many customer support teams, the rulebook had to be thrown out the window when the impact of Covid-19 started to take its toll. Not many would have predicted that customer expectations would change so drastically over the last year.
In fact, recent research found that 69% of customer experience professionals surveyed felt end user expectations have increased since February 2020. The past year caused mass disruption to plans and activities, forcing people to seek out extra support and advice. As companies try to adapt to these changing expectations, naturally mistakes are made along the way. But it is often how a company responds to its mistakes that defines the strength of its customer experience. And there are plenty of good examples of this out there.
Trending on LinkedIn recently was the story about the CEO of engineering tool supplier, Cutwel, apologising for a customer service incident where a half-eaten KitKat made its way into one of their customer’s orders. The CEO not only wholeheartedly apologised for the incident, but also said that in response, they sent out free KitKats with all of their orders the week it happened. It is a great example of how to navigate a sticky customer service situation with honest communication from the leadership team, a quick-thinking response, the use of social channels to get the message out rapidly and a bit of humour in these difficult times.
Human mistakes happen, but what are the tactics a company should deploy if it finds itself in a similarly sticky situation and dealing with a customer complaint? Outlined below are the three things a business can do to ensure customer satisfaction in light of a mistake:
Deliver support across all channels
If a brand is providing customer support across multiple platforms such as email, phone, chat, and social media, customers expect contextual replies. For example, if a user contacts your company’s Twitter handle to complain, they will expect your support team to already have context about the issue, especially if it has been a reoccurring problem and something they’ve complained about before.
Collaboration systems should be put in place to ensure that, regardless of which channel a customer uses to express their issue, customer service agents have access to all previous correspondence to ensure there are no lapses in communication before responding.
In addition, while facilitating an omnichannel experience is important, if brands choose to have several channels (website, email, phone, Twitter etc.) they must all be well maintained by customer support staff. Each network should be regularly checked for customer queries and complaints. It is better to have a few channels providing an excellent service, than many offering a poor service due to lack of capacity.
Action customer feedback
When customers give feedback, they want it to be taken seriously and expect the company to be prompt in both responding and implementing fixes and updates. On top of this, companies can gain customer trust by responding to customer feedback and incorporating it into new products and services.
Tools are available to provide companies with detailed insights into how well their support teams are performing, as well as analyse the category of complaints they’re receiving – whether they’re about the service, product, delivery and so on. This helps identify bottlenecks that are hampering the efficiency of the support process and allows all customer feedback to be taken into consideration and actioned.
Provide self-service resources
Some customers – especially younger generations – prefer to troubleshoot problems themselves, rather than contact customer support for every minor criticism. If they do not find appropriate self-service resources on a company’s website, the chances are they’ll complain – or take their business elsewhere.
Organisations should ensure that there is a range of collateral available on their websites such as solution articles, video guides and FAQs. This way, companies are also freeing up their agents’ time enabling them to handle more complex queries. Chat bots and live chat functions that pop up to offer help are also great for giving customers near instant responses to their queries and complaints.
Learning from mistakes
Customer support teams are doing all they can to adapt to consistently changing consumer demand throughout the pandemic. With so many fundamentals of their jobs changing, it is natural that errors occur from time to time and customer complaints happen as a result.
What is in a business’ control is the set-up it has in place to handle mistakes or complaints. It’s crucial that support teams work to turn mistakes into an opportunity to win customers over and earn their loyalty. There are so many tools available for the likes of automation, collaboration, social media integration – that no brand should leave customers feeling ‘undervalued’.
About the Author
Simon Johnson, General Manager, UK and Ireland, Freshworks. Freshworks provides intelligent customer engagement software for businesses of all sizes, making it easy for teams to win customers for life. Freshworks SaaS products are ready to go, easy to use, and offer quick returns on investment.
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