Customer service is not rocket science. Your business needs to provide a helpful service to customers who have previously purchased a company’s goods or services.
If it’s so simple, why do so many companies get it wrong?
Here are the top five most common customer service problems as reported by consumers. If any of these sound familiar, don’t panic! We’ve also got some solutions you can try within your organization that will improve the customer experience.
1. Customers Can’t Get a Live Human Being on the Phone
The Consumer Reports National Research Center asked more than 1,000 American consumers what their top customer service problems were.
Can you guess the top answer? Not being able to get a live human being on the phone. A whopping 75% of respondents said this is “highly annoying.”
There are a range of reasons why a business might implement automated answering services. Often, these have to do with being able to handle peak demand periods for customer calls (along with efficiency savings gained from having standardized responses to common issues).
The reasoning goes that customers would prefer to ‘speak’ to a machine than to have to wait or to have their call go unanswered.
This doesn’t hold up. The fact is, people want to talk to people, not machines.
Having to call with a burning customer service issue that needs resolution is already an inconvenience, particularly when it is the company that is in error.
But having a machine answer at the other end, only to run through a pre-canned list that may not even be relevant to the customer problem, can tip an often relatively neutral situation over into an annoying and highly irritating experience for anyone, even the most loyal customers.
In this way, automated messages have the potential to take a situation that is already potentially harmful to your company—in the guise of an unresolved customer service issue or complaint—and make it much worse.
The Solution: Consider outsourcing as a solution for customer satisfaction.
You don’t have to sacrifice convenience for excellent customer service experiences!
By using an answering service like Nexa, you can ensure your customers or patients always reach a live customer service agent.
After all, as a problem becomes more complex, customers are twice as likely to seek out a real person over the phone, rather than use a website or self-service tool like web chat, according to American Express.
Avoid automation and ensure your customers can solve their problems at any time with live voice answering.
The Nexa Difference: Nexa provides the human touch your customers need.
This allows your team to focus on what they do best—delivering on your business!
2. Customers Receive Rude or Condescending Customer Service
Another huge issue in The Consumer Reports Survey was receiving rude or condescending customer service when raising an issue.
The fact that almost everyone can relate an experience of this type of customer service (if it can be called that) unfortunately speaks to how common it is out there in the world of business.
Everyone has their bad days, customer service staff and customers included. No one is perfect.
However, as a customer service professional, there is no excuse for behaving with anything less than absolute professionalism, every time.
All is well and good of course if you are a business owner or a manager who is dealing directly with customers. But how do you ensure that your support team is doing the same thing?
The Solution: Hire your customer service team for attitude, not for experience.
You need people who have a natural empathy for others and enjoy getting to the bottom of customer problems. Above all, they need a positive, can-do outlook on life! This positivity is vital to the success of your customer care strategy.
It might feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, true. But worth the effort.
Find them. Hire them. Train them. Then find and train more of them.
And whether you have new team members or not, another great strategy for improving your team’s customer service skills is always to be upskilling your team by way of investing in ongoing training and development.
Wondering where to start?
The truth is, customer service in most places needs a boost. If the standards have not been reviewed for a while, this is especially true. So there’s a tremendous opportunity for improvement right there.
If you’ve measured your customer service efforts at all (and most indications suggest that you should), go back and have a look at the numbers to see where you can make some inroads.
Better yet, try conducting a customer survey to see if you can get a handle on the exact pain points requiring attention.
The Nexa Difference: We provide excellent customer service on every call.
Nexa has 4.75 stars on Consumer Affairs for a reason; “The responsiveness of the wonderful and dedicated staff at Nexa has been a game-changer. You can hear the smiles in their voices. They have the readiness to serve and work hard to communicate clearly and learn from each interaction.” (Read the case study here)
3. Customers Are Transferred to A Person Who Can’t Help Them
Customers hate being transferred to the wrong customer service representative.
This is the ultimate death knell for your customer service reputation.
When customers can go elsewhere—say, by searching the web, or by asking a different, more helpful sales representative—and find the right answer to their question, you’d better believe you will hear about it.
This will usually happen on social media and you may or may not have the good fortune to be tagged into the conversation so that you can adequately respond (if you can still adequately respond at this point).
The Solution: Make sure everyone who answers the phones knows their stuff (or can transfer the customer to someone who does).
You can greatly assist in this regard by maximizing every chance for knowledge transfer within your team. Documentation is the key here, either in the form of an online knowledgebase or in a handbook that is easily accessible by your team.
Own up when your team gets hung-up on a question. Honesty and transparency are key!
The Nexa Difference: Nexa receptionists are trained to your standards in your procedures.
We take messages, route calls, handle emergency dispatch and can even schedule appointments directly in your CRM.
4. Customers Get Mixed Messages From Different Staff
It is unlikely that every time a customer speaks to your staff, they get the same person. This means that one of the most important things to consider is consistency.
Imagine negotiating a discount with one staff member and then when you speak to the company again to take them up on the offer, they have no record of it.
A surprising number of companies have a real feeling of making it up as they go along. This can stem from a lack of organization. If staff don’t have a way to log calls or track where someone is in the buying, support or complaints process, other members of staff can’t just pick up the problem and know exactly how to deal with it.
Poor organization can lead to mixed messages, an unprofessional image and customers generally feeling like they are not being taken seriously or dealt with in the appropriate way.
The Solution: Implement a customer service script and give your staff clear guidelines of how to deal with every scenario they might face regularly. Improve your record-keeping and call logging so that you can stay on top of every customer’s issues.
The Nexa Difference: Nexa works with you to come up with a script to follow, meaning that every customer is treated in the same way. On top of that, we integrate with your CMS or project management system and can log calls so that a case number can be recalled at a later date, without the customer having to explain themselves all over again.
5. Customers (Or Staff Members) Getting Angry or Heated
It is easier for customers to get heated over the phone, but it can happen in person, too. When a customer calls you, they are often in the comfort of their own home and this means that they feel more liberated to lose their temper. This doesn’t usually achieve anything other than causing conflict.
If a member of staff feels that a customer is being rude or abrasive, or takes the complaint personally, it is also possible that they could lose their temper in some way. More experienced and level-headed staff members tend to be much better at this, but that isn’t to say that it never happens.
Anger can stem from customers feeling like they aren’t being taken seriously or that they are being in some way scammed or unfairly treated. In some cases, the customers definitely have a point. Mistakes are possible no matter what business you are involved in, and it is possible that the customer has had a bad experience. The key is turning this negative into a positive experience for customers in the long term, finding a suitable resolution.
The Solution: Reassure customers that you have their best interests at heart, and that you will do everything you can to provide the best service possible. In this scenario, customer service reps and other staff need to learn how to breathe properly and remain calm throughout. Defuse the situation and provide your very best customer service, even if this means discounts or going the extra mile to help the customer.
The Nexa Difference: All of Nexa’s virtual receptionists go through rigorous training and are experienced dealing with difficult customers. They are able to offer resolutions, remain calm, and give the customer a strong sense that they are in good hands and that any issues will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. We also have a feedback system so that your customers can track how happy they are with the service they have received.
Solving customer service problems doesn’t have to be difficult
Customer service problems are inevitable, no matter how good your business is. The good news is that you can greatly improve your response times with an answering service like Nexa. We work as an extension of your business and make sure your customers always reach a friendly live voice, 24/7.
We want to help your business thrive! Contact us today and find out how Nexa can solve your customer service problems.