Complaints are a part of life for customer-facing staff in any organization. What differentiates excellent service is a company’s ability to anticipate future customer needs and solve problems before customers make a formal complaint. Today’s customer experience is more interactive, immersive, and extensive than anything we have seen in the past. The best-in-class companies not only learn from their customer complaints, but they also take steps to prevent them.
Recent data from RightNow Technologies shows that 79% of consumers who made a customer experience complaint online had their messages ignored. Several factors contribute to this gap in service, including the difficulty in monitoring multiple communication channels simultaneously. One way to improve service quality is to stop service complaints before they even happen. While you can never eliminate complaints, these six recommendations can help reduce how many you receive. By learning from best practices, you can help your team achieve new levels of service quality.
Share Information Proactively
Most companies strive to make their product and service information easily accessible on a website and knowledge base. In addition, you should also reach out to your customers on other channels, including social media. Engaging on these other platforms gives you a quick and easy way to share any updates you like. Helpful resources such as quick tips, product updates, and user guides can also help inform customers before a potential issue becomes a complaint.
Be Easy to Contact
Another benefit of an omni-channel customer support strategy is that you can learn from your audience on each platform. Your support agents can read comments and follow conversations that may uncover a potential issue before it is reported to your support staff. By engaging on a broad range of channels, your company is also easier to contact, which customers will appreciate when they have an issue that needs to be addressed.
Deploy New Technology
A core principle of effective customer service is to make sure that your processes are not the problem. Any unnecessary delays when receiving or processing customer orders and support requests can lead to complaints. One way to help your support team manage their responsibilities more effectively is to implement some new technology tools. Some examples include a shared inbox, customer portal, and knowledge base. Any of these options can greatly impact your ability to meet customer demands while helping to remove any internal barriers.
Ask for Feedback
Another way to proactively reduce service complaints is to ask customers for feedback regularly. Rather than using a basic survey for all situations, it is best to customize your questionnaire for a specific purpose. Make your feedback requests timely so that you can learn about different stages and touchpoints along the customer journey and identify future improvements. Analyzing customer feedback can be a challenge, but it is still one of the best ways to reduce potential customer service complaints.
Improve Communication Clarity
Your support team is the most important resource you have when handling your customer service requests. One common source of service complaints is miscommunication, usually in the form of broken promises from the company. It is best to train your customer-facing staff to use their best judgment and be honest about commitments that they can, and can’t, make in any situation. Another best practice is to focus on specific training techniques, such as scenario planning and role-playing, to help your staff become better problem-solvers.
Define Quality Customer Care
Having visibility into your service team's performance can help you identify improvements in areas that will have the biggest impact. Taking full advantage of the metrics and reporting features of your help desk software is crucial. It's a great idea to define what quality customer care means for your company, and what actions and behaviours most support it. With these priorities and metrics defined, you can use the comprehensive dashboards that come with many software platforms to keep your entire team focused on what is most important.
Customer service complaints are a part of doing business, and while you can never eliminate them entirely, you can take some proactive steps to reduce their frequency. Being proactive is a critical theme in all of the recommendations in this post, and it cannot be understated how important this really is. Those companies that can anticipate customer needs and issues – and take the right actions to resolve them – will have a greater chance of improving service capabilities and creating a truly engaging customer experience.