What Not to Do: The Most-Hated Customer Service Practices

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

9/3/15 1:30 PM

Best_practiceMountains of indisputable research stress the importance of the customer experience. For example, companies are collectively losing billions every year due to poor service methods, and customers will abandon brands without thinking twice due to just one poor customer service experience, according to Parature’s “2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey.”

Contact center managers clearly understand that providing a poor experience will lead to decreased revenue and increased customer churn. What they may not understand, however, is what exactly contributes to a poor customer experience in the first place. To gain this knowledge, managers need to dig deep to identify their customers’ pain points and how their existing customer service practices may be contributing to them.

Gathering these in-depth insights is certainly easier said than done. Thankfully, a new survey from Consumer Reports provides revelations into exactly what customers dislike during service interactions. Let’s take a look at what these surveyed customers had to say...

  • Three-quarters of customers feel “highly annoyed” when they can’t access a live person on the phone to help them-a slight increase from the 71 percent of customers surveyed by Consumer Reports in 2011.

  • Nearly as many (74 percent) are immediately turned off by disconnected phone calls.

  • Seventy percent become “highly upset” when they are transferred to multiple customer service agents.

  • Sixty-eight percent become aggravated with companies that hide their customer service contact information from them.

  • Two-thirds of customers are aggravated by long wait times. But how long is too long? According to Parature’s survey, 50 percent of customers would be willing to wait on hold for one to five minutes. Only 13 percent would be willing to wait “as long as it takes.”

Empowered by this knowledge, here are three changes contact center managers can make to improve their customers’ experiences:

Consider a Web page redesign: Since many customers’ first impressions are dictated by the design and setup of your “Contact Us” Web page, a Web page redesign may be the simplest yet most effective change you can make toward improving the customer experience with your brand. If the page looks unappealing-or worse, if they cannot even find the page on your company website-a redesign might be worth the effort.

Expand your number of service channels: Although the phone still reigns supreme as the preferred channel for customer service, expanding your number of service channels could go far to ensure a better experience for some customers. For instance, according to Parature, 84 percent of customers have used a search engine to look for an answer to a customer service question. Therefore, you might want to develop a stronger self-service strategy including, for example, a new FAQ site. This way, less customers will feel aggravated by being unable to reach agents immediately.

Invest in the right technology: This is absolutely critical for ensuring an optimal customer experience. Consider the reliability of your underlying network infrastructure, for instance, which ensures call connectivity. Also assess your existing call center software, which should be full of rich features and functionalities that ensure seamless call control—for instance, offering customers a callback option so they’re not waiting on hold for very long-as well as yield data-driven insights based on such things as call and desktop recordings.

Ready to start transforming your customer experience strategy? These recommendations should help get you started!

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