How To Resolve 3 Common Customer Service Problems That Threaten Recurring Revenue
by Blackwood Impact Group
Sometimes it is easy to tell when you have customer service challenges. Angry voice messages, frustrated emails, or negative online reviews are tell-tail signs. But not all customer satisfaction problems that threaten revenue reveal themselves that easily. Often you only learn about issues when you are trying to ask for referrals or get more of your existing clients to buy into further products or services.
Paying attention to the customer success aspect of your operation is critical to your overall revenue goals. Research has shown that it is significantly less expensive and more profitable for your company to encourage repeat business from existing clients than to win new clients. It is when you begin to place your focus on repeat customers that you may discover cracks in the foundation of your company’s ability to consistently give clients positive experiences.
Poor experiences with your customer service department reflect negatively on your company as a whole. Not only does the public opinion of your company start to decline, but your revenue will also take a dip. While a small percentage of customers will be vocal about their dissatisfactions, most will be passive-aggressive. They will simply take their money and loyalty to one of your competitors without telling you why they left. The larger your organization is and the more customers you are managing, it can be challenging to maintain an accurate pulse on how most of your customers feel until it’s too late. “Too late” is when you are looking at downward revenue and customer attrition trends, asking yourself what happened.
Does your company struggling with any of these challenges:
- A lead that was once deemed a “shoe-in” suddenly chooses not to sign your contract.
- Many clients are refusing your offer for additional products or services.
- A significant amount of your customers are switching to other providers, and your sales team is working overtime to bring in brand new clients.
- You are receiving more and more complaints about your company’s level of service both online and in person.
If you answered yes to any of the above, that could be an indicator of some customer service challenges that are threatening your ability to develop and increase your potential for recurring revenue. Three of the most common problems you might be dealing with are a damaged reputation, untimely communication, and negative encounters with your team. Keep reading to learn how you can start addressing these issues and keep your cash flowing positively.
How to Address a Damaged Reputation Online and Off
Of all the customer experience challenges you could face, having a damaged reputation is relatively easy to spot. Telling signs include receiving a large number of negative comments on your website and across other review sites. Receiving many requests to speak with management along with angry emails and voicemails are other indicators that your clients aren’t happy with how you are delivering your products and services. If your company uses satisfaction surveys, they will likely come back with poor scores. A handful will even take the time to write you an essay on what you are doing wrong in their sight.
Here are some steps you can take to reverse the downward trend. The most important thing you can do is address public feedback. If people are leaving reviews of your company’s products or services on Facebook, LinkedIn, are placing comments on your blog, or leaving reviews on sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, or Glassdoor, then you must respond to them publicly. Be sure you have an official company account that can log into the respective platforms and address each comment, especially the negative ones.
Do not use canned responses such as, “Please contact our customer service department for a solution to your problem.” People perceive canned reactions as dismissive and insincere. They can do more damage than not leaving a response at all. Instead, offer genuine apologies and practical steps the customer can take. Additionally, offer to connect with them for a customized experience in resolving their problem. Most prospects and customers have positive feelings about a company who seems to be taking a genuine interest in addressing their customer’s concerns.
Take a similar, “personal touch” approach to complaints you are receiving via help desk tickets, email, voicemail, or in person. Take responsibility for your failure and show empathy for their feelings. Keep troubleshooting their issues until they are happy with the resolution. If your company suffered from a massive wave of negative perceptions, consider creating a marketing campaign that spreads the message of how you are changing for the better. Take a cue from the damage control ads Facebook (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4zd7X98eOs) and Uber (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMZyw5lPKgE) have been running throughout 2018.
It is worth it to invest the time and effort to resolve customer complaints. Keep in mind that people are ten times more likely to spread their dissatisfaction with your company than when they are satisfied, so you don’t want to leave bitter customers to their own devices (pun intended).
How to Address Untimely Communication
Regardless of how you are receiving your feedback, if you are monitoring them, you can start to spot trends. One of the more common issues that many companies face is centered on time. Customers get frustrated when it takes a long time for them to reach a representative, either with long wait times or email response times. Not having a quick and easy way for clients to arrive at solutions for their problems is a sure-fire way of leaving the back door open for them to exit through.
Here is how Blackwood Impact Group (BIG) recommends you address timing issues. First, consider upgrading from a single support email box to a help desk solution that provides trackable ticket numbers. Automated responses back to the client will assure them that you have visibility on their issues and you’re working on it. Having a ticket number gives your customer a point of reference, and it makes it easier for your team to track the status of an issue, ensuring it doesn’t get lost. You can also analyze how fast problems get resolved.
You can take this concept a step further by adding self-service functionality to your website. When they have a login account, your customers can be empowered to troubleshoot common problems before they have to engage your team members.
Next, make sure that customers have more than one way to reach out to you. Some companies don’t provide a customer service number because they don’t have enough staff to dedicate to this area. If that is the case, consider outsourcing to a call center. You can also try implementing a live chat feature on your website. Consider having a Twitter account dedicated to customer service for another touchpoint. However, at some point, for the best brand experience, you’ll want to plan for keeping all of your customer service functions in-house.
Whether you are using outsourced or internal team members to address customer concerns, be sure you are monitoring the team’s performance regularly and give them feedback. Use software to monitor calls, support tickets, and email responses to ensure customers are getting a uniformly positive experience as their dilemma is being resolved. Regularly request that your clients provide feedback on how you’re doing so that you can catch potential issues before they become a widespread problem.
How to Address Negative Encounters with Your Team
The way in which your team handles customer disputes can be just as important as resolving their issues. Typical complaint clients give is feeling as though the representative doesn’t have any compassion for their challenges. This translates to them feeling as though your company doesn’t care about them.
Our recommended course of action begins with ensuring your customer service team (and any other divisions that interact with clients) is aligned with your company’s mission and vision. It will help if you have a clearly outlined philosophy on how you intend your clients to experience your brand. Invest in empathy training so that your team learns how to allow the customers to vent their frustrations, then guide them to a place of calm. When your team understands how to improve the quality of their interactions with clients, then they can indeed deliver customer success.
Another important step is creating a customer service playbook. Put policies in place that address how to answer phone calls and emails, complete with scripts, templates, and procedures for more escalating, difficult complaints. Standardize delivery of products and services, so customers know what to expect from your organization.
Every company’s customer service challenges are unique, but hopefully, this article offered you a few places to start exploring solutions for your particular set of circumstances. There are other common customer service challenges that could be affecting your revenue that we didn’t investigate. Would you like more personalized help examining your problems and strategizing solutions that will help you revitalize your revenue? One of our specialties is putting customer service teams back on the right track. Click here to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with us today.