Happy customers are often willing to show their gratitude, with many turning to social media to show their contentment with a brand. In an ideal situation, such a customer becomes a brand advocate and loyal in the long-term. But the reality remains that no brand is perfect, and every customer is a human being subject to frustrations and expectations that companies need to strive hard to meet. When a customer is truly frustrated and on the verge of switching to another brand, companies need to be prepared to deliver their very best at that exact moment. A Lee Resources study found that 91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with a brand again. However, if the brand resolves an issue in the customer’s favor, 70% will do business with the brand again. So how can a company turn around a poor customer service experience and win back the favor of its customers? Consider these five essential steps.
Listen to the customer patiently and offer a sincere apology.
A frustrated customer who has likely lost time (and maybe even money) needs to be heard, so agents must welcome the customer’s story with patience and empathy. Regardless of the channel, an agent should listen to a full explanation of the issue and then show genuine empathy for the customer’s frustration. Using positive and reassuring language, apologizing sincerely for the issue, and simply letting a customer speak without frequent interruptions are critical to appeasing the customer. By validating the feelings of the customer, he or she becomes more than a buyer but a person whose time and opinions count.
Assess the situation and offer options for a solution.
After listening to the customer’s story, agents should repeat the main points, asking for clarification where necessary and if there’s any other important information the customer would like to share. Once the situation has been assessed, agents should then offer the most appealing solution to the customer and offer options whenever possible. When customers have difficult issues to resolve, they may feel they made a poor choice in trusting a brand. Giving them options for better service (better deals, delivery service, etc.) will make them feel in charge again—and more likely to remain loyal.
Consider the customer’s needs and preferences and make a goodwill gesture.
A customer may not know the best solution for an issue (which is why they need assistance in the first place), but many customers have an idea of what they want to rectify the problem. For example, they may feel their lost time should be compensated with a voucher or statement credit, especially if their issue arises from a billing error or any other context in which the customer was not at fault. This is an opportunity for agents to be proactive: for example, they can wait to hear that a customer wants to switch from one subscription to another, or agents can quickly offer waivers or discounts as goodwill gestures before the customer even asks. Being proactive in these situations is extremely critical to regaining the customer’s trust.
Deliver the solution exactly as promised.
It’s critical to deliver the solution exactly as it is promised with clear information: when the customer will be notified next, tracking information for a delivery, and the like. Remember that when a customer takes the time to contact a brand over an issue, they are giving the brand another chance. For that reason, companies should always value these issues as golden opportunities to improve their service and show customers that they are worthy of their trust.
Follow up with the customer and address the problem with colleagues.
It’s equally important to follow up with the customer to see how they feel about the resolution and to make sure the problem was indeed resolved, in the form of a feedback survey or call. This step shows customers your company does value them and is working hard to deliver a better customer experience. Companies also need to make sure these cases are well analyzed, shared across departments, and then worked on to prevent them from occurring again. Different ways to address issues could range from updating FAQs on the company website and agent scripts to larger measures such as changing marketing strategies, enhancing agent training methods, and improving communication across different channels.
As no brand wants to disappoint and ultimately lose a customer, difficult service situations should be viewed as valuable opportunities to redefine and deliver excellent service with the goal of convincing a customer that the brand cares about their business and is eager to provide a better customer experience. With quick and sincere action, clear dialogue, and efficient delivery of a solution, companies can renew the faith of their customers and turn frustration into loyalty. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for excellent customer service.
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