A study from NewVoiceMedia found that:
- 67% of customers left a company due to poor service
- 10% have switched more than 5 times in the past year
- $430 is the average loss per customer
On the whole, all those service failures cost to businesses in the United States $75 billion per year.
Losing income, however, is not the only consequence of losing a customer. Angry and frustrated customers can hurt your company in many other ways. For example, they can spread negative word-of-mouth about your company or leave negative online reviews in social media and other online resources.
One of the main reasons customers get frustrated and want to leave is when companies don’t respond to their service requests.
The stats shows that only 1 in 10 social media messages from customers receive a response.
Why companies don’t respond
Perfectly aware of the fact that not responding at all or not doing it timely is the road to losing more customers, many companies still fail at providing quality customer service. The question is, why do they do it?
Certainly, this is not something that happens intentionally. The main reasons for service failures are:
- Not prioritizing responding to customers. While every department within a company usually has a lot of different tasks assigned to them, companies should be clear that a customer service department’s priority should be responding to customers’ requests. And it is better that they do only that and have no other responsibilities. Otherwise, the practice proves that either many customers’ requests will be neglected at all, or they will be reacted to with delay, or the agents’ answers will not be perfectly clear and concise.
- There are no clearly outlined procedures for how and what to respond to customers in different situations. For this reason, customer service employees often abandon multiple customer requests which they are not clear how to respond to. The agents will try to avoid those questions from customers which they don’t have a quick answer for or they will answer in a fuzzy way, which will not be satisfactory to the customer. That’s why it is very important to have well-written documentation for CSRs and provide good training to them before putting them on board.
- Not having enough people to do the job. I guess this point derives straight from the first one, not prioritizing responding to customers. And still, this issue takes a separate treatment, because I saw quite a few examples of companies where they had well-trained and responsible CSRs, but there were just not enough of them to nail down all incoming customer service requests. In such situations, even the best people will give up and some questions will remain unanswered.
Give your customers a reason to stay
When it comes to business to customer relationships, all customers ever want from a company is to get a good product and a good service. If they find that, why would leave? Be customer-oriented and offer great service and you will give your customers a strong reason to stay even if some issues occasionally happen.
- Be responsive. This is the most important. Customers need to feel that whenever they are having an issue with your product or service, they will get some sort of help. If there is stable feedback from the company, they will remain loyal to you. They are less likely then to post any negative reviews even if for some technical reasons you were not able to satisfy their claim, but have given them proper answer and explanation and genuinely tried to help.
- Be transparent and set customer expectations right. If you can’t do something for the customer, say it out loud and honest. Companies should be transparent about their limitations. There is no need to be ashamed or fear to lose the customer if you just can’t offer something. It’s just life. There is no perfect product, no perfect service and we are all limited in resources to some extent. Admit it and let the customer embrace the truth. What matters is a genuine effort to help. And if you can’t help, it is just honest to let the customer go and search for what they need from other companies.
- Pay attention to detail
To be customer-oriented is all about paying attention to small details. That’s why it is important making responding to customers a priority for your CS team. It seems like no big deal to answer an email and it feels like one can do it at any time. But in fact, if you want to give a really good service to your customers, it may take a really long time to answer a single email. Some requests take time to understand them and ask additional questions, some need checking internal information or making additional online research or consulting other departments. Putting up your answer in a way that the customer can clearly understand and which is easy to read, checking grammar and punctuation after all, – all of that takes time if you really want to do it proper way. Without such attention, if you do manage to reply to all incoming inquiries, answers from your company will most likely sound careless and robotic and will not inspire any further communication on the part of your customers.
- Collect customer feedback and don’t forget to act on it. If you think you are doing everything right and have no idea why customers still leave, listening to your customers feedback may be a good way to understand that. It is often that customers leave silently because many of us are taught in childhood not to express our negative emotions. We don’t want any tension and conflict and it seems easier to just silently leave and find another product or service. For this reason, it is important to set up channels from which you can receive stable feedback from your customers and be proactive about collecting it. Following up on the customers’ issues and asking if the problem was fixed and how they are doing is one natural and effortless way to do it.
Do you have more tips for making customers stay? I’d love to hear your ideas and read about your company’s experience. Let’s share the best with each other!
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