Before the arrival of social media, the common school of thought suggested the happy customer will tell two or three friends, but the unhappy customer will tell as many as 10 friends. Now that customers can post their opinions about a brand for thousands to see via social media, the importance of customer satisfaction has intensified.
In order to defuse the upset customer, however, a company first has to know he or she exists. Just because the unhappy individual is telling everyone on Facebook (News - Alert) does not mean he or she notified the company itself. For those that do, however, a quality opportunity exists to improve the service received and resolve undetected problems to build long-term loyalty that leads to profitable growth.
Customers who do outwardly complain are much more likely to turn into the loyal customer when the complaint is handled quickly. But not all complaints are obvious. Some companies may perceive a customer e-mail as simply feedback to a situation, instead of understanding the underlying problems. Still others may receive a call from a customer and move them so quickly through the call handling process that they don’t truly listen to what the customer has to say.
Fortunately, these communications also offer opportunities to listen to the customer to truly get at the point of their call. A recent Win the Customer post highlighted the importance of listening to the customer, training agents to be professional, the value of the apology and how speed should be a priority.
When the time is right, contact center transformation can take place, enabling all customer service initiatives to focus on the value of the interaction and the information provided. When a customer complains, it’s not always due to being overly picky. He or she may have valuable feedback in their complaint, feedback that cost the organization nothing to obtain. This is where listening is key.
Valuable information is harder to extract from the frustrated customer. If the agent is professionally trained, he or she can develop the skills necessary to calm the angry customer to coax them into the mindset needed to provide constructive criticism. This also requires the agent to be calm, polite and professional, skills easily taught as part of the contact center transformation.
The apology and speed to resolution are also important in the customer interaction. It demonstrates that the organization cares about the impact the situation has had on the customer and values their business enough to resolve the issue quickly. Once the customer is satisfied with the outcome, they may be an ideal candidate to include in a focus group as their feedback can contribute to improved products and services.
TMCnet posted an article last fall that highlighted the important steps to consider in the contact center transformation to ensure quality interactions. These tips include establishing a clear customer service philosophy, clear expectations and the importance of clear leadership. The same things that apply to the contact center transformation also apply to the creation of an ideal customer service environment that quickly moves the frustrated customer to a happy the long-term customer.
Edited by Rich Steeves