It is extremely useful for any company to learn what the most popular customer complaints are, not only so that they know what to expect from and are able to prepare for this tricky aspect of business, but also because 89% of businesses are expected to compete based on their approach. Customer service or, more importantly, getting it right, is crucial to the success of your company, as this is what gives it heart and forms lasting connections with those who help it to survive and grow. So what should you be focusing on when it comes to providing the perfect experience for your customers?

Accessibility

First things first, your business needs to be easily accessible to customers. Putting up barriers to communication will only heighten the frustration they’re already feeling after a disappointing experience of your product or service. When a customer is already in this state of mind, it doesn’t take much to dissuade them from using your company again. 

Hearing from a customer shows that they are still interested in improving their relationship with you, so encourage it by investing in different routes through which they can can get in touch. This also increases your chances of being able to solve their problems and, as a result, maintain your relationship with them. Think convenient opening hours for your phone lines and a live chat function on your website that makes it easy for them to keep in touch.

Hold Times

We’ve all been there; being placed on hold, twiddling are thumbs as our frustration grows, waiting to be able to speak to someone about the problem we’re experiencing. It leaves you with the feeling that you are a nuisance, rather than a valued customer whose problem should be rectified. Not to mention that fact that you have already been disappointed by the product you have invested in, yet now you’re time is also being wasted as a result. 

It is to be expected that every company will have times when their phone lines are busy, and customers may have to be placed on hold for a short time while they handle the backlog. However, there is a limit to how much patience a customer can reasonably be expected to have, particularly when they have already faced a set back. Customers are most likely to hang up after two minutes and not call back, which means losing a customer who could have had the potential to be a long-standing source of revenue for your company.  

If you’re finding that your wait times are getting out of hand, and you’re not providing the experience that you would ideally like to give your customers, there is a solution. Having a backlog of angry customer calls to answer can be one of the most stressful aspects of customer service, especially when there is potential to lose customers, but it’s not a life sentence. There are now companies out there, such as Cymphony, who specialise in call-handling and can lend a hand on a temporary basis, as and when you need it! Thanks to this option of outsourcing, you can breathe a sigh of relief and watch those customer service ratings start to rise again.

Disinterested Customer Service Representatives 

Customer service employees who have limited interest when it comes to providing solutions can be damaging to your company. It is easy to tell when the person you’re speaking to would rather be somewhere else, and for customers who are already experiencing a frustrating problem, this can be extremely aggravating. 

Not having a genuine interest in their role of helping valuable customers, can cause staff to underperform when it comes to providing solutions. This can show itself in numerous ways; from taking a confrontational approach to the conversation, to not thinking thoroughly about the options available, to even cutting customers off before any solution has been found. Disinterested customer service representatives are a sure fire way of losing valuable customers, so it’s important to rectify the issue. 

Would additional training help them to understand the importance of their role and their value to the company, and would each individual find motivation from this? How else could you motivate your staff to take a more proactive approach? Alternatively, would it be simpler to outsource to those who have chosen to specialise in providing excellent customer service and, therefore, enjoy the process?

Irrelevant Solutions 

One potential consequence of having customer service representatives, or a customer service system that isn’t up to scratch, is providing irrelevant solutions to customer problems, which is one of the top ten most reported customer complaints. Perhaps you have a chain of command that allows for miscommunication, and you end up only adding to the customer’s frustration by offering a completely inappropriate solution. Maybe you have a range of standard solutions which you believe suit most problems, yet this leaves the customer feeling as though their case hasn’t been dealt with on an individual basis, in turn, leaving them feeling as though their custom is not valued.

It’s important to provide solutions that are relevant to the particular issue being raised by each customer, as this helps them to feel as though the company cares about their experience. Furthermore, it gives the impression that your aim is to create the perfect customer experience; giving the customer reassurance that continuing to invest in your products and services will not result in ongoing negative experiences.

Follow-Ups  

The resolution process shouldn’t end when the call ends. Any company that values its customers should follow up to make sure that the solution has not only been delivered as promised, but has also been sufficient. Customers notice when you don’t do this, so much so that it has made it into the top ten list of customer complaints. Following up your customer’s calls shows that you care about whether the issue has been solved and whether the customer feels satisfied. This is also a great way to establish whether the customer is likely to continue investing in your product, and to gain any further insight into how you can improve your service.

First Call Resolutions

Customers expect their issue to be resolved after just one call to a company, so if you exercise a complex system of referrals and call backs, its time to re-think your strategy. Not only are you multiplying the number of calls per customer, which results in greater backlog and pressure on your team, you’re also significantly increasing your chances of losing customers. 67% of customer churn, which is the percentage of customers lost during a specified time frame, is preventable if firms resolve issues the first time they occur. We suggest simplifying your complaints system to speed up the process of rectifying mistakes, in order to maintain your customer base. This is a far more lucrative approach than going to great lengths to argue an issue and risking losing the customer altogether.

Up-Selling 

It might surprise you to learn that many companies view customer complaints as an opportunity to up-sell their products. In reality, this is probably the last scenario in which the customer is going to be open to the idea of buying from you, so attempting to make this happen is only going to cause frustration in an already volatile situation. 

It’s challenging for companies to establish the human front that is so important in building long lasting relationships with their customers, and trying to sell to an unhappy customer is certain to undo any attempts you’ve made. It suggests a lack of empathy and morality in your business’ motives, which alienates customers. Always keep your customers thoughts and feelings at the forefront of your decision making, and you will stay on the path towards building a successful company.

Speaking to a Real Person

This leads me to my next point; not being able to talk to a real person is one of the most popular customer complaints out there, in fact, 75% of consumers prefer human interaction compared to an automated interaction. Not only are people far less likely to get the specific help they need from an automated response, there is no opportunity to re-build a damaged customer relationship without the contribution of a human representative who can listen, be empathetic and understand what is needed.

It would be more lucrative to invest in a little extra help with your phone lines when you need it, rather than relying on a bot. That way, you can rest assured that customers are being spoken to by trained professionals who know how to de-escalate a problem and transform it into an opportunity to build on a positive company reputation, rather than becoming even more frustrated and giving up on your company altogether.

Keeping Your Promises 

Our final point, and the final of the top ten most common customer complaints, is not keeping your promises. Hopefully it won’t be long before your customer service team are having productive conversations and finding ideal solutions for your customers, avoiding all of the popular pitfalls we have mentioned, but once a resolution has been found it is crucial that it is delivered or all the hard work will be undone. 

The system you have in place for keeping a record of customer complaints and resolutions is key to your success in this area, as it will alert you to any aspects of the customer journey that have been missed; allowing you to tie up any loose ends and leave a lasting, positive impression on your customers.

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