Merchants have been dealing with dissatisfied customers for thousands of years. In fact, 3,800 years ago, a customer named Nanni was so incensed that a travelling merchant sold him inferior quality copper and treated his staff with disrespect, he was moved to craft a detailed complaint written in Akkadian on a clay tablet. Though people may never know how this matter was ultimately resolved, one thing is certain; complaints against your company can hamper your business for a very long time.
Ensuring your process, product, and policies are geared toward a quality offering and enhancing customer satisfaction is one of the most important ways to help your business stand the test of time. Poor customer service can arise from three basic problems;
Inferior or defective products that guarantee the phone will constantly ring with customer service issues, overwhelming your customer service staff, convoluted or deliberately misleading customer policies and procedures that guarantee your customers will have difficulty rectifying a bad purchase, or customer service representatives with poor people or conflict resolution skills.
Inferior or defective products or services
Your production and sales departments should be constantly monitoring customer complaint metrics and details to determine what changes need to be made to products or services to reduce dissatisfaction and stay relevant. This could be as simple as posting a warning label or more informative description on your product, or it could mean a total overhaul of your quality control process. Your sales teams should always seek ways to make the sales process more transparent and informative. The production department should always seek ways to improve quality and efficiency, and information should always be flowing both ways between these departments and your call center.
Seeking to reduce the number of inquiries and complaints after the sale ultimately saves your company money, reducing workload and expense for things like complaint follow-ups and returns processing. This frees up your call center staff to resolve less-common problems more quickly when they aren’t overwhelmed with the result of poor design or incomplete sales pitches.
Convoluted or misleading customer policies
When customer service representatives on the front-line are not empowered to make problems right for customers, customer dissatisfaction can escalate in a matter of seconds. If you’re starting with a high-quality product or service and the occurrence of defects or dissatisfaction is rare, the next priority should be to make it easy for issues to be resolved quickly. Convoluted complaint resolution processes are often created to mask quality issues and prevent companies from losing money on inevitable complaints and returns. Start with quality, and there’s little reason to play games which only ruin a company’s reputation and place a hidden cap on future growth.
Empower front-line representatives to provide discounts, refunds, or additional services with a clear workflow and flowchart of appropriate actions they are authorized to take. Track these events to identify production or marketing problems as they emerge and incentivize call center reps for creative solutions that represent a genuine win-win for the company and the customer.
Poor conflict resolution skills
For call centers in an immediate customer service crisis, you may need to reboot your customer service department by outsourcing customer contact to an award-winning company like Bright Pattern while you take a deep dive into the issues facing your business. Are there issues with morale and poor attitude? Get honest feedback from your call center staff about why they are frustrated and determine what may need to change.
Skills training including professional call-handling practices and smooth conflict resolution skills can help your team get back on track, but management and motivational skills may also be part of the problem, as well. Don’t be afraid to investigate every aspect of your business to eliminate pain points; a happy team and a quality product is the key to earning raving fan customers that will ensure your company’s success and longevity.