This week we feature an article by Hannah McCabe, Director of Demand at Stella Connect by Medallia. She shares common misconceptions about customer service and offers ways to fight them in order to provide great customer experiences. Delivering excellent customer service means understanding the ins and outs of your customer personas, your competitive landscape, your […]
This week we feature an article by Hannah McCabe, Director of Demand at Stella Connect by Medallia. She shares common misconceptions about customer service and offers ways to fight them in order to provide great customer experiences.
Delivering excellent customer service means understanding the ins and outs of your customer personas, your competitive landscape, your business, and – of course – your own organization and industry.
But as is the case with other organizations, customer service has its fair share of myths about what customers want, which metrics to track, and how to perform the responsibilities of a front-line agent.
Keep reading to dive into four common misconceptions about customer service, and how to combat them to offer better customer experiences.
Misconception #1: Every angry customer just wants a discount.
When it comes to angry customers, you may think that someone is only causing a commotion to save a quick buck, but you would be wrong.
Research from the Journal of Marketing shows that offering angry customers a price-based solution (like a discount) actually negatively affects their view of your brand and their likelihood to continue supporting your business.
First, it devalues your product or service to them by making them believe it’s not worth the full price. Second, it shows them that you aren’t really interested in understanding their needs, and are simply offering the promotion as an easy way out.
Customers want to be heard by your business and know that you take their frustrations seriously.
When communicating with angry customers, don’t let this misconception cloud how you approach the situation. Doing so can lead to even greater frustration from your customer and affect your ability to resolve their issue.
Misconception #2: Customers only want self-service options.
In the U.S. alone, e-commerce now accounts for 16.1% of all sales. That number is up from 11.8% in the first quarter of 2020, and expected to continue to rise throughout 2021.
For many businesses, meeting increased online demand means a pivot to more automated ways of providing support, like chatbots, to free up agents to handle more complex issues.
However, according to Stella Connect’s Customer Service Trends for 2021 report, 80% of survey respondents prefer to talk to a real support agent, versus figuring out the issue with self-service options.
This statistic points to the fact that modern customers are looking for humanized customer support that understands their pain points and can give them personalized responses to their needs.
The data also has implications for future CX tech stack investments. When creating your customer service strategy, it’s important to continue to invest in new technologies and platforms, but don’t overlook the value of optimizing your current channels.
Misconception #3: Speed is the most important customer service metric.
The first customer service metrics that come to mind are often around speed, like Average Handle Time (AHT). Speed is typically equated with efficiency, the core belief being that the faster you get through your ticket queue, the better your performance is.
But customers don’t want to feel like another ticket in the queue.
Instead of using speed as a measure of success, brands should focus on an array of customer satisfaction metrics.
Metrics like Customer Effort Score (CES), First Contact Resolution (FCR), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) look at how completely an issue is resolved and, ultimately, how your customers feel about the service they received.
This shift sets your brand up for success because it takes the onus off the agent to close tickets as quickly as possible, letting them focus on providing valuable service, regardless of how long they may spend with a single customer.
Misconception #4: You can’t save your relationship with a customer after a negative experience.
Even with the perfect strategies in place, there will be customers who feel dissatisfied enough to leave negative feedback about your business or your agents. It’s how you handle that feedback that makes a difference.
In our survey, 61% of consumers reported that they would be willing to do business with a brand again after a negative experience if the brand was able to solve their problem and turn their experience into a positive one.
Knowing this, having a service recovery strategy in place is crucial for businesses today.
Service recovery is the idea that negative customer feedback is a salvageable touchpoint in a customer journey.
Customers appreciate being heard and knowing their feedback doesn’t disappear into the void.
Service recovery also gives you another valuable metric alongside customer satisfaction that’s more agent-based, and more applicable to the health of your entire CX organization.
Combating Common Customer Service Misconceptions
Buying into misconceptions can not only negatively impact how you approach your day-to-day responsibilities as a customer service professional, but can ultimately harm how your customers see your brand.
After all, front-line agents are the face of their brand to customers. As such, it’s important that they can approach each new customer inquiry without preconceived notions of how to handle the interaction.
Hannah McCabe is the Director of Demand at Stella Connect by Medallia. She is passionate about sustainability, growth (both personal & professional), the Oxford comma, and lipstick.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Leaders, Trust Is Your Most Important Asset
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