Customer service is a set of customer service measures by which a businessman either eliminates potential problems from the sales process or thinks of ways to solve them in advance.
Without customer service, only businesses whose model is based on dumping, offering the lowest prices, can survive. In other cases, to create a loyal base of regular customers, service standards will have to be implemented.
Here’s a list of typical problems you’ll have to work with.
When You Need Customer Services
The customer life cycle consists of the following stages:
- Customer engagement. The point at which the business interacts with the customer through advertising or other marketing tools.
- Selecting a product or service through a product catalog on a website or a visit to a showroom. This can also be seen at online betting apps free download, where support employees help users select the right sports offers.
- Choosing how to receive the service. Customer service experts specifically highlight this stage – the customer can refuse a transaction if it is inconvenient for him to receive a product or service. For example, the goods can be picked up independently from the store or ordered to be delivered. If the courier has to wait for a long time, the client can either choose another way to receive the service or refuse the transaction altogether.
- Payment, ordering – a separate stage of the transaction, at which you need to offer the client a convenient method of payment. Usually this includes setting up all possible ways of receiving money – in cash, by card, or by installments or credit.
- Waiting for goods or services. Quality customer service involves taking care of the customer. When a person is waiting for delivery, he or she worries about no disruptions. So the business’ job is to keep the customer informed. That’s what marketplaces do – they notify when an order is placed, formed in stock, transferred to delivery and arrived in the desired city.
- Feedback or repurchase. It is desirable to give the customer the opportunity not just to buy a product or service, but also to ask for feedback about what he liked and what he didn’t like. If the business takes feedback into account, including public feedback, it evokes positive emotions in all customers.
Identifying Service Problems
To understand what kind of service problems a customer will encounter, you need to analyze and structure the customer lifecycle in a particular business. And then think about at what stages the customer could potentially have a negative experience.
Now let’s focus on a few common problems in customer service.
Failure to Move to the Next Stage of the Transaction
This problem usually occurs during marketing communication with the customer. For example, a potential customer orders rolls on the site. He clicks on the “buy” button, and the product goes to cart. But there’s no “go to cart” button on the product selection screen, so he has to click on the home page, look for additional links or icons. The client gets annoyed, leaves the cart and goes to a competitor.
Similar situations can arise in offline business. For example, a person who is interested in a particular product in the showroom, tries to find a consultant who isn’t there. What to do? Take the floor lamp he liked and bring it to the cash register or try to involve an employee? If the hall is large and there are no signs, then the client will have to look for the cash register.
You can solve the problem of not being able to get to the next stage of the transaction by studying the customer journey. Try to go all the way from the customer’s arrival in the store to receiving the product yourself. See where the customer can “stumble”, what barriers arise.
Compulsiveness in Sales
If you use active selling techniques, be careful. According to Harvard Business Review, about 90% of cold calls are ineffective. A Kantar Emor study found that 85% of people have a negative attitude toward them. It doesn’t matter to them that the product offered is actually useful and of high quality.
It is better not to use intrusive communications in advertising, either. For example, pop-ups and animated bright banners that interfere with studying the main content will alienate potential buyers from the deal.
Inability to Use Familiar Communication Channels
This problem arises in small and medium-sized businesses at virtually any stage of the life cycle. Today customers save time and prefer to communicate in writing – it’s much easier to send a message to chat or messenger than to call the store.
Businesses that refuse to develop multiple communication channels at once and force customers to communicate by phone or come into the store altogether are losing customer loyalty. Whether it’s a customer service call center or online chat bot, businesses in today’s time need a convenient method of communication available for their customer base.
People are usually willing to wait if they are satisfied with the quality and have had positive interactions with a particular business before. But all loyalty has its limits.
For example, according to Forrester, 41% of customers wait 6 hours to respond to an email. If the wait is prolonged, there is a negative emotion, which means that loyalty is lost.
A similar problem arises at other stages of the transaction. For example, a customer decides to buy an expensive product with delivery from you. If the difference in delivery time with your competitor is a couple of days, a loyal customer is likely to wait.
Incompetence of Employees
In the offline segment, customers are often annoyed by consultants who can not answer the question or at least redirect to a knowledgeable specialist. For example, the client comes in for a washing machine, but in the hall with household appliances there is only a loader who does not know where the consultant is in this department. The problem can be solved this way:
- Make sure there are competent employees in the areas where the customer has access. An appliance specialist should not meet the customer in the hall with garden tools.
- Create a “department map” that makes it clear to any employee who exactly needs to be sent to a customer. Better yet, arrange for an employee to be able to call the right department. For example, hands-free communication is common in retail – any department has a phone that can be used to send a message to the entire store.
Unacceptable Forms of Communication
Rudeness, rudeness, passive or active aggression is unacceptable in communication with customers. Employees should understand this.
It’s unnecessary to use only a formal, business style of communication. It’s possible to communicate in a relaxed manner, but calmly and with a desire to help the customer.
Lack of Ability to Quickly Report a Problem
In any business and in any process complexities are possible. At a minimum, you need to set up a system so that the business can find out about problems as quickly as possible. If there are no such channels, the buyer will perceive their absence as an unwillingness on the part of the business to go into detail.
This is especially noticeable in internet commerce, when the client cannot find the section with contacts on the site or this section only has the legal address to send claims.
No Simplified Return or Quality Control Procedure
When a customer encounters a problem with a low-quality product, the law states that in most cases the business has 10 days to check the quality or expertise, make a decision and refund the money. The exception is technically complex goods, with which there are nuances.
If we’re talking about customer service and quality service, in many cases the legal 10 days is too long. For example, when a person comes in with a product that clearly does not work, he is waiting for a quick solution to the problem.
If the specifics of the business allow it, it is worth organizing a quality check on the spot. You can entrust this function to the seller.
If an expert check is needed, it is worth explaining this to the buyer. Do not just say that the answer will come in 10 days, but explain what will happen during this period, and invite him to a quality check.
Poor Understanding of Customer Needs
It usually annoys customers when salespeople offer them an unsuitable product or service. This is perceived as an attempt to impose something.
Study the target audience of the business, work through customer expectations, and form a typical list of customer needs and products with which you can close them.
Consider what salespeople should do in case a customer comes in with an atypical problem, what product or service to offer.
Lack of Self-service
Practice shows that customers have a positive attitude toward the self-service shopping process. In online stores, the order is often confirmed by an email or a call from a manager. Offline retailers are actively implementing self-service checkouts.
But it’s better not to limit the choice to self-service checkout or communication with an employee, but to give the customer a choice.
How to Detect Problems in Service
Evaluate customer service with a systematic approach:
- Create a “customer journey,” the lifecycle of the transaction. Predict situations in which the customer may encounter problems.
- Formulate evaluation criteria. For example, for an offline store these could be: customer greeting time, completeness of service, resolution of atypical problems, speed of order placement, availability of payment options, speed of delivery, employee behavior in a return situation.
- Choose the tools for evaluation.
- Collect data.
- Analyze the results, make decisions and work on implementing new processes and instructions.
- Re-evaluate and set up a customer service evaluation schedule.
There are several common tools that businesses use to collect data and evaluate customer service.
You need to come up with questions, structure them in a questionnaire, and have the customer fill it out after the purchase. You can use closed questions, which can be answered “yes” or “no”, or open-ended questions, but then some customers will refuse the questionnaire due to lack of time or unwillingness to formulate feedback.
Calculation of Customer Satisfaction Metrics
The most popular one is NPS, when after the transaction customers are asked to estimate the probability of recommending the company to their acquaintances. Scores from 0 to 6 are brand critics, 9 and 10 are advocates. It’s important that there are more advocates than critics.
This method allows you to go the way of the customer. It is better if there are several mystery shoppers and they visit the store at different times, for example, when there are few customers and during rush hour. They work according to a script, so you need to think in advance what and how to evaluate.
Analysis of Conversions
Any customer interacting with a company goes through a so-called sales funnel – moving from stage to stage, from product introduction to repeat transaction. The percentage of people who make the transition is called a conversion. For example, if 30 people out of 100 website visitors have left their phone number, the conversion rate is 30%.
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