To relieve customers’ hard feelings about problems with some products or services, companies usually choose to improve the customer service skills of their agents. But does this work well? Not entirely, since to get to the point of using your agents’ skills, customers first need to contact your support. And they don’t always.
In this article, we’ll discuss the key four reasons why some customers prefer to suffer silently and then leave you for your competitors. Followed by how you turn it around can make them reach out to your customer service instead.
Reason #1: The terror of calling customer service
A lot of companies still provide customer service mostly over the phone. Or at least they make customers feel that calling is the surest way to have problems solved.
However, many people don’t like the fact of having to call due to any reason from the sheer lack of time to psychological barriers. For instance, some customers may dread the thought of having to quickly search for words to describe their complex problem.
Turning it around
If you cover multiple communication channels (Aka omnichannel customer service), people will reach out: being able to choose the way to contact support simply makes it more convenient.
If you support only one or two channels (say, phone and email), you can use Live Chat to start working with customers through a chat on your website. And when you get your bearings with that, you can enhance your company’s presence on social media with tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social.
However, adding new channels is not enough. You should verify that your channel-supporting tools work properly by providing skilled software support to them. Also, if they aren’t integrated with a ticketing system already, you may need to connect them with one, since it’s easier for agents to handle multiple channels within one system.
Reason #2: The fear of long case resolution times
Some customers may have no desire to contact customer service again because of a negative experience. Suppose a customer had a slight problem with a product or service and decided to contact customer service about it. They wrote an email and. instead of getting a quick resolution, they got an email saying “we are working on it.” After that, they heard nothing from this customer service for a week and got the much-needed help only after a millionth letter. In the future, the customer would avoid dealing with any customer service just to be on the safe side.
Turning it around
To reduce the probability of your customers receiving such service, you need to log all customer problems and ensure their timely resolution.
Logging customer problems can be easier, more secure and even automatic due to the integration of communication channels with your customer service tool. As to timely resolutions, your ticketing system needs to trigger resolution timers after case creation. And if the time expires, cases need to be escalated, which will poorly affect agents’ performance data and thus motivate them to resolve cases faster.
Reason #3: The doubt in your customer service’s ability to help
Some customers are way more skeptical than others. Even if they don’t mind waiting to have their problem solved, they may believe you won’t solve it at all. And this belief takes many forms. Some people are not sure whether you deal particularly with their kind of problems. Others consider their situation to be too difficult, sensitive or nontrivial for your service reps to help. However different these opinions get, they have a common root: customers don’t fully realize the scope of customer support activities.
Turning it around
Creating a self-service customer portal helps to avoid such situations. Before thinking about contacting your customer service, people will have an opportunity to look through knowledge articles on your portal. This will not only help customers better understand the scope of your support activities but also possibly earn their trust by demonstrating your competence. Besides, if they manage to find the solution to their problems on their own, everybody wins. They solve their puzzle and you take some load off your agents but not at the expense of customer service quality.
Reason #4: The desire to avoid bad treatment
Let’s face it: however careful you train your service reps, there’s always a chance to get to an agent who just spoke to a very angry client or simply got tired. Be it over the phone, email, in social networks or live chats, one can get mistreated anywhere. And people who take it more seriously than others may refrain from contacting a support center because of this. For example, Molly has troubles assembling her new dining table. Still, she fears that the solution is too easy and if she turns to a customer service agent in a live chat on the manufacturer’s website, the agent will think she’s an idiot and treat her accordingly. No one likes that.
Turning it around
If you manage to partially automate agent-customer communication, it will help reduce the probability of mistreating customers. Such features as templates for emails, live chat replies or social network posts can do the trick. And, if your tool is capable enough, you can leverage AI-suggested replies and even AI-powered chatbots. However, the difficulty with communication automation is staying personal with the customer. No one enjoys getting cold and indifferent replies, even if they help. Thankfully, lots of tools have such templates that can use customer data to keep the conversation warm and standard at the same time.
To reinforce friendly treatment of customers, you can also analyze agents’ performance based on their interactions with customers by using your tool’s capabilities of recognizing sentiment and intent in agent-customer communication (both in text and voice). To do that, you’ll need a properly configured or even customized tool with really strong analytical capabilities.
What tools can handle all the turning around
The tools capable of handling the reasons why customers don’t contact customer service are usually found in the CRM market. Not only do they encompass sales processes but they also have a vast offering for service and marketing. And having these 3 entities within 1 system helps gather more data about customers, which means solving customers’ problems faster.
Now, we show how CRM-based platforms eliminate the above reasons and go deeper into delivering customer service. To do that, let’s turn to the biggest players on the market of customer service solutions as presented by The Forrester Wave report – Salesforce, Oracle, and Dynamics 365.
* If you use a different platform, you can map its capabilities to the ones that these three demonstrate and see if it needs any brushing up.
Eliminating the reasons
For reason #1: The terror of calling
Covering such channels as phone, email, web, live chat, social media, communities, etc.
For reason #2: The feat of long case resolution time
Automatic case creation, automatic case escalation triggered by time rules + agent notifications.
For reason #3: The doubt in your ability to help
Convenient tools for designing self-service customer portals (without writing any code).
For reason #4: The desire to avoid bad treatment
Various text templates, suggested replies, customer surveys, the ability to use virtual agents (chatbots) + strong analytics.
Going deeper into customer service
To put it systematically, Salesforce, Oracle, and Dynamics 365 lay the basis for a solid customer service management process. They cover all its stages, from enabling customers to reach out through supporting viable case management to providing agents with productivity tools and managers with analytical features. This all helps prevent these four reasons from affecting your customers and also solves various customer service management problems beyond them.
Still, having all this in common, they do offer unique features. For example, Dynamics 365 allows using Gamification that presents work in the form of a game to engage agents into grasping the tool’s rich functionality and make them more productive, thus solving customer problems faster. Oracle’s Policy Automation supplements self-service customer portals with the ability to order and legitimize such procedures as refunds and product exchanges. And Salesforce News Board allows posting news relevant to customer service, for instance, news about the upcoming product or service changes for agents to be ready for cases related to them.
Stop customers from turning to your competitors
The four reasons why we think customers don’t want to contact your customer service are mostly connected with the terror of calling, desire to avoid bad treatment, doubt of your ability to help and fear of long case resolution. The good news is that all these reasons can be turned around. You just need to cover multiple communication channels, log all incoming customer problems, use timers to resolve them quicker, create a self-service customer portal as well as automate and analyze agent-customer communication. To do all that, you can tune your customer service tool to deliver such support or use one of the known leaders in the sphere.
Editor’s Note: This article reflects the opinion of our guest author.
About the guest author
Denis Zhinko is head of CRM and Collaboration Department at ScienceSoft with 12+ years in software consulting with the multi-platform focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.
Denis has managed projects on CRM, CXM, Portals, System Integration and Connectivity for businesses in Healthcare, Retail,TelecomandBanking, including CRM solutions for 7+ mln bank clients and 5+ mln media subscribers. In his spare time, Denis is a keen motorcyclist, tennis player and volunteer.