There is no loyalty to a company that provides bad customer service, and as a result poor customer service is costing the average South African company millions in customer churn.
How your customers interact with your business is a key indicator on their opinion and perception of your business. If the interactions you have are poor, or below average, this will translate into how a customer views your products or services. A recent national survey commissioned by Alcatel-Lucent company, Genesys, UK consumers highlighted how more than £15.3 Billion is lost as a direct result of bad service.
“With all the technologies available to us today that can proactively monitor and manage customer interactions, there is simply no excuse for bad service,” says Richard Menton, product development manager at Bytes Communication Systems. “Customers chose the way in which they interact with your business, it is therefore your job to combine the information gathered from various sources into a central converged system and then better report on the patterns they yield.”
With more than 73% of customers in the UK simply severing ties with a company because of bad service, a more discerning South African public is not far behind. Menton says that while many customers are forward thinking in their approach, and proactively pursue new technologies and business processes the bulk are already facing customer service issues when they first engage with the company.
The main reasons customers get disgruntled are the same the world over; people simply don’t like having to repeat information, especially something as simple as their name or a street name. A major problem is the automated self-service quagmire, while self-service can be a valuable tool, always give your customers the option to opt out and speak to an agent.
Waiting is another bugbear consumers have, they simply hate sitting in automated queuing systems for too long, as is dealing with a representative who has little to no knowledge of the services and products that the company is hoping to sell. And finally people like to be able to switch to different communication channels, so give them options to use the Internet, mobile phones, call centres or even traditional fax based systems.
“Companies need to acknowledge that just because they have a “system” doesn’t mean it works. That said, organisations need to constantly monitor and report on the success of their ICT systems, if there is a failing, identify it quickly and make changes. It is easier to fix that which is wrong than have to replace your customers.
“Always hinge your business service ethic around competency, convenience, proactive engagement, and personalisation. And remember proactive engagement doesn’t mean hounding your customers for more business, but rather proactively helping them when you can see they are facing problems with either their interaction with your systems or your products themselves,” adds Menton.
The race is on to be the best, and by being the best you need to embrace the notion that customers need to have an emotional attachment to your brand, and you can start developing this by improving your customer engagement and service model.