A recent study by Salesforce shows interesting data on common misconceptions about customer interaction. Many companies do their businesses believing these myths, therefore missing out on a big opportunity to grow, to serve their customers better, and to potentially earn more profit. These Customer Service Myths change the way we look at customer complaints, and give us ideas on how to address them better.
To summarize important points from the study:
- MYTH: Less complaints is better. TRUTH: 70-90% of customers don’t even complain. Less complaints mean businesses are operating in the dark.
- MYTH: More complaints = spend more to make customers happy. TRUTH: 80% customer service calls are no-brainers to solve and are resolved within minutes.
- MYTH: Fewer calls = more happy customers. TRUTH: Fewer complaints mean more silent but unhappy customers.
- MYTH: More calls = more unhappy customers. TRUTH: When customers call or complain, there’s a 50% chance of customer retention.
- MYTH: Invest more in marketing and advertising than in customer service. TRUTH: It costs more to get new customers (from marketing) than to retain existing ones.
Most of us look at customer complaints as the bane of our existence. We see them as bad for online reputation, and therefore have to be compensated with more marketing and PR. Here are some things to think about when it comes customer complaints:
Customer complaints are often not complicated.
The study shows that 80% of the complaints are no-brainers to solve and are often resolved within minutes. As a company who takes thousands of customer calls a day, transcosmos can attest to this.
True, a single issue may seem complicated to a single customer/client; after all, it may be his first time to encounter that problem. But to those in the service desk, most issues have been dealt with before and solutions have already been set in place. Tech support agents and customer service representatives are trained to handle a variety of test cases and potential problems. They’re trained to be experts in their specific product or field, and should be able to answer both simple and complex customer concerns.
When a simple customer complaint is not attended, that’s the time dissatisfaction gets out in the open—in social networks, and through word of mouth. Or, as studies show, customers just quietly stop using the product and start using the competition’s.
SOLUTION: The solution is all in the availability of customer service representatives, and the prompt response to customer complaints. Make sure also that the people who are answering the phone or replying to emails know the product inside and out.
Customer complaints are good for business.
If people are “complaining” about your product, that means people are actually using your product. The reverse is true: if no one is complaining about your product, most likely you have silent and unhappy customers who may be about to jumpship to your competition.
In the same way, when customers stop calling, revenues start dropping. But when the phone is always ringing and email inboxes are full, that means more customers and more revenues.
SOLUTION: Encourage customers to give feedback. Make your hotlines visible on your websites, upfront and center. Make it easy for customers to complain and to ask for help. And when the phones start ringing, make sure that equipped customer support agents are waiting in the other side of the line, eager to take their calls.
Customer complaints are opportunities, not problems.
Customer complaints is a good starting point for technological innovations and/or operational improvements. Sometimes, customers are able to encounter glitches and product defects that you’re not aware of before. Complaints are good opportunities to really test your product and see what works and what doesn’t.
SOLUTION: Don’t just dismiss complaints after you’ve attended to them. Process them and see what can be done to improve your product, your services, or the way you do business.
Customer service is the new marketing.
Hyken featured this topic in his customer service blog recently, detailing why customer service is a good marketing investment. Salesforce’s study also shows that it actually costs less and profits more to retain customers than to make new ones.
Marketing is for getting new customers to use your product or service. Customer Service is for retaining your customers and keeping them happy, thus making them tell others about your product too. When you invest in Customer Service, you’re actually investing in your customers to do the marketing for you.