Not too long ago I ordered a book online. I remember being so excited to get my new book, only to end up very disappointed. Would you like to guess what happened?
As I picked up the package, I opened it up to discover that it was empty! I can’t believe that I got a big envelope with literally nothing inside. It was that moment from being a happy customer to becoming very frustrated. I asked myself, how will the company solve this problem for me?
I went to the website to contact customer support and found myself confused. I chatted with a bot and tried to navigate through the complexity of help pages. Basically, their system told me it was my problem. I wasn’t even allowed to declare it lost because the tracking number indicated that my package was delivered.
Eventually, I was able to talk to a real person and they sent me a new book. Best part? They ended up charging me for that book too! I felt unsatisfied with the interaction, but I learned five interesting concepts about customer service throughout this entire experience.
I would like to share them with you. So continue reading to discover how you can avoid having a frustrated customer like myself, in your company!
Authentic people vs robots
Talking to real people is always preferred because people can be charismatic and do real problem-solving for you. The negative side is that people cost a lot of money to hire and may not always be available to support their customers.
To fix this issue, bots are a great alternative since it is cost-effective and they can be always available! The problem? Bots are only sometimes helpful and frustrating for the user.
The solution is a hybrid method. Use bots for basic questions, then have the system automatically transfer the chat to a support representative if the basic questions are not within the scope of the issue.
Satisfaction vs loss-prevention
As a business, you want to satisfy your customers with the best possible service. At least I hope you do. However, your business can also become vulnerable to theft from criminals that know how to manipulate the system.
I learned that the reason why this company I described earlier didn’t have support for empty packages was that it can be an easy way for thieves to be sent two of the same package for the price of one.
Instead, it would be better to have a few angry customers pay double for one package. From a loss-prevention standpoint, it makes total sense. This is perhaps a huge problem with customer support, and finding the right balance will become tricky depending on the type of business you run.
Simple vs complex
Having content such as FAQs on the support page is useful. Customers wouldn't need to contact customer support since their solution will already be available! However, there is a balance...
You also want a simple approach as well, because customers can get easily overwhelmed or frustrated when they can’t find their answers. It doesn’t matter whether that means questions have or haven't been answered on your support website.
The solution is to use a minimal design on your support page that highlights the key Q&A for the majority. After that, you could install a search engine to display related blog posts and community forums to create a constantly increasing database of answers.
Reactive vs proactive growth
Companies should be always investing to provide the best possible service and products to their market. Customer support staff have an integral part of helping achieve this.
Unfortunately, it seems as if most companies take a reactive approach of waiting until customers complain about the products or services.
Instead, these companies should be taking a proactive approach of investing in both quantitative and qualitative research. Here are two examples of the difference between both of these:
- Quantitative: analytics and customers filling out surveys. The data shows that customers are paying extra for a feature they rarely use. Is it not a good feature?
- Qualitative: interviews and reviews from customers. The data shows that they are paying extra because they like the convenience of the added feature, but don’t need to use the feature that often.
Proactive growth is ideal if you have the available resources, otherwise a hybrid of both reactive and proactive growth can also work.
Failure vs success
No matter how hard you try, you can never satisfy everyone. The only thing that you have control over is your own performance when supporting customers. Your goal is to be the best version of yourself!
Mostly you will be successful in caring for and solving customer problems, so they can thrive. For the rest that aren't happy, take from it what you can to learn and move on. Failure is a strong word, and as long as you or someone else is growing, I don't believe failure exists.
There you have it! My five points that you should consider when setting up or improving the customer service of your company. This is vital because as you just read, this influences the future of your business.
Your priority is always the customer. You make the products for them. You provide the services for them. Don’t disappoint, and go above their expectations!
Frustrated customers will be inevitable, but how you handle them is everything! If your customers are not successful, don't expect your company to be.