The real reasons behind customer service complaints


This is a guest post that has been written by Debbie Fletcher on behalf of NICE.

Believe it or not, this really happened. The story goes like this: When a woman called the customer service line of a major bank to resolve a credit card billing problem, things didn’t go well to say the least. After long periods on hold and unhelpful, scripted responses, the customer still couldn’t get what she knew should be a simple enough answer to her problem. Finally in frustration she told a supervisor, “I’m a busy person and I just need a simple direct answer instead of the script.”

His response?

“I’m sorry you called when you were busy.  We’re open 24 hours a day,” he said, managing to break just about every key tenet of customer service in just sixteen words. No doubt that big bank has spent many millions on customer service policies and training. But in the time it took for its employee to make a snide remark – they lost a customer.

You can’t alienate your way to business success

Social scientists and successful business people alike know that for a company to build a loyal – and profitable – clientele, it has to do more than sell customers a product or service. It also has to meet its customers’ basic psychological needs, and build a relationship. And you do that by delivering consistently excellent customer service experiences. Often, it’s not the original complaint or question that costs a business a customer, but the way the complaint is handled.

Experts agree there are three key ways a bad customer service experience can undermine that relationship, or end it altogether – and three essential ways to keep those customers on your side.

Show Respect for the Customer’s Time

We’ve all been there, and chances are we didn’t like it. Cumbersome phone menus, long hold times, trouble reaching the right person, customer service representatives who can only eat up your time with scripted non-answers instead of actually solving your problem. It all adds up to a recipe for a dissatisfied customer. Whether or not that bank supervisor we talked about above understood it, every customer’s time is valuable, and should be respected. Nobody wants to have to jump through hoops just to give you their business–and their money.

Show Respect for the Customer’s Dignity

Once again, that guy from the bank is a great example of how not to treat a customer. Nobody ever called a business hoping to be treated rudely. Yet, most of us can probably remember a time when that’s exactly what happened. As much as it sounds obvious, experience tells us that not every person running a business understands that each customer deserves respect, dignity, and a helpful response in every interaction.

Show Respect for the Customer’s Intelligence

Let’s take another look at the bank’s customer service supervisor as an example of how to get it wrong. With his sarcasm and condescension he treated the caller like a child, and spoke to her as if she should be organizing her time for his convenience, not her own. That attitude goes nowhere good for any business. Your customer expects to be treated at all times like the adult they are.

Turning Respect Into Standard Operating Procedure

Of course, it’s easy to say that your customers expect to be treated with respect for their time, dignity, and intelligence (and psychology tells us nothing matters more to customer service success). But how do you operationalize that? In real life, customer service employees are busy and under pressure, and they sometimes lack sufficient training and proper tools to succeed.

Fortunately, businesses today have access to both sophisticated training resources and new, cutting-edge tools that are revolutionizing the field for every customer-focused industry.

Notably, these include a comprehensive range of groundbreaking customer experience management solutions from NICE, which offers advanced analytics tools that give CSRs the real-time data and the understanding they need, in order to be ready and able to help every time they answer a call.

Armed with these sophisticated tools, reps have a complete picture of the customer’s experience at their fingertips, and they can anticipate issues and resolve them proactively. Obviously, that’s a win for the customer, but it also has important benefits for the employees and company. When customer service representatives are able to truly know each customer and home in on what actions should be taken to respond, that employee also becomes more engaged and far more motivated to provide the best service possible.

The impact of these tools doesn’t end with a single interaction, either. They can help build even stronger relationships by turning every interaction into an opportunity to learn more about the customer, and capturing those insights to make the customer’s experience even better in the future.

Knowing the customer, after all, can only be good for business, because over time it’s the surest way to build loyalty, trust, and revenue.

Not to belabor a point, but if our wayward supervisor at the bank had such tools at hand (and a little more training in effective customer service), he would have known something important about the customer he was insulting: she’s a noted customer service expert who now tells that story at corporate training workshops everywhere she speaks.




This is a guest post that has been written by Debbie Fletcher on behalf of NICE.

Bio: Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of different magazines and news publications over the years. Graduating from City University London specialising in English Literature, Debbie’s passion for writing has since grown. She loves anything and everything technology, and exploring different cultures across the world. She’s currently looking towards starting her Masters in Comparative Literature in the next few years.
Photo Credit: alasam via Compfight cc

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