According to new research from 8×8, businesses should see customer complaints as an opportunity to build advocates rather than an exercise in damage limitation.
The study reveals that customers reward effort by companies to put problems right – 96% say they feel more loyal to a business that fixes their problem with good service over the phone, even if it caused the issue in the first place.
Conversely, consumers aren’t shy about punishing bad service. When service isn’t up to scratch, 41% have taken their business elsewhere and 40% have warned their friends and family against the company. Many have also turned to online channels to broadcast their negative experience, with 16% complaining about the company on social media channels and a further 16% writing a bad review on an online reviews site.
Kevin Scott-Cowell, UK MD of 8×8 said; “In any business it’s inevitable things will go wrong, but this is an opportunity to turn an angry customer into either an advocate or an enemy. Those that get customer service right will be able to seize this opportunity and create a loyal customer from a bad situation. With the right technology in place, it can be easy for businesses to impress customers, routing customers to the most skilled handler first time so their problem can be dealt with in one simple call or using analytics to pinpoint problems in the system.”
The moment when a customer phones a business is a crucial moment for businesses to turn disgruntled customers into converts, as 66% say they normally call a company if they have a problem and a further two-fifths (39%) tend to call when they have a complaint. Just 11% say they tend to call for general advice on the phone.
The power of conversations cannot be ignored, as 73% use the phone for customer service – the second most popular channel.
Yet despite the phone being a chance to change customer perceptions, almost half of people (48%) say they tend to have negative customer service experiences on the phone. Nearly a fifth (18%) of consumers describe companies as ‘indifferent’ to them when they call and 14% said they are unhelpful. Utilities companies were rated the worst for customer service, followed by telecoms companied, retailers and Government organisations.
By doing the basics well rather than trying to delight customers, the research reveals companies can add real value. 97% of consumers say they feel valued by a company when their query is dealt with properly in one phone call.