Customer satisfaction should always be at the forefront of your service agents’ minds. Otherwise, your customers can quickly become disgruntled and irritable, which can lead to a whole slew of other problems. But to get a little more specific, here are some reasons why customer satisfaction is so important.
- Better Customer Retention: It can be anywhere from 5 times to 25 times cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones. So, the more you focus on retaining customers through customer satisfaction, the less you have to spend on marketing campaigns to pull new ones in. Thus, your company can be more profitable.
- Happier Employees: It can be a drain if your agents always have to deal with angry and unsatisfied customers. Over time, this drain can turn into total burnout. So, by focusing on making customers happy, your employees may find more fulfillment and enjoyment in their jobs.
- Positive Brand Reputation: Your customers can be some of your most valuable assets because of their enthusiasm for the product. If they love your product and the experience they have with your service agents, they’ll be sure to tell their friends about it. However, this is also true for negative experiences. To keep your brand reputation positive, you must prioritize customer satisfaction.
Of course, these points are easier said than done—numerous customer satisfaction challenges make achieving these rather difficult. So let’s take a look at what some of those challenges entail.
7 Customer Satisfaction Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)
Below is a list of seven customer satisfaction challenges we see most frequently in the customer service industry. We’ll also go over some potential solutions to each challenge.
1) Managing Customer Expectations
As more and more people purchase your products, the expectations those customers will have for your product will grow and diversify. For example, some people may use an iPad exclusively for reading eBooks, while others use it primarily for digital sketches. Same product, different expectations.
The Solution: Get to Know the Customer
The only way to understand a customer’s expectations is to ask them outright. Why did they buy this product? Has it met those initial expectations? Find out why or why not (but if they’re on the phone with your agents, it probably hasn’t met expectations).
After establishing their expectations, customer service agents will have enough context to address why they are calling. Maybe they don’t have the right accessories to use the product how they’d hoped. Or maybe they are simply using it the wrong way. Whatever the case, discussing with the customer will make managing expectations so much easier.
2) Answering Difficult Questions
Service agents should have some preloaded responses ready for frequently asked questions about your products. But every so often, they’ll get questions they weren’t ready for. It might be a production error very few people have previously run into or a technical question about the product’s functionality.
The Solutions: Take Your Time
A trained customer service agent shouldn’t feel pressured to come up with an answer right away—giving an uninformed response can often lead the customer to feel more frustrated or unsatisfied with their service experience. Instead, the agent should ask the customer to give them some time to research and think about the issue. This will give you an opportunity to speak with a product manufacturer to gain a bit more insight.
Once you do have an answer, you may email the customer or call back. But don’t keep them waiting too long; customers may get frustrated and call your customer service number again only to run into another agent who doesn’t have an answer.
3) Dealing with Requests You Can’t Resolve
Sometimes a customer will come with a difficult question or complaint that simply can’t be resolved. Perhaps they bought your product with a specific application in mind, only to find out the product can’t be used that way. Or maybe the customer wants a discount your company simply does not offer. When customers find out they can’t get what they want, it may lead them to feel cheated or lied to, which obviously leads to a less than satisfactory experience.
The Solution: Learn to Say No
No one wants to hear “no,” but sometimes that is the only option. Therefore, customer service representatives need to get comfortable with saying no and saying it emphatically. For example, “I’m sorry, that is not something [the product] can do at this time.” If they leave any room for ambiguity, it may give the customer false hope.
4) Handling Angry Customers
Angry customers are probably the most feared interaction of the customer service industry. Unfortunately, no matter how great your product is, there will always be angry customers.
These can be difficult interactions for your service agents to navigate—these customers are irritated and offended, and it’s up to your agent to deescalate the situation.
The Solution: Remain Calm
While an angry customer may elevate their emotions during the call, customer service agents cannot do the same. They must remain level-headed. The irritated customer is most likely just venting pent-up frustration, so there’s no real reason to try and rationalize with them.
The best course of action is to listen, empathize, apologize when necessary, and work to resolve and diagnose the issue. If a service agent can manage that, there’s a better chance the customer will calm down.
5) Juggling Multiple Callers at Once
In a perfect world, customer service workers could take calls one at a time and hone in on the needs of a single customer. Sadly, this is rarely the case—agents will frequently need to handle multiple calls at a time. If poorly executed, agents may leave customers on hold for too long, resulting in an unsatisfactory customer experience.
The Solution: Pause at the Right Times
The best way to handle multiple calls is to take advantage of natural breaks in the correspondence. If the service agent needs to put the customer on hold to research an issue, they can take another call while they do it.
However, breaks need to be natural. Agents shouldn’t put callers on hold without warning. They also shouldn’t say they need to put them on hold to take another call. Doing so may make the customer feel unimportant.
6) Transferring Callers to Other Agents
As a call with a customer progresses, a service agent may realize the call would be better handled by a supervisor or agent with a specialty in the issue being discussed. So, a call transfer is initiated. While this is intended to help the customer improve call satisfaction, some information can get lost in the shuffle. This may lead to callers having to repeat themselves, essentially starting back at square one after already being on the phone for a while.
The Solution: Established Call Forwarding Practices
Before an agent forwards a call, some essential information must be shared with the new agent or supervisor, including:
- Who is calling
- What their issue is
- What the customer has explained up to this point
- Why the agent is requesting to transfer the call
This gives the receiving agent plenty of information to pick up the phone and continue the conversation without a hitch. Certain call center software helps make this process easier. Some services allow agents to store notes about the caller that other agents can easily reference while they are on the phone.
7) Having Prompt Response Times
The phone lines can quickly get clogged at a call center, particularly around the holidays and after new product launches. This leads to two problems: overworked agents and long wait times for customers. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to reduce these calls—customers decide when to call, not companies. But customer service centers can still try to improve the experience.
The Solution: Keep Callers Updated
While customers are on hold, the customer service’s system should update them on when the next available agent can take their call. These updates should be fairly regular, every 2 to 4 minutes, so the customers know their call is still on the waitlist. While it isn’t ideal to make them wait too long, giving them some kind of alert is better than making them wait with no clear end in sight.
Overcome These Challenges with Outsourced Customer Service
These seven customer satisfaction challenges may seem like a lot to handle. And in reality, this barely scratches the surface of the issues customer service centers face when trying to create a positive customer experience.
Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this alone. Outsourcing your customer service to an experienced inbound call center solution, like ROI Solutions, can put your customers in good hands. Our experienced individuals know how to leave them satisfied and content with your product and service.
Contact us today for a free quote and consultation on how you can benefit from our services.