Outcomes of Poor Customer Support and How to Tackle Them

A customer’s relationship with any product or service is not going to be ‘happily ever after’. They would’ve experienced bumps at various points in their purchase journey. But, what if your customer support that is supposed to help them messes up? Imagine a chatbot suggesting an irrelevant solution, a support agent putting a customer on hold for a long time or a not-so-professional email from support. This is where customers get frustrated further as your support should be helping rather than adding to their bad experiences.

With heavy competition all around, not giving enough attention to customer support is proving to be a costly mistake for brands. Every year, companies throw away an average revenue of $62 billion due to poor customer support1 and it puts a dampener on their growth. This is why the upkeep of customer support is important.

Signs of Poor Customer Support

Your brand’s customer support doesn’t turn bad in a day. Minor issues give way to major ones eventually turning into a jarring error. That’s why you need to be all ears to these warning signs.

– high average resolution time
– dip in first contact resolution
– low customer satisfaction scores
– an upward trend in incoming queries
– lack of sufficient support channels

These signs indicate that your customer support needs to perform better both team-wise and technology-wise. So, what will happen to brands that don’t identify these signs well in advance? Take a look at these outcomes along with how to avoid them before it’s too late.

#1 Agent Burnout

After customers, the first ones to get impacted by poor customer support are your support agents. They constantly have to juggle between providing a quick resolution and personalizing customer support. But, with customers lashing out when they face issues, failing to give a quick solution only makes it worse for agents. As they try to fix it, more impending issues come in making them rush into fixing issues instead of empathizing with customers. Eventually, they get demotivated and frustrated leading to burnout.

How to Keep the Support Agents Engaged

Manage their workload: Ensure that you have regular one-on-ones with agents to identify their roadblocks and provide guidance on how to overcome them. Take steps to reduce their burden if they are being bombarded with too many issues at a time. Establish a comprehensive self-service guide or chatbot to help decrease your agents’ workload. In case there’s a seasonal peak in issues, consider hiring part-time employees instead of letting the existing team take on huge volumes.

Improve your hiring and onboarding process: Not everyone is cut out for customer support. Which is why you need to look out for traits like empathy, self-motivation, and patience in new hires. These will make them a natural fit for the role of customer support. When it comes to onboarding, have personalized conversations with them and assign a mentor to guide them until they settle in.

Give appropriate training: Before you bring anyone into your support team, make sure they master your product/service. Also, train them on how to be productive by sharing the necessary tools and tips.

When you hire the right talent and train them, you create a team that’s equipped to provide great customer support. They not only strike a balance between providing quick responses and keeping the customers satisfied but also stick to your organization for a longer time.

#2 Decreased Customer Satisfaction

This one is obvious. When customers are unable to contact support or find the right solution, they get pissed off with your brand. When they start to see this trend every time they get into trouble, they move on to other brands. Customer support is becoming a differentiator which is all the more reason for companies to keep it in check. When your support team doesn’t give a satisfactory reply, that frustrates your customers. Your brand loyalty takes a hit and before you know, customers start churning.

How to Improve Customer Satisfaction

Ask for feedback: Survey your customers to find the areas where your customer support could improve. Ask them if they faced any difficulties during the whole support process. This will help you find their pain points and act on them.

Offer support through multiple channels: Email and phone support aren’t enough anymore. Include other channels like social networks, forums, live chat with an inbuilt chatbot, and a self-service portal. Integrate them all under one roof to provide omnichannel support. Increase the overall satisfaction rate by eliminating the need for customers to repeat their issues when they switch from one support channel to another.

Provide proactive support: Don’t wait for your customers to contact you. Whenever a new user signs up, ask them if they need any help with onboarding. Similarly, reach out to them if you find any problem in their usage. And, make sure to give them a heads up if there’s going to be an update or maintenance.

When it comes to improving customer satisfaction, listening to customers is a great way to gauge what they feel about your brand’s customer support. This lets you stay one step ahead of their expectations. Plus, remember to keep up with new trends by making your customer support omnichannel and proactive.

#3 Negative Word of Mouth

23% of customers who have bad experiences with customer support post negative reviews online. This damages your brand image which affects both existing and prospective customers.

When certain brands tried to block negative feedback, it had only worsened their image. For example, a hotel named Broadway2 in the UK imposed a fine of $100 on a couple for giving a one-star review on Tripadvisor. Apparently, the hotel’s reservation agreement had a clause which said they could levy a fine on customers for leaving a bad review. This gained a lot of media coverage when the enraged couple reported to the press and the brand became infamous overnight.

customer support

Many people have begun relying on review sites and social media to check up on a brand’s customer support. This is why brands need to be aware of low ratings and bad reviews on public sites.

How to Prevent Criticism from Denting Your Brand Image

Offer a sincere apology: Before you start typing ‘we’re sorry for the inconvenience’, get to know the problem a customer is facing. Based on the severity, provide an apology that empathizes with the customer or even a special gift. If you’re on a call, allow the customer to vent out before jumping straight to the apology part. This will make them feel heard.

Think twice before commenting: Whenever a customer complains on social media, request them to DM their problem to avoid further criticism. Most importantly, don’t mess up as it takes just one click for the customer to expose your faux pas. Take a look at how Appleyard’s reply backfired3 as the customer pointed out their unprofessional email.

Word of mouth can make or break your brand’s reputation. When your company is consistently known for bad customer support, people hesitate to be associated with you. Customers will not want to take any risks and will rather opt for the brand that offers better customer support.

#4 Impact on Revenue

A lost customer means lost sales and revenue that is lost forever4. When a user registers for a product or service, they expect that brand to offer a helping hand if they face any issues. This is especially important in B2B sectors as one problem could affect both your customer and their respective user base. During such situations, the customer support team cannot afford to be unavailable or slow. It will impact the customer on a large scale and it won’t be long before they leave for a better brand.

How to Increase Customer Retention

Implement a 24/7 support: While self-service and chatbots are okay for minor issues, your team needs to be available when a customer faces an issue. By being there for a customer when they need it the most, they look up to you as someone they can always rely on.

Maintain regular communication: Customer support is not all about resolving issues. It includes letting the customers know when a feature they requested comes live and also ask them if they’re facing any difficulties from time to time.

Gaining a new customer costs six times more than retaining an existing customer. Here’s where offering stellar customer support can be an advantage to increase the bottom line. Get your team to upsell and cross-sell in suitable situations which are great ways to build revenue in the long run.

Conclusion

Customer support has become an integral part of every brand. When a brand’s customer support takes a bad turn, it is important to work on the gaps before things get out of control. Failing to do so leads to agent burnout, customer dissatisfaction, negative word of mouth and loss of revenue. Here’s where brands have to be aware of how to tackle these outcomes. Because at the end of the day, it’s great customer support that makes a brand stand out from others.


Source:
1 – https://freshdesk.com/customer-support/customer-support-statistics-infographic-blog/
2 – https://brand24.com/blog/3-times-brands-turned-bad-customer-experience-in-viral-social-success/
3 – https://twitter.com/SouthEastTom/status/1096807774678384641
4 – https://www.yourtrainingedge.com/the-29-costly-implications-of-losing-customers-2/

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