It’s a relatively simple thing for smaller, more agile companies to deliver a great customer experience. Providing attentive, one-on-one support interactions is much easier when a business only has a small number of customers. As the business operation scales, however, the number of customers that each individual support rep needs to respond to in a given day can grow exponentially. This creates a serious challenge for maintaining an exceptional customer experience.
It’s no longer enough to have great, hard-working people on these customer support teams. It’s simply not sustainable. To keep costs reasonable, the company instead needs to formalize their customer experience framework. As a result, the work tends to become more impersonal, rigid, and detached. That’s rarely a good thing for the overall customer experience.
Over time, flaws start to appear in this new customer support structure. Customer satisfaction begins to decrease, and it’s not always obvious how to improve it. Left unchecked, these issues can quickly spiral out of control.
Of course, these customer experience flaws can all be mitigated with the right strategies and planning.
Here are five of the most common customer experience flaws that companies face as they grow.
As companies formalize their customer service and customer experience frameworks, they sometimes go a little overboard. They attempt to create strict scripts for every scenario, and force their customer support teams to follow these scripts to the letter, even in situations where they make customer experience worse.
The Fix: Consider replacing these inflexible frameworks with a more intuitive, common-sense customer service approach that focuses on positive outcomes rather than following a script. (Starbucks’ “LATTE Method” is a good example.)
One of the few drawbacks to a data-driven customer service solution (support desk suites and CRMs, for example) is that it’s all too easy to lose sight of what those numbers actually represent. This creates situations where managers focus on the right things — reducing the length of an average support call, for instance — but for the wrong reasons. Simply reducing that number for the sake of “efficiency” isn’t helpful to the company if it comes at the cost of customers getting the service and solutions they need.
The Fix: Don’t let the idea of “efficiency” dictate your customer experience. Try to remember that the ultimate goal is to have satisfied customers who will continue to give your company their business, not a 2% improvement to a field on a KPI dashboard that may, or may not, have any connection to the real-world customers’ needs. Ultimately, allow your data to guide your decisions, but don’t forget the purpose behind your goals.
Until recently, most companies only provided a handful of ways for customers to connect with their support teams. If a customer couldn’t be bothered to visit the company’s website to file a ticket, send an email to the support address, or call the customer support phone number, that was their problem. Today’s customers often don’t see things that way. They instead prefer to reach out directly on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media channels. Because these platforms are public and highly visible, failing to respond can create an impression that the company isn’t responsive to customers in general. Obviously, this isn’t a great look.
The Fix: Your support teams should always try to find and talk to customers where they actually are. This may mean investing in better social listening tools, or rethinking your support workflows. Utilizing an omnichannel approach can string all these communication channels together.
Nothing infuriates a customer more quickly than feeling like they are being ignored when they have a problem. It’s almost like an invisible clock begins to count down from the moment a customer initiates contact with the support team. The longer it takes for them to get a response, the more unhappy they become. Take too long, and the company may lose that customer forever.
The Fix: Establish systems that let the customer know that you haven’t forgotten about them. It may not be possible for your customer support team to respond immediately. However, with the right technology, your company should always be able to send them an automated reply. You can immediately let them know that someone will be in touch as soon as possible. Automated reminders about the status of their ticket, and other related notifications, can also keep these customers in the loop.
Sometimes, customers have wildly unrealistic expectations. They want refunds they aren’t entitled to, services they didn’t pay for, and sometimes services that the company doesn’t even provide. They can also be quite pushy about it. There is often an expectation that customer service will do anything they can to avoid saying “No,” or “Sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.”
The Fix: While it’s a little simplistic to take the view that “the customer is always right” — particularly when they’re wrong — it is useful to have a few alternative options available to resolve customer issues. This typically means empowering your customer service teams to give discounts or other small concessions. It’s also helpful to develop a set of “We’re sorry you had this problem” responses. These responses acknowledge their concerns, even if the real answer is still “No.”
These are just a few of the most common customer experience issues companies tend to encounter as they scale their operations. These problems can often be minimized — or even avoided completely — with the right strategies.
At Faye, we’ve helped countless companies enhance their customer experience frameworks, and reinvigorate their customer support teams. To learn how we can help your business, contact us today for a free consultation.