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Five Quick Tips for Improving Customer Experience

In a recent Convergys UK Customer Scorecard Research, 61% of consumers said that the customer experience has not improved over the past year, and another 14% said that it has actually gotten worse.

Here are some of the topline stats from the Survey and a few things to consider.

1. Pay attention to what your customers are telling you

75% of customers say that in the past year the quality of customer service provided by companies has stayed the same or got worse. There is a clear disconnect here as 50% of employees at the contact centre think service has improved.
Many organisations dig their head in the sands when they receive and then ignore negative feedback, some think the problem is a one off, and unlikely to happen again – the good ones, capture all negative feedback and decide on a strategy on how to deal with that issue should it happen again and then communicate this decision to their frontline staff
(A comedian being heckled thinks, “how will I deal with that next time?” Why can’t businesses simply have a similar policy?)

2. Be proactive versus reactive.

Don’t wait til your customer threatens to leave you, before you have to dig into your Retention Strategy, keep them happy and updated throughout their Customer Journey – how many times have you threatened to go elsewhere because you’ve seen better deals even with your existing phone, bank or utilities supplier before someone drops their price or replace old for new?
In a Convergys survey 100% of customers said it is appropriate for a company they do business with to proactively contact them.
Keep your customers updated, engaged and informed – if you do that from the cradle, you hopefully won’t have to do it at the grave.

3. Listen to your Customers

66% of customers are taking the initiative to contact a company after a bad experience, effectively seeking a resolution before they decide whether or not to take their business elsewhere. They are taking the time to reach out to you, and they expect and warrant responses in return. People often want to stay where they are, it’s too much hassle to shop around to source a new supplier online or on foot, also there is a risk to them of venturing into the great unknown with a new supplier.
The days of your parent’s brand loyalty have gone (my parents used the same bank, utilities company and holiday company(*) all of their lives.
(* this was just for the big holidays. Scout camp or a caravan in Glen Trool was usually enough for my brother and me (apart from the midgies))
Price is King nowadays, not necessarily Value for Money – Brand DIS-loyalty is now the order of the day. Who now shops around for a new phone every year or so, jumps onto one of the ever growing Price Comparison Sites (why do you think they’re growing) or chop and change your Broadband Supplier when you get a rotten signal?
Customer Satisfaction is no longer enough, would you settle for being ‘just satisfied’ in any other area of your life – Customer Loyalty and Engagement is now the new black… and guess what, it’s not just here for a couple of seasons, it’s here for good
What strategies do you have in place to keep your customers engaged and loyal? If none, you better get some soon.

4. Listen to your customers via all of your contact channels.

Over half of customers surveyed, reported their bad experiences last year, and although the majority (71%) are contacting live agents on the phone or in person, 23% are using email and text messaging. Customers using online feedback forms also expect a response as much as those who call, and they are just as likely to defect if they don’t get a response or resolution to their issues. 20% of the customers who reported their bad experiences said they did not receive a response from the company, which ultimately led to over 50% of them deciding to take their business elsewhere.
This survey did not even take into consideration Social Media forums such as Twitter and Facebook
The top businesses I do work for have specially trained teams not just to deal with incoming Complaint calls, letters and emails but also have teams monitoring and responding to critical Social Media messages.
Just check out this clip of how one dissatisfied customer made his feelings known on how he was so badly treated by an airline (at the time of writing this over 11 million people had viewed this video clip)
Moaning is no longer just word of mouth or telling your pals down the pub about the bad service you received – people now have a global voice (are you listening to it?)

5. Aggressively promote the fact that you want feedback.

You want to know when you get it wrong. Therefore, make it easy for customers to contact you and provide them with immediate access to empowered and empathetic agents. 41% of customers who did not bother to report their bad experiences (a third defected without saying a word) said they did not bother because there was no convenient way to report it to the offending company.
Make it wasy for your angry customers to get to you, not just “hit 9 on your phone if you’re thinking about leaving” on your IVR also empower your staff to actually do something to keep them (including apologising and taking responsibility (don’t get me started on that one, will save that Blog for another day)
Too many times, when I’ve visited call centres, have I overheard agents barking at customers “have you actually read the small print?” or “don’t blame me, I’m just doing my job” or “there’s nothing I can do about it” or worse still “look, you’re the fifth person to complain today about this, don’t think your so special” (honest) – I once asked a Team Leader “can you hear that?”, to which he replied “yes …” I thought fantastic, at least he’s recognising bad behaviours, before I had time to think “I wonder what he’ll do about it” he continued “yes … bloody customers, they just won’t listen”. I suggested to the Ops Manger to sack the agent and take the Team Leader out the back and shoot him.

If you provide a fantastic service to your customers, what are you doing to ensure Customer Loyalty and Engagement and if you are a Loyal and Engaged Customer, what are your suppliers doing so well to keep you so?

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