Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Are Customer Service Response Rates Hurting Your Business

What Happens When a Customer’s Request or Complaint Is Ignored?

Speed and convenience are both highly valued by today’s consumers. We want it fast, and we want it easy. In 2011, Oracle reported that 50 percent of consumers gave a brand just one week to respond to an inquiry before they stop doing business with them. In 2020, waiting a week for a company to respond sounds like an eternity. There are too many options available at a click of a button to wait that long for a response.

You might assume that the urgency attached to today’s consumer communications would result in a more diligent response rate. Unfortunately, statistics show that most companies fall far below the 100% response rate you might expect.

Customer Relationship Management in the Digital Age

There are several reasons why companies aren’t as responsive to customer communications as they should be. One of the biggest issues hindering customer service response rates is the use of multiple communication channels by consumers.

For many years, a customer had only three options for filing a complaint or requesting information from a business – in person, over the telephone, or by mail. All of those methods are still available, but now we also have email, chatbots, and social media. Seeking assistance In-person is seldom convenient, snail mail takes too long, and telephone customer service is notorious for long wait times and the limitation of automated options. Many companies have seen a significant increase in requests for support through email, but the real hotbed of consumer communication today is social media.

With both individuals and businesses utilizing social media, it has become a natural go-to for consumers frustrated with a lack of response through private channels. It provides convenient access to a company’s communication channel. It is often assumed that a public display of the consumer’s complaint or concern will carry more weight. Unfortunately, according to SproutSocial, 90% of social media contacts by consumers go unanswered.

Poor Response Rates Harm a Business

No one likes to be ignored. This is especially true when you want to resolve an issue with a product or service. The repercussions of silence may be more damaging than you realize. Look at these stats:
  •  66% of consumers care more about the experience than price.
  •  56% of customers will boycott a business when they experience poor customer service.
  •  people tell an average of 15 others about their bad experiences.
  • 67% of customer turnover could be prevented by handling the issue instead of ignoring it.
According to all the stats, only one thing is worse than ignoring a customer’s communication – giving a rude response or a response that indicates their issue won’t be resolved. So, follow the old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Why Aren’t Companies Responding?

There may be some cases where the company truly doesn’t care about customer communication, but that is seldom the case. After all, without customers, no business will succeed. The reasons behind the lack of response are multiple, but generally, they relate to the increased volume of customer communication and poor visibility of accurate response rates.

According to SproutSocial, in 2017, over 35% of the messages received by brands on social media needed a response. This showed a 146% increase over the data collected in 2014. We can easily assume this activity has continued to increase with the growth of social media use each year. Managing this kind of growth in your customer service department creates an obvious challenge.

The bigger issue relates to visibility. Many brands aren’t even aware of the high volume of customer inquiries that go unanswered. There is more than one reason for this.

First off, many brands outsource their social media management. If no one in the company is reading the social posts from consumers, it’s natural to assume the response rate will be quite low. The bigger problem is one of priorities.

Customer phone calls are still considered a top priority, which has some legitimacy. However, that means email contacts are often left until “I have more time.” Social media communication is even further down the priority list since these messages don’t usually have designated routing to the appropriate personnel.

Solving the Response Rate Problem

The customer service sector generally sees automation as the solution to volume and visibility issues. It has been used heavily for telephone response and often for creating email responses. Automated social media response has been more limited, often only answering direct messaging and not public posts. The biggest complaint consumers have about automated response is the lack of personalization and not finding the answer they need.

Innovative technology like Guest-Note uses a combination of automated function and real person interaction to create a personalized solution for all your customer communication management. Messages from all channels, including social media, are routed to the person most connected to the issue. You establish routing based on location or department or other criteria.

Turn a Negative Into a Positive

Guest-Note solves the visibility problem while also giving personalized attention to your most engaged customers. Just as no response makes for an unhappy and vocal customer, a quick, positive response has the opposite effect. When companies come through and show consumers that they care, 47% of those consumers will share their praise with the world and give you kudos online. Learn more about how Guest-Note.com can improve response rates for your brand.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The diminishing value of Customer Surveys -Survey Fatigue - It's Real

Survey Fatigue - It's Real

See the source imageIt's something everyone can relate to - SURVEY REQUESTS.  It's impossible to avoid them. Whether you do business in person or online, survey requests are inescapable.  They clutter receipts, flood inboxes, and popup on websites. Even routine doctor visits are followed up with a request to fill out a survey.

Intense competition across all business sectors has raised the importance of keeping customers happy.  Not doing so is the quickest way to jeopardize a business.  Surveys have long been the defacto standard in how companies measure themselves when it comes to customer satisfaction.

There's just one problem - surveys no longer work as a reliable proxy measure of customer loyalty.  Their overuse and misuse have decreased the value of the information they produce.  Incentives offered to entice customers to take surveys have only introduced noise in the data.  For a sample to be valid, it must randomly represent a cross-section of the population (all customers). If it does not, the inaccurate metrics can inflate the true measure of satisfaction.

How many surveys a year do you take?

If you're like most folk, time is your most precious asset and filling out surveys is not how you wish to spend it.  So it begs the questions, who are the folks filling out all these surveys.  The answer is that most businesses don't know beyond a few demographic details. The fact that survey requests seem to be a ubiquitous part of every transaction increases the likelihood that they are ignored by the very customers whose opinion you value most.  If the individuals filling out surveys have an agenda other than accurately reporting their experience, such as reacting to an offered incentive of some kind, their data may only be adding distortion to overall findings.

When the expected is represented as the exceptional

Most transactions involve routine purchases; groceries, dry cleaning, gas, pizza, etc. and are nonremarkable by nature.  Customers expect hassle-free transactions - that's the minimum customer expectation that must be met.  The fact that a customer can get in and out efficiently with the items they're after is hardly an event that they are going to "recommend to friends and family" - think of the absurdity of applying common survey questions to these run-of-the-mill transactions. 

The opportunity to deliver exceptional service

The chance to shine in the eyes of customers comes when they have a question or encounter a problem, or submit a complaint.  It is through these opportunities that a customer's loyalty is cultivated.  All too often customer complaints and inquiries submitted through the corporate website (contact us page) receive a canned response or worse go unanswered.

The age of Customer Communication Management (CCM)

Today's consumer has a surplus of communication options at their disposal; email, texting, the contact us link, call center, numerous social media options (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc.) -- and new channels emerging all the time.   

Addressing customer inquiries and concerns on a timely basis is too important to manage via email and Spreadsheets.  New platforms like Guest-Note (GN) are specifically designed to help organizations manage, address, and benefit from all communications with customers.  Unlike CRM, Guest-Note is easy to set up and administer. Most importantly, there are no user licensing fees, just one monthly fee and anyone in the organization (that is granted access) can access it.  This is an important difference, license based systems can be very costly to allow company-wide access.

What it means to be a Customer-Centric organization

CCM platforms like Guest-Note make it easy to place the customer in front of the entire organization.   To be Customer-Centric means everyone in the organization is focused on the customer and GN does that.  With GN features that can automatically route customer input to those within the organization closest to the issue - like the store manager of the location where the problem occurred.  When those closest to an issue are responsible for making things right with a customer they are more likely to address the root cause of the problem, reducing the chance that future customers experience a similar issue. 

Stop Surveying and Start listening to your customers

Customers committed to your brand take the time to let you know when they have an issue or question - they represent your most valuable customer.  Responding quickly is a major step toward ensuring that customer remains loyal.  Even companies without a designated team of customer service agents can effectively manage all customer feedback like rock stars.  Check out www.Guest-Note.com today.

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