Many people nowadays shop online, not just for the convenience but because they want to avoid poor customer service. The truth is that customer experience at the retail level is so dissatisfying that people are using brick-and-mortar to shop and the internet to purchase.
Who hasn’t had a terrible experience at their local mall or retailer with sales staff that has poor people skills, bad attitudes, minimal product knowledge and no training? My company once surveyed 500 retailers using mystery shoppers. We found shoppers were only greeted by store employees less than 40 percent of the time. Almost 70 percent of stores visited never offered assistance prior to the customer leaving.
Where do you fail with customer service?
Customers are increasingly dissatisfied because organizations are failing to deliver and exceed the expectations of customers. Record numbers of consumers drive out to malls, big boxes and smaller retailers only to be ignored by skeleton staffs and made to feel like they are troubling the staff when asking for help.
Statistics show that 92 percent of customer interactions in organizations take place over the phone. Eightyfive percent of all customers reported that they were dissatisfied with the way they were handled on the phone.
When people hear an ad about me on CNBC they might Google me and end up on my website. At that point, they might want to talk to somebody but 85 percent of people reaching out to businesses at that point --whether it be about pizza or plumbing -- are dissatisfied. It’s a horrendous and crazy number, but it’s also a huge opportunity. Think about that again: 85 percent of all customers reported that they were dissatisfied with the way they were handled on the phone.
You can be a superstar if you handle this.
Let’s talk about all the ways in which you can fail at customer service because if you know where you could fail maybe you’ll avoid failing in those places. I’ll give you a few specific examples of where people fail with customer service:
1. Inconsistent service throughout your organization.
Managers say one thing and you say another thing, or you say one thing and a manager says another thing. It’s confusing. Everyone in the organization needs to say yes. Figure out what that yes is because it doesn’t mean you giving up the keys to your bank and say take all our money.
Related: Keeping the Human Element in Digital Customer Experience
2. Reactive customer service.
You have to get ahead of the problem. Look for indicators. Are they actually happy or are they just saying they are happy? I had dinner last night and they asked me how the meal was. I said, “It was good”. But was I really that happy with the meal? Look for the indicators. Be proactive, not reactive.
3. One-size-fits-all customer engagement processes.
You have a lot of different reasons why people complain about the customer service. Some complaints aren’t even valid claims. There’s a billion-dollar industry of just fraudulent customer service claims that happen every day.
Let’s face it -- you’re dealing with people and some have different agendas. Some might have overpaid for a product, or maybe they underpaid but over bought. They should not have bought your product and now they have buyer remorse, so they make up reasons why they are so unhappy.
The one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work because you’ll have people with different intentions. Someone buying something for $2 is different than someone buying something for $2500. We like to believe that they are all the same and should be treated the same. Both deserve to be treated as important but the reality is, as you go up the food chain the expectations become different.
4. Inefficient agent interactions.
People who are not trained aren't aware of what they are doing. You put somebody on hold for 30 seconds and think “what’s the big deal?” To the customer, it’s 30 seconds of their life. Thirty seconds on hold, for me, is a lifetime. I’m already gone at 15.
You need high awareness and lots of training. Around my office we have lots of quotes hanging about speed, fast and how we’re in a hurry to serve.
These are just some of the places you might be messing up in. Make a list where you’ve been screwing up and make a list of the familiar customer complaints you’re getting. What are they about? Are they about how long they had to wait, had to talk to too many people, the price, "your website says one thing but you say something else", "you say it’s easy to do business and I can’t even get a price", "I didn’t know about your warranty", "you don’t know what you’re talking about"—right? All that happens. You should have a Q&A on your website already answering all these questions.
Seek to deliver the best customer service on the planet. Make it a priority to serve your customers better no matter what industry you're in and you'll stand out from your competitors. For those interested, my Cardone University recently added a whole new Customer Service module to the platform.