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Angry Customer Prevention

Having been in the customer service industry for 25+ years, I’ve heard, seen, attended and listened to various programs/seminars regarding “how to handle an angry customer”. Most often, these programs/seminars are very informative and provide excellent guidance on dealing with a not so happy customer. My question has always been – Why is the customer unhappy and is there anything that can be done to diminish the number of unhappy customers? My instincts say take a proactive stance in the battle to prevent angry customers. Here are a few ways to do so.

Why Are Customers Unhappy?
Is there a pattern to the reasons that customers are unhappy? Is anyone in your organization tracking these reasons? It’s been my experience that if you have one customer complaining about an issue or situation, more than likely there are others complaining about the same things. During one call center stint, it was common for customers on certain billing cycles to experience problems with their bills – improper amounts, additional charges, etc. We all know that this issue will certainly create angry customers and additional phone calls. While it’s important for the agents to be equipped with “how to handle angry customers” skills, how about determining what’s causing the “angry customer” issues. Identify external and internal issues that might be contributing to your customers’ unhappiness with your organization. Doing so will surely diminish or even eliminate the need for the customers to call and for customer service personnel to exercise their “how to handle angry customers” skills for these particular issues. Oh yeah, be sure that your customer facing personnel are equipped with the proper customer interaction soft skills – voice tone, empathy, body language, etc. – so that they do not inadvertently create an angry customer!

Why Are Front Line Personnel Unhappy?
It’s been my experience that unhappy employees are an indicator that there may be organizational issues that negatively impact customers. Customer facing employees become frustrated and angry when it appears no one is interested in addressing issues which contribute to the creation of angry customers. Check with your customer facing employees regarding their experiences when dealing with customers. Are processes both customer and employee friendly? Is the training received sufficient to allow for successful customer interactions? Can employees count on the “system” functioning properly so that they can provide a great customer experience therefore preventing the need to exercise their “how to handle angry customers” skills? Take the time to get and act upon feedback provided by customer facing employees. You might be surprised by how doing so can assist in reducing the number of angry customers for your organization.

How Many Credits or Refunds Are You Issuing?
Another possible indicator of angry customers is the amount of products/services given away, account credits or refunds issued by your organization. Is anyone attaching a reason for these actions? Does your organization’s system allow for logging the reasons for refunds, account credits or other actions taken to appease angry customers? It’s important to monitor these areas as they may be an indicator that customers are not happy with your products or services. Allow your customer facing employees the ability to provide reasons for taking these actions. Analyze these reasons and identify ways to prevent their continuance. Determine how much these refunds, credits or provision of goods/services costs your organization. Spend time with customer facing personnel during their interactions with angry customers to get first hand experience of what appeasement actions are utilized. One’s willingness to take these steps will surely lead to a decrease in the number of angry customers.

It’s a great idea to equip customer facing personnel with “how to handle angry customers” skills. Doing so gives them the confidence to properly handle the situation. Take an additional step by proactively identifying and addressing issues which contribute to the number of angry customers your customer facing personnel encounter. I can guarantee both customers and employees will love you for that!

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The Mobile Customer

In today’s world, more and more people are choosing to do everything from their smartphone. Ordering dinner, purchasing tickets, paying bills, making reservations, etc. and even more etc.! What does this mean for the service related industries? Should this be a priority when developing or enhancing one’s customer service strategy? When your customer chooses to communicate in a certain manner and your competition chooses to accommodate the customer’s desire to make life easier via technology, the answer is pretty obvious. Either get on board or miss out on the opportunity for increased  revenues. How can one provide a great customer experience to the mobile customer? Let’s look at a few ways to get this done.

Determine what’s important to the mobile customer. – While it’s important to be “mobile friendly”, (your website is mobile friendly right?)  it’s also important to know what’s important to your mobile customer. Mobile customers are busy people and really want to do everything from their mobile device. They want the ability to visit your website, conduct business and move on – while waiting at the traffic light! This means that your website should first of all be built for speed. How many clicks to complete a transaction? How many clicks to locate items? How does the site look on their smartphone screen? Is there a “click-to-call button” available on your mobile site? Are they able to find your locations and open hours? Can they email you from your mobile site?  All of these are important to your mobile customer.

Get an app. – Another way to deliver a great mobile customer experience is to provide a downloadable mobile app. Doing so creates an avenue for two-way communication. A mobile app allows you to be proactive in having the ability to “push” information to your customer. You can advise your customer of future events, sales, changes or delays. Your customer should also be able to contact you as well via your mobile app. Let’s say your customer is running late for an appointment or reservation – can they communicate this information to you through your mobile app?  Now some might say “Why not just make a phone call in this example.” I would say it doesn’t have to make sense – it’s what the customer prefers to do. If your competitors are providing an avenue for customers to communicate in their preferred manner and you’re not, you run the risk of your customers becoming your competitors’ customers.

Pay attention to your data. – Your mobile customer’s activity should provide some great data for you to establish usage patterns. What percentage of your website visitors do so via their mobile device? What percentage of customers who downloaded your mobile app actually utilizes it? What percentage of mobile visitors actually make a purchase from your website? What percentage of customers making reservations do so from a mobile device? When pushing out sales specials to your mobile app users, what percentage take advantage of your offer? What percentage of total sales are attributable to mobile customers? These are some questions that can assist you in determining the effectiveness of your mobile strategy. The answers will surely create more questions – How can we get more customers who downloaded the app to actually utilize it? Does our advertisement wording incentivize our mobile customers to make a purchase? Do we have all of the pertinent information available to our mobile customer? The answers will certainly identify areas of opportunity in the quest to create a great mobile customer experience.

The mobile customer is not one to tolerate a slow or non-existent mobile customer strategy. Make sure yours in running on all cylinders by Determining What’s Important to the Mobile Customer, Providing A Downloadable Mobile App  and Paying Attention to Your Data.

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He Was Determined To Fix It RIght!

Recently my wife Theresa was having an issue with opening Word documents on her laptop . Since she is a virtual assistant, her laptop is the main tool in her toolbox. A few weeks earlier, my own laptop was attacked by a virus and was repaired by the guys at Texas PC Geeks. Theresa called these guys (on a Saturday) and requested remote service to address her issue. After accessing Theresa’s laptop, Ryan and Jake identified several contributing factors and set out to correct the problems. The convenience of remote access allowed Theresa to work on other tasks while waiting for her laptop to be repaired. After a couple of hours, the issues appeared to be resolved.  A few hours later, the problem resurfaced – unable to open a Word document. Theresa called them again and this is where the fun began.

Jake accessed the laptop via remote and after about 30 minutes he advised her that he needed to go home, but would call her back upon his arrival. Sure enough, he called back and reaccessed the laptop to resolve the issue. Theresa placed Jake on speakerphone to allow for verbal communication while we watched the NFL playoff game. Jake was watching the same game while running his repair programs to resolve the laptop issue. With all of the shouting and game comments going back and forth via speakerphone , you could have sworn that we were all at the stadium! After about 45 minutes, the laptop was repaired – no more issues with Word documents. These guys deserve my “Now That’s Customer Service!” Award for convenient service – remote access on a Saturday!; a great service attitude and the willingness to properly repair the issue without an additional time charge when called the second time. For fast convenient service call Texas PC Geeks at 713-364-3357 or visit their website at http://texaspcgeeks.com/!

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