Three Types of CS Representatives That Drive Customers Away

Excellent customer service is a foundational component of a great customer experience.  In customer service, there is a right way to do things—and a wrong way.  Your customer service team is the front-line, directly interacting with consumers.  Their role is highly influential over your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty. Take the time to ensure that your customer service team is well-trained and prepared to act as the face of your company.   In doing so, make sure to avoid these three types of representatives that will inevitably drive customers away and discredit your brand’s reputation.

The Unprofessional Customer Service Representative

Excellent customer service requires the proper language, cadence, and tone. Regardless of efforts to provide timely assistance, unless the exchange is professional and concise, the efforts will cause more harm than good. According to McKinsey, 70 percent of the buying experience is based on how customers feel they are being treated. [1] Customers’ emotions can fluctuate in an instance of frustration or confusion, making it essential for representatives to remain calm and collected.  Interactions muddled with slang, aggravated tones, or insensitive remarks will drive customers away, leaving them more frustrated than before.

Unprofessional CS teams and representatives are a product of poor training and an uninspiring work culture.  In many cases, the demands of a customer service role can be stressful and taxing on employees. Listening to customers’ issues and dealing with unsatisfied people day to day can lead to general trend of negativity, which comes across as unprofessional.  Aim to establish a work culture of encouragement and engagement.  Invest in comprehensive training programs and set rewards for positive results. Give your team frequent breaks and provide an outlet where they can vent or suggest ideas for change.

The Needy Customer Service Representative (or Chat Bot)

Is there such a thing as “too much” customer service? In some cases, yes.  One of the most dreaded interactions that shoppers face is walking into a store to be immediately bombarded by an overly excited associate who will not stop offering their input and assistance as you dart around the store looking for the nearest exit. While it is appreciated to have help readily available, there is a difference between being helpful and being annoying.  It is important to anticipate the customer’s need but overloading them with unwarranted assistance will only frustrate them.

In the realm of e-commerce, customer service is typically provided via chat bot or a live assistance chat feature.  In this case, it is important to inform the customer of the available service but refrain from overwhelming their screen with redundant messages.  Chat bots and representatives should output an initial greeting to notify the customer of the option to speak with a representative, then remain dormant until prompted otherwise. Like a sales associate breathing down one’s neck as they shop, unwanted customer service can act as a turnoff for customers.

In reality, customers are not looking for a non-stop spew of information, they simply want their problem to be solved and then to continue on their merry way.  Forbes addressed this when they stated that “your customers don’t want to talk with you, any more than you want to take many of their calls” [2]. Research by Zendesk revealed that 67 percent of customers prefer self-services over speaking with a representative while 91 percent claimed that they would use an online knowledge base to answer there question if possible. [3] In other words, keep your interactions brief and to the point.

If all your customer data is centrally stored, it is easier for CS teams to assess the situation and act accordingly.  For example, if the shopper is a returning customer who has required an abundance of assistance prior, it might be helpful to increase the level of interaction in anticipation of their needs.  If there is no history of previous interactions, it is best to let the customer lead and wait for their request.  This allows you to focus on customers who require more attention while leave those who do not unbothered.

The Uninformed Customer Service Representative

Remember when you were sixteen working at the local ice cream store and an angry woman came to complain that her order was taking too long?  Being naïve, you panicked and told her that her next purchase would be free.  Then she came in the next week to claim her free ice cream, but your manager would not agree to such a thing.  Now in an effort to calm an angry customer, you just made them even more angry.

Do not make false promises.  These will only harm the business and cause confusion for both customers and employees.  Provide training that teaches employees how to deal with unexpected issues in a controlled, professional manner. Inform employees to involve their superiors instead of crafting their own solutions.  When your front line lacks the proper information, it reveals a disconnect in communication within the company.  The best way to ensure that your customer service team is informed is to inform them.

Keep a fluid line of communication from top to bottom; notifying employees of new changes or services, updating customer data files, sharing information across teams.  This allows for efficient and effective customer interactions that avoid unnecessary repetition, confusion or misinterpretations.

Customer service is a make-it-or-break-it operation when it comes to the overall experience.  One upsetting interaction can terminate a customer relationship indefinitely.   Research by NewVoiceMedia claimed that in 2017, companies lost an estimate of over $75 billion due to a poor customer service.  [4] Customers want to be heard and tended to, and they want it to be in an appropriate fashion.  Get to the point, solve their problem, and be professional while you do it.

[1] https://industryanalysts.com/12417_greatamerica/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2011/09/27/customers-dont-want-to-talk-to-you-either/#6f4f7d3370dc

[3] https://www.zendesk.com/resources/searching-for-self-service/

[4] https://www.newvoicemedia.com/en-us/resources/serial-switchers-swayed-by-sentiment-how-bad-emotive-customer-experiences-are-costing-brands-billions


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