Are You Forcing Customers to the Dark Side with a “Dearth” of Connection Options?

Posted by
Ciaran Doyle
LivePerson Contributor
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 10:14

The holidays are still upon us, and, given the numbers I’ve seen, everything is going great!

But it’s a different story when you go to return those unwanted eggnog-scented candles, inedible fruit cakes, or pink bunny PJs. Then, the dark side of customer service starts to show. Suddenly, those conversations with cheery, elf-like agents aren’t so fun — especially if the only return options involve a customer service bottleneck through the phone, and you’re stuck on hold ’til spring.

The (Upset) Customer Strikes Back

Left with limited options, it’s no wonder once joyous customers turn to the dark side, laser-blasting brands on social media and striking down your well-crafted social presence like Vader did to Obi Wan. (Do you sense a theme yet?)

I could point you toward thousands of tweets, articles, and even recordings of customer service à la the dark side, but, instead of telling you what you already know, let’s end the year with a more positive message.

A New Hope

Retailers smartly incorporated the mobile shopping surge in their holiday strategies to grab the greatest share of consumer spending. This holiday season was, indeed, a watershed moment for mobile — the average order value via tablet beat desktop for the first time ever, according to IBM, and smartphones made up nearly half of all US internet traffic on Black Friday.

That said, when it comes to returns, why push customers to calling and email when you know they’re shopping on mobile? Why not use the same devices to help them get post-holiday service, too?

And what’s the pay-off, besides keeping an embarrassing slip-up from going viral? One word: loyalty.

Return of the Customer (Even after the Holiday)

Looking at the last few years of customer experience data, there are some striking ways you can create an ideal environment for a loyal customer:

I. Drive to digital; keep on digital: According to McKinsey, a non-digital customer service journey has a 33% lower CSAT than digital, and customers that switch from digital channels to non-digital have a 18% lower CSAT. You’re never too old to begin the training or give customers more options to connect with you the way they want: on their shiny new devices!

II. Mobile, mobile, mobile (did I mention mobile?): Bain & Co. has some great customer loyalty metrics that show not only does digital usage correlate to a customer’s loyalty, but mobile users also have a 25-point higher NPS. Sure, this report specifically targets banking customers, but the results still demonstrate that digital and mobile create a better customer experience and loyal customer advocates. So there.

III. Never stop: Accenture says that more than half of US customers switch brands due to a bad customer service experience, and 80% of that attrition could have been avoided through better resolution. That’s not to say a brand needs to “delight” a customer at every moment; customers simply want to resolve their issues quickly and move on with their lives. And even when an interaction doesn’t go perfectly, brands that make up for a bad experience actually create more loyal customers than those whose experience was uneventful.

Upset customers are a force to be reckoned with, and keeping them satisfied is no easy task. The key is to understand what tools you have to make the most of their experience and ensure that their epic saga is one that more ups than downs. When it comes to providing excellent customer service, heed the words of Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

For more information on how excellent customer service drives better relationships and revenues, tune into our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, January 13, 2016: “Serve Me, Then Sell Me: Earning the Upgrade through Superior Service.”

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