How to Avoid Providing a Bad Customer Experience

How to Avoid Providing a Bad Customer Experience

Ready to win back a customer after a bad customer service complaint? It may already be too late. According to a new report from Zendesk, roughly half of customers say they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. If the customer’s had more than one bad experience, that number jumps to 80 percent. The message is clear: loyalty is hard won and easily lost.

The Zendesk report seeks to understand the link between loyalty and how businesses serve their customers throughout the entire customer experience. So they culled data from 45,000 businesses across the globe. The goal was to find out what high-performing companies do to provide the best customer experiences. And then they ran an external survey of customer service experts. The results compiled in the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020 show good customer experiences drive loyalty. And bad customer experiences destroy it. Here are three ways to avoid giving your customers a reason to bolt.

Bad Customer Service

When investigating the most frustrating aspects of a bad customer experience, Zendesk research overwhelmingly found bad customer service as the number one reason for a poor experience. Specifically, customers pointed to these exasperating factors:

  • Unfriendly support
  • Having to repeat information multiple times
  • Can’t reach human agent
  • Long hold/wait times
  • Support can’t find customer information
  • Can’t find information online
  • Support not available through desired contact method

In today’s 24/7/365 world customers want what they want, when they want it and they want the brands they are loyal to, to be loyal to them. That means they don’t want to start over like a new customer every time they reach out. Businesses can avoid the information glitch by setting clear service expectations for your staff and employing a comprehensive customer service management (CRM) program. CRM allows you to keep track of customer information such as past orders, complaints, needs and more. More than anything, customers expect to be able to reach a friendly, helpful voice on the phone or in person, if the situation calls for it. You can avoid a bad customer experience by searching online for free or low-cost customer service training videos, talking to employees frequently about customer interactions and asking customers for feedback.

Online Best Practices

Customers used to communicating with family and friends online want the same relationship with their favorite brands, whether that’s by email, social media, instant messaging or finding the information online. According to the Zendesk report, only a third of companies offer some form of self-service, although high-performing companies are 76 percent more likely to offer self-service. The technology is easily available to automate responses for frequently asked questions and to direct customers to more help if needed. Younger generations, such as Gen Z and millennials, are the most likely to use social and messaging channels. Website chatbots provide quicker response times to customer queries, leading to quicker solutions.

When it comes to smart customer service practices on social media, consumers expect a quick response, according to a study done by The Social Habit. On Facebook, 85 percent of consumers expect an answer within six hours, while on Twitter, 64 percent want an answer within one hour. Both platforms offer free and easy ways to set up instant auto responses, so your customers know their messages are being received. Then it’s up to you to make sure customers get personalized responses.

Other things you can do to boost online customer service are:

  • Make sure your location, customer service email and phone numbers, and hours of operation are easily found on your website.
  • Use common language for your contact page such as “Support,” “Help, and “Contact Us.”
  • Create an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page
  • For email service, create a form to narrow the customer’s concern by letting them choose a category and describe the issue. Also, ask the customer for their preferred method of contact.
  • Set an estimate for when the customer should expect a response and don’t exceed that timeframe.

Create a Community

You can relieve some of the pressure of customer service responsibilities by having customers answer other customers’ questions. This  is done through an online community. And it creates a good customer experience. We’ve all searched for solutions for a smartphone issue or tech glitch. And sometimes you find the issue has been asked and answered by other people. The Zendesk report did find online communities matter most for B2B companies. These are communities where ideas from peers and expert users yield lots of helpful advice. But B2C companies can benefit from an active community offering solutions as well.

In social networking communities users don’t necessarily have common interests. But a community forum is owned by the brand and offers more control over how you communicate with your customers. You can also control how they communicate with each other. Your company moderates the forum. And you can delete unhelpful responses. You  can also block competitors trying to steal your customers. And you can answer customer concerns. A community forum creates more engagement. That can boost the customer experience. Popular community platforms include Khoros, phpBB, and Vanilla. Make sure you task a team to moderate the forum. And market the forum by adding the link to your contact page.


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.