5 Best Ways to Handle Your Customers’ Top Pet Peeves

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How to Handle Customer Pet Peeves About Your Business

We all have our personal pet peeves when it comes to customer service. (For me, it’s when a server asks, “Are you still working on that?”) But some customer service annoyances are pretty much universal — and according to a survey reported in MarketingProfs, these are the top 5. Is your business doing any of these?

5 Things Customers Hate About Your Business

1. Agents aren’t Knowledgeable

Considering how much information is available online about products and services — from product descriptions, videos and photos to customer or user reviews — it’s not uncommon for customers who contact your customer service team to be better informed about what you sell than the customer service reps themselves. Ongoing training is essential to ensuring that your reps are familiar with new products and services you introduce, as well as upgrades or changes to existing products and services.

But your customer service reps also need to be knowledgeable about the customer’s prior interactions with your business. A customer who’s gone through multiple contacts with your customer service team to resolve an issue will be even more annoyed if, every time she calls, the team treats it as a completely new issue. Using unified communications tools such as the Nextiva Service CRM database puts all the information about previous customer interactions, history and relationships, along with any employee notes, at your reps’ fingertips — giving reps one, real-time view of each customer across all touch points.

2. Long Wait Times

No one likes to be kept on hold. On an individual level, reps that can quickly view customer information in real time can respond faster and provide more targeted solutions. On an enterprise level, using analytics tools to continuously monitor your customer service reps’ performance will help you pinpoint bottlenecks in your customer service processes that are slowing things down.

Nextiva’s NextOS provides valuable insights into your customer service data and uses rules engines to automate actions systemwide, making your processes more efficient. Automation gives your front-line customer service reps more time to focus on customers. Plus, by analyzing data about call volume and wait times, you can ensure your customer service center is always staffed adequately.

3. Agents aren’t Friendly or Polite

When customer service reps are overworked and stressed out by clunky, inefficient systems, even the mildest-mannered among us can become irritable and take it out on customers. Providing your team with the tools to do their jobs, such as a unified communications solution, will make a big difference in their attitudes and customer interactions.

Of course, technology alone can’t solve all personality problems. Make sure reps understand the importance of polite and friendly service by making it a real priority. If all you’re measuring is how fast reps answer the phone or how quickly they complete a call, you could be rewarding rudeness. Take a holistic approach to customer service that assesses the experience reps provide as much as the speed with which they provide it. Finally, work to maintain your customer service employees’ motivation, loyalty and team spirit. A happy staff makes for happy customers.

4. Trouble Navigating Automated System/Can’t Get a Live Person

Regularly assess how effective your automated systems are at getting customers where they want to go. The system that worked for you two years ago may no longer measure up. Does your business provide a fantastic call center experience but a lousy live chat experience? Success in one communication channel is no longer enough. Today’s customers expect to communicate with your business easily via email, chat, phone, social media and more. NextOS simplifies communications so you can talk to your customers with equal ease in every format. (Bonus: When you need help from Nextiva, you can access a customer service team 24/7 by email, phone, or chat in addition to self-service options.)

5. Being Asked to Repeat the Same Information Over and Over Again

Getting put on hold or passed from person to person is bad enough — but when you ask customers to repeat the same information to every rep they speak to, you’ve got a recipe for rage. (One of my pet peeves: having to input my account number, phone number or other string of numbers into the automated system, only to have the rep immediately ask for the number I just input.)

When your customer service team has access to a unified communications solution that lets them see real-time customer data or chat internally with other reps, there’s no need to make customers repeat themselves.

What Customers Want from your Customer Service

By choosing the right unified communications tool, you’ll be able to provide your customers with the top three things they expect from good customer service:

  1. The ability to resolve issues quickly
  2. Personalized and caring human support
  3. Knowledgeable customer service teams

NextOS unifies your communications technologies into a single platform, putting your business on the leading edge of customer service.

Photo via Shutterstock

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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.