Business Transformation

5 customer experience failings, and how to avoid them

How customer communications can make or break your business

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Transforming customer experience with customer communications management

Discover how CCM can help your business deliver market-leading CX

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Don't disappoint

No business wants to disappoint its customers. But many companies don't realise how significantly bad service can impact their bottom-line. According to research[1], poor customer service cost businesses more than $75 billion in 2018, which was an increase of $13 billion since 2016.

Customer communications on the frontline

Getting customer experience right is challenging in today’s market. For a start, buying journeys are increasingly complex and fragmented, meaning that businesses have to manage and optimise a multitude of factors, from their call centres process to their delivery model. It can be easy to become overwhelmed by this complexity, but brands should not lose sight of what matters most. At the frontline of customer experience is customer communication. Aside from when customers purchase a product, the only opportunity brands have to build a positive impression is in how they communicate, from sending promotion emails to dealing with complaints. With this in mind, it’s crucial that businesses get this right.

So which are the most common customers frustrations when it comes to dealing with companies? And how can you avoid them?

1. Ignoring customers’ preferences

Any successful customer experience program needs to take a tailored approach. Every individual has their own unique preferences, from the communication channel, to the type of content they like to receive. Businesses firstly need to ensure that they provide customers with the means to express their preferences, but they also need to take them on board; it is this area where brands tend to fall down. It’s crucial that companies don’t just record customer preferences but put them into practice whenever they are communicating with that person going forward.

The key to this is twofold. Firstly collaboration across the organisation is crucial. Responsibility of a single customer journey is often divided between multiple business units, this causes problems with consistency. Teams must communicate openly and constantly to avoid customer preference information falling through the gaps. Secondly, businesses should acknowledge that managing customer experience preferences at scale can’t be done without the right technology. Businesses should harness technology which automatically captures customer information and shares it amongst CX stakeholders, regardless of department, helping to overcome internal silos.

2. Failing to recognise previous interactions

Sending the customer an email after they asked to stop receiving communications, is not only poor practice, it potentially flaunts increasingly strict data protection regulations. Back in 2017, UK supermarket chain Morrisons[1] was fined £10,500 for deliberately sending 130,671 emails to people who had opted out of receiving marketing related information. Now, with the EU GDPR in place, the rules are stricter, and the potential fines can be larger.

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3. Sending irrelevant offers

Sending customers communications containing irrelevant information is a sure-fire way to see them deleted, ignored or, worse still, result in customers pressing the unsubscribe button. Large, traditional institutions, such as financial services, telecoms and utilities providers, often earn themselves a bad reputation for sending out huge volumes of unwanted customer emails that receive low engagement and only serve to frustrate customers. This form of customer communication will not be tolerated by the modern consumer, so businesses need to evolve their processes, ensuring customer data such as previous purchases is used to tailor offers.

4. Slow responses

The always-connected modern customer increasingly expects real-time, immediate answers to any questions or issues they may have. If a customer reaches out with a proactive query, it’s crucial that businesses respond promptly to prevent them becoming frustrated. Customers see a quick response as a sign that a brand appreciates them, so swift engagement will help to build their affinity towards the brand.

Trying to manage customer communications at scale on a manual, case-by-case basis is time-consuming and exacerbates delays. It’s therefore vital to eradicate waiting times by implementing technology that provides customer service staff with tools that help them identify and respond to customer queries quickly.

5. Poor customer relations

However, it’s not just speed that counts, the quality of the customer interaction is equally important. For example, the tone of voice used towards a customer can make or break the relationship. Overdoing pleasantries or following a rigid script which does not allow for complex issues to be discussed, are common causes of frustration for customers whose central goal is to have their issue understood and dealt with efficiently.

Don’t make the same mistakes

The pressure is on for brands to guarantee they get customer experience right every time. To avoid making any and all of the popular faux pas listed above, businesses need to ensure their customer communications are fit for purpose. It’s important to start by critically reviewing your existing technology and the processes you have in place. By comparing these to the latest standards and best practices you’ll be able to spot any gaps in your approach.

Understanding the key trends in the market will also help you assess your business’ readiness. Come up with a strategy for how you want to leverage new channels and technologies and map out how communications will help you improve customer experience and build retention.

As competition increases and customers’ expectations continue to rise, the onus is on businesses to forge personal connections with their customer-base which encourage and secure loyalty. To do this effectively it’s vital to learn the lessons of customer experience failings and ensure you have the technology and people in place to delight customers at every stage of their journey.

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