Customer Experience News & Trends

7 red flags your customer service needs a tune-up

Is your customer service ready for a tune-up? Here are seven signs it’s time. 

Sometimes they’re subtle. Sometimes they’re not. But there are always signs when the customer experience needs a little more attention.

“Some signs might not initially seem to relate to ‘service’ at all,” says Joseph Michelli, author of Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way. “The good news is knowing and paying attention to these red flags can help you correct your course while there’s still time to recapture your customers’ loyalty.”

Here’s what to watch for and what the signs could mean, according to Michelli:

1. Customers don’t tell you how they feel

Companies often analyze what they can measure — foot traffic, website hits, sales revenues, etc. — and make assumptions on customers’ feelings based on what they see.

But you can’t expect everyone will tell you what they think. The extreme lovers and haters will. The middle majority will be silent. Directly asking customers about their satisfaction is critical to understanding what to do next for a better customer experience. You want to consistently get their opinions to keep your finger on the pulse of the experience.

2. You haven’t felt your experience

One danger in the desire to make changes and improvements based on customer feedback is not fully understanding how it fits into the whole experience. Customer experience leaders need to continually check the “customer’s eye view.”

“It’s important to take a holistic view of the customer’s journey at all touchpoints,” says Michelli. “If you don’t, sooner or later, all of your incremental efforts at positive change are going to miss the mark.”

3. Social media is inactive

If you have social media pages and very little happens on them — or you aren’t active in social media at all — customer experience is lagging. Social media allows you to engage with new customers and help all customers on a new level.

“The young market doesn’t look up companies in yellow pages,” says Michelli. “Often they don’t even use email … They turn to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But this isn’t just about millennial customers — even Baby Boomers are deeply interactive online.”

Creating a handle, promoting your social media pages and asking for followers isn’t enough. You need to post daily valuable information and respond to customer interaction in real-time.

4. You’re blindsided by online chatter

Companies that monitor and participate in social media shouldn’t be blindsided by negative online chatter. If you are, it’s a huge red flag that the customer experience needs some help

When something goes wrong, you need to be the first to let your customers know. It can be done via an email blast or social media. It’s important that you get the word out before customers’ complaints go viral in a negative fashion.

Same goes for bad reviews. If you respond to them immediately, it’s less likely others will chime in. Plus, you’ll be able to fix the root cause and avoid more issues.

“Managing the online chatter doesn’t mean trying to argue with the critics,” Michelli says. “It means trying to fix problems and turn those critics into advocates.

5. Visitors aren’t buying

If you’re driving traffic to your website (or brick-and-mortar location) and people aren’t buying, the problem is likely in the overall experience.

Getting them to check you out online or in a store is just the first step. You need people at the ready to answer questions with a genuine interest in helping customers find the best fit.

6. The numbers are consistent

Getting customer feedback of any kind — such as Net Promoter Score, customer satisfaction ratings, engagement levels, etc. — is a good idea. Believing the customer experience is as good as it can be because the scores are consistently high is not.

Most surveys are short these days because that’s what customers will tolerate. They give a snapshot of what customers think and like right now. The results don’t tend to give a picture of the opportunities to be better.

So if you have consistent, good-enough scores, strive for better feedback, then a better experience. Try to get feedback for specific touchpoints to understand any service breakdowns or opportunities to capitalize on what is working really well.

7. Turnover is up

If turnover in your organization is up — especially among those who directly impact the customer experience — it’s likely customers aren’t consistently getting what they expect. As they deal with an increasing number of new people, they aren’t likely getting the same expertise and courtesy they’re used to.

Watch for turnover that’s outside the norm, check how it might affect the customer experience and take steps to rebound before customers leave.

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