In Spring of 2008, a musician was shocked when he saw United Airlines’ baggage handlers carelessly throw his guitar around on the tarmac, destroying it completely. After several months and many unsuccessful attempts to convince United to pay for the guitar, Dave Carrol took matters into his own hands and wrote a song about his experience, “United Breaks Guitars.” Much to United Airlines dismay, the song was catchy and discussed an experience familiar enough to other fliers that the music video went viral.
United Airlines let bad customer service become a public relations disaster. To help businesses avoid this fate, we’ve put together a list of customer service trends that consumers despise and tips on how to avoid them.
Problem: Phone call menus and unnecessary hold times that cause a simple phone call to take up a large portion of a customer’s day.
Solution: Make sure every phone call gets directly to a representative and hold times (when required at all) are kept short. Mojo Helpdesk can help your employees organize all this information in one place.
Problem: Transferring customers from one department to another, rather than working to resolve the problem right away.
Solution: Make sure all customer service representatives aretrainedwell enough in the company’s products to help with all basic issues. Utilize a helpdesk, such as Mojo Helpdesk, to assign customer service requests quickly and easily to the appropriate party from the start.
Problem: Refusing to acknowledge an error, or trying to shift the blame onto the customer.
Solution: Be willing to apologize when there’s a mistake. Focus on trying to solve the problem, and ensure that the customer is feeling heard and satisfied – especially when there is an honest mistake.
Problem: Customer is denied a refund request.
Solution: In cases like Dave Carrol’s where the company is responsible for the damages (and monetary reimbursement isn’t an option), consider offering customers other services, goods or credit to turn their bad experience into a good one.
Problem: Responding to a complaint slowly or not at all.
Solution: Set the goal that all customer service inquiries should receive a response within 24 hours.
Impersonal and frustrating customer service can drive customers to a level of anger that could inspire an angry tweet, a bad online review, a blog post rant, or even a viral video. Good customer service has always been important, but only recently has bad customer service become such a public liability.
All businesses should strive to provide exceptional customer service, but at the very least, no business should fall prey to failures and catastrophes that can be easily avoided. Treat customers with respect and keep customer service interactions personal. Mistakes happen, but businesses should fix and recognize them before the customer feels driven to public condemnation. A business can save time and effort in damage control by never allowing a customer service problem to reach a critical point to begin with.