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“Market research indicates that poor customer experiences abound. Many respondents report having left a store without making an intended purchase because of poor customer service, and a large number of customers hung up on the phone without resolving their issue,” – Grabhouse.com/UrbanCocktail

Customer service has emerged as one of the prime means of engagement between brands and businesses and their modern customers. This paradigm is driven by the fact that commercial organizations operate in competitive markets and offer similar products, services, and experiences. The use of cosmetic changes and alterations cannot disguise the fact that increasingly a wide range of products and services have begun to resemble each other. Therefore, exceptional customer service has emerged as a key differentiator that sets one business apart from the next. However, customer service issues have come to the fore in recent times and we intend to examine some of the most annoying instances of these issues.

Telephone-based customer services offer fertile grounds for the creation and propagation of customer service issues. Every day massive amounts of phone-based traffic are directed at customer care centres in an attempt to resolve customer queries, complaints, suggestions, etc. We have to note that every customer may gain part resolution even though that is not the intent of any customer service centre. Customers may have to put up with long wait times, ill-informed customer care operatives, long call trees, and insufficient levels of resolution. Further, a customer may not be able to impress upon an operative the need to reach a quick solution. Gaps in training and process understanding may prevent some operatives from offering an optimized customer service experience. These issues can combine to destroy a brand reputation and therefore must count foremost among customer service issues.

Upselling practises are a widely deployed device designed to expand the scope of business operations and to deepen the levels of customer interaction. However, upselling can be viewed among customer service issues because this practice tends to force the customer’s hand by offering them choices and products that they may not need or require. Upselling practices can also be viewed as processes that erode the customer’s trust in a brand or a service. For instance, customers would be less likely to visit a retail business establishment if the sales staff were to pitch continuously upselling offers. This can trigger annoyance and inconvenience and the customer may elect never to visit these business premises in the future. Therefore, brands and businesses must train staff members to actively defeat behaviour patterns before these behaviours morph into customer service issues.

The inability to service a customer properly can arise from multiple conditions on the work floor. However, this should not be view as an excuse to offer rude service to customers. For instance, passengers arriving late for a flight may rightfully pose multiple inquiries on the phone or on social media handles. Customer care executives should ideally help such passengers with available information. However, rude behaviour can trigger customer service issues and may not be helpful to the customer at all. These responses can also trigger stress in the customer’s mind leading to poor judgement in subsequent actions. Further, complaints can be lodged against the airline and this may invite regulatory scrutiny, negative press coverage, and legal action. Therefore, we must note that every customer service interaction should adhere to certain norms of decency and professionalism.

A lack of product knowledge can easily translate into multiple customer service issues that leave shoppers and customers angry and frustrated. This can be a common situation in the retail products industry, as also in online businesses. We must note that modern retail products carry a range of information in their labelling but every customer has a right to seek additional information from human store attendants. Therefore, every attendant or employee should make an effort to gain deep knowledge about every class of products stocked in the store. This knowledge can satisfy customer queries and can help the business to attain a positive reputation in the markets. Businesses should be advised to invest in extensive staff training in such matters in a bid to silence potential customer service issues.

Online businesses should expand their abilities to listen to and respond to customer requests in real time. This approach can potentially help online businesses to carve a competitive edge in the e-commerce domain. Social media handles operated by online businesses should react with alacrity to any traffic that originates from customers. This can be viewed as best practices in action and can help to assure all stakeholders that the business stays interested in resolving all customer service issues, should these arise. Brands and businesses must also take cognizance of the fact that social media remains an open platform that has millions of observers, participants, followers, etc. Therefore, unattended comments from members of the public may be viewed as business carelessness. That said, we must note that a responsive business enterprise is also an agile business enterprise that can react faster to changing market conditions.

A careless approach to work processes or a lackadaisical attitude can severely impair business ability to boost customer service levels. We must note that brands and businesses should enforce training schedules that negate such behaviour traits in customer service executives. For instance, banks and financial service institutions must create rigorous training schedules in order to sensitise staff members to the norms of professional behaviour. This approach must hinge on the acknowledgement that any variance can result in annoying customer service issues that will likely offend customer sensibilities. Therefore, customers service personnel that man telephone lines, help desks, social media handles etc. should be adequately trained by employers to pre-empt the creation of any customer service issues.

The failure to provide timely updates and other solutions to customers can be viewed as serious lapses that can ignite customer service issues. For instance, a software developer and manufacturer should view its customer service obligations seriously in an attempt to drive customer delight and attain an outstanding brand reputation. Clients and customers that have paid for software modules have a right to receive updates and software security patches. This represents an obligation on the part of the business. Work processes and business processes should be designed to effect such actions seamlessly in order to benefit the customer. We note that these actions should be replicated across all business units so that the customer has minimum scope to lodge a complaint against the business.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the common situations that can trigger customer complaints and raise customer service issues. Brands and businesses must acknowledge that each customer contribute to the business bottom line and deserves to be treated as such. Ideally, every commercial enterprise must work to improve its internal processes and invest in staff training so that customer service issues are negated before they attain complexity. At the same time, brands and businesses must work to strengthen their business frameworks with a view to enabling customer success and to minimise the chances of customer complaints. These recommendations should be advised to every brand and business because these can help modern businesses to stay in step with the times and create new instances of customer delight in every domain.

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