Poor & Unmanaged Customer Experiences

“86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, up from 59% 4 years ago.” – Harris interactive, customer experience impact report

A company runs with its customers and the reputation of a company truly is based on the kind of customer experiences that the company provides. There is no doubt that products and their pricing are major factors for customers to choose a company. However, what makes or breaks a deal for customers are service they receive and the experience they have. Too often companies ignore these aspects, resulting in unmanaged customer experiences which the customer perceives as poor service (which it is really!) Some companies believe that by having a round the clock contact centre and a great automated process, they are doing enough for customer service. Customers are not fooled and they now have an outlet to express their ire and vent their frustration through social media and or word-of-mouth.

Customers understand that there would be times when the experiences would not be up to the mark. What they do not understand and should not need to understand is why a company would not learn from their mistakes and the feedback customers give but rather choose to leave unmanaged customer experiences. This is when customers run out the door never to return. Unmanaged customer experiences are direct consequence of having badly managed communication within a company and anyone who is a customer or has been one knows how infuriating this can be. Rather than wait around, customers now have enough choices and would not waste time before moving to a company that communicates well and responds to their queries when they want. Customers get unhappy when they feel like there are unmanaged customer experiences. The tell-tale signs for any company would be – the quantum of business from the particular customer would begin to drop, they become overly sensitive to pricing and quality, make comments over social media and to their friends and associates and would not hide the fact that they are in negotiation with another company – a competitor.

The truth is that these customers are showing these outward signs because they have unmanaged customer experiences. This typically means that not only were they dissatisfied with something – the quality of a product, or poor service – when they did take the trouble to bring it someone’s notice they were met by indifference, discourtesy or even a robotic and apathetic response that really did not seek to make things better or resolve the problem. Such unmanaged customer experiences lead customers to anger and maybe even vengeance in the form of scathing comments and reviews over social media – for all to see. In addition, they would also respond favourably to the attempts of your competitors to draw them away.

When companies err by providing shoddy service and then compound it by unmanaged customer experiences, what they are actually doing is completely neglecting the emotional side of customers. The personal and human connection is lost when companies act carelessly and are nonchalant about their behaviour. Customers soon feel like they cannot trust the company and would much rather leave than constantly complain or make the effort to re-establish a connection. It becomes obvious that this aspect is not important for the company – whereas the truth is that such connection is absolutely crucial for any customer-company relationship to survive.

Unmanaged customer experiences amounts to treating the customer like they were a burden and such treatment is what affects the customer’s perception of the brand and the company. Irrespective of the kind of advertising, promotion and marketing such a company may do, they would not be able to salvage a situation where the customer felt unwanted and unappreciated.

Companies that treat customers shoddily are actually underestimating the significance of customer experiences and good customer service and are actually driving away customers and maybe even prospective ones. It is vital for companies to be aware of the kind of experiences customers consider as poor and lacking emotional connection. If you are unaware of these expectations and experiences it is certain that soon you would have many unmanaged customer experiences that could sound the death knell for your business.

  • Check if your company is neglecting ‘customers speak’ – this is the opinion that customers voice about your company that get reflected in the customer satisfaction scores. It is an extremely crucial and significant metric as it lets a company know how well they are performing with respect to customer service and also how good or bad customer experiences are. Neglecting this metric would amount to unmanaged customer experiences. A report revealed that around 40% of the survey respondents said that they have been critical and posted negative comments on-line post shoddy service and experiences with a particular company. Unless companies manage these negative reports they would add to the number of detractors and also lose out on hitherto ‘pleased’ customers.
  • Unmanaged customer experiences and poor ones, means that a company is letting go of opportunities to learn from customers. It also means that they are neglecting the chance to satisfy customer needs and give them more than they deserve and expect. Each poor experience serves to alienate customers and when these also remain unmanaged, it causes a serious dent in the trust and confidence levels and customers like your company a lot less. It is these experiences that define your company’s relationship with its customers.
  • Unmanaged customer experiences is like saying to your customers that neither do you have the time for them and nor do you consider them worthy of being shown respect. You completely break the human connect and your apathy goes a long way in ensuring that these customers don’t come back and also take the business of their friends and associates with them. Ensure that your front-end employees know what it means to provide great customer experiences and also know what to do if there is a lapse. Invest in training and coaching programs for this set of employees – for your own long term benefits.
  • It is true that customer service representatives of your company probably hear the same questions daily, several times each day. However, what leads to poor customer experiences is when this so called routine makes the agents assume that they already know what a customer is about to say. This assumption will be perceivable by the customer leading to a poor experience. The customer service representatives must remain attuned and engaged with the customer even if the question or problem seems to ‘be the same’. Active listening coupled with interest and empathy can reduce the number of poor experiences and also the risk of unmanaged customer experiences.
  • Stop creating poor customer experiences by using the correct words, tone and pitch of voice and also the overall manner of speaking. Even if the agent has the best intention at heart, using inappropriate language and words can easily put the customer off. The agents must be taught and coached continually to refrain from using negativity in their words or tone. The fact is that these negative undertones could leave the customer angry and frustrated and since you won’t know what it is that your company did to bother them, you won’t do anything about it – unmanaged customer experiences.
  • If something bothers a customer they could either go away silently or resort to verbal attacks. Some of these attacks could be perceived as being personal. This is where the problem would occur – the agent could probably lose composure and retort with equally harsh words. This is highly detrimental and will never be forgiven. Teach and tutor your agents to understand that when customers are angry – it’s not personal. They are just venting on someone they see as representing the company. It would be much wiser to let the customer vent and then begin speaking and offering solutions.

If you are in business it is your job to keep customers happy by ensuring great customer experiences. However, if there is an occasion when you messed up, don’t overlook it. Poor & unmanaged customer experiences are a deadly combination that could easily bring your company down – for good.

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