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Broken Customer Service Solution

Customer Service Is Broken – The Underlying Issues and Solutions

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Executive Vice President

Exceptional customer service has emerged as a key differentiator for companies striving to stand out in the market, where everything else becomes a commodity.

Customer service is not about resolving issues but building relationships, fostering loyalty, and ultimately driving business growth.

Customers today have more power than ever to influence brand perception, especially with the rise of social media and online reviews. A single negative experience can quickly spread across digital platforms, tarnishing a company’s reputation and deterring potential customers.

Flip this and see – delivering outstanding customer service can lead to positive word-of-mouth, repeat business, and even brand evangelism.

Despite the importance assigned to customer service as a function, it is broken, and most businesses still struggle to provide a consistently excellent experience.

Have you heard these phrases commonly used by customer service agents?

  1. Hang on for a minute while I check your previous communication details
  2. Please hold while I transfer you to another department
  3. I’m sorry, that’s against our policy
  4. You’ll have to speak to a supervisor about that
  5. Let me put you on hold for a moment

All of these phrases have underlying negative customer service implications, resulting in customer dissatisfaction.

We will look at how you can take proactive measures to mitigate the risk of customer dissatisfaction and cultivate lasting relationships.

Hang on for a Minute While I Check Your Previous Communication Details

This phrase indicates to the customer that their issue is being addressed immediately, leading to frustration and impatience.

Besides, reading through previous communication can be time-consuming, prolonging the resolution process and increasing customer dissatisfaction.

It suggests that the agent may not have access to all relevant information readily, highlighting potential inefficiencies in the system or lack of integration between support channels.

Implement an omnichannel customer service platform for capturing and accessing customer interaction history across channels and interfaces. This will allow your agents to understand the context and provide a more efficient resolution quickly.

Please Hold While I Transfer You to Another Department

Transferring customers between departments can create a sense of disconnection and frustration, as they may need to repeat their issue multiple times. It gets worse if the customers have already waited in a queue to speak with an agent.

Besides, passing the responsibility to another department may give the impression that the current agent is unwilling or unable to resolve the issues themselves.

Equip agents with the tools and authority to resolve a broader range of issues without unnecessary transfers or implement a warm transfer to ensure a smooth handoff between departments. An omnichannel platform here would greatly help the agents in resolving issues themselves.

I’m Sorry, That’s Against Our Policy

Hearing that their request is against policy can frustrate customers, especially if they perceive the policy as unreasonable or inflexible. It reinforces the perception of a company being rigid and bureaucratic, prioritizing policies over customer satisfaction.

Agents may feel constrained by policies and unable to provide flexible solutions, leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Empower agents to make exceptions when appropriate and provide alternate solutions that align with customer needs while still respecting company policies.

You’ll Have to Speak to a Supervisor About That

Being redirected to a supervisor can be disappointing for customers, and customers may interpret this as a sign of incompetence or lack of authority on the part of the initial agent.

Waiting to speak with a supervisor prolongs the resolution process, increasing customer frustration.

Provide agents with the training, authority, and necessary technology to handle a broader range of issues independently, reducing the need for supervisor involvement except in escalated cases.

Let Me Put You on Hold for a Moment

Being put on hold can make customers feel neglected or unimportant, leading to increased frustration and impatience.

Putting on hold interrupts the flow of the customer’s conversation and can make it harder to address their issues effectively.

Minimize hold times by providing agents with the resources and training necessary to address issues promptly or offer alternative communication channels such as callbacks or online chat to keep customers engaged while they wait.

Implementing efficient systems and processes can significantly improve the customer experience. This includes investing in omnichannel customer experience platforms that integrate your customer service platform with the best-of-breed IT systems internally to have one view of your customers.

This will allow them to access your customers’ transaction history, where they never have to repeat themselves. You would easily cross-sell and upsell to your customers, reduce wait times, resolve issues faster, and improve overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Empowering frontline agents to make decisions and resolve issues autonomously can significantly enhance the customer experience. For instance, Ritz Carlton allows a discretionary spend of $2000 to all its employees as long as they spend it to benefit the customers.

Provide agents with options to access updated knowledge bases and FAQs to ensure accurate information dissemination and reduce the unnecessary need for customers to be put on hold or transferred.

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