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BOO! Why Ghosting Still Haunts Customer Service | #ICMIchat Rundown (October 27, 2020)

Halloween is no excuse for scarily poor customer service, yet many organizations still play tricks, disappear into thin air like ghosts, and hide out in the woods. This week #ICMIchat unmasks some bad customer service practices and examines the causes behind them. After shining a light on these common challenges, they're easy to overcome.

Join us on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific to weigh in on the contact center industry's most pressing challenges. Check out next week's discussion and join the conversation on Twitter!

Disappearing Customer Service

The best customer service is always right there when you need them, but not all companies live up to this ideal. Many downright vanish when customers need help, leaving them feeling eerily alone. Creepy! It's not always deliberate, though. Contact centers who lack necessary resources or have difficulty scheduling and forecasting are at increased risk of leaving customers to feel abandoned.

If you ask them, they’re gonna tell you “We don’t have the bandwidth” If you ask me, they don’t have the right systems in place. Bandwidth cannot be an excuse to ghost customers.

Ghosting most likely is tied to resources. I think it's also tied to the number of channels in the mix today. My pet-peeve is when a company sends ME an email/survey but provides no ability to reply with details.

During this time, it may be that there are less staff handling more stressed and anxious customers. While it may not be intentional, that's not the cutomer's perception. The customer is paying for his experience, not ours. And their perception is "You're ghosting me."

Scaring Customers Away

Even when help is available, some companies try to hide it or discourage customers from taking advantage. Messages on hold champion online resources, IVRs ask questions incessantly, and some bury their phone number deep in the website. Sure, giving away customer service is a bit more expensive than handing out miniature candy bars, but it's also an investment in the customer relationship.

The brands themselves will preach self-service but the real reason is lack of resource or wanting to cut back on resource/ use resource elsewhere. Self-service would be just fine if it was the same/better experience as human service.

I think this one's a hold-over from cost-conscious days of old. But, it's a red flag to the consumer if they cannot find contact information. Amazon may be the lone exception - but their self-service process typically means no contact required. Which is nirvana!

Some businesses do make it difficult to reach them. Some can't handle high number of contacts, so they cut off access. Some think their selfservice options are perfect, so customers won't need to call in. Some block access when they can't or won't say "yes."

Companies have "traditions". They believe these traditions are what make the companies. "We do email well" "This request must come in via a paper form" "This must go to this team before its destination". Traditions often come in the way of CX unfortunately!

Hanging From Spiderwebs

When customers do make it in, sometimes they get caught up. Making requests is only helpful if they're fulfilled and the business follows through on its promises, but not every contact center sets agents up for success. Contact center leaders must consider both customers in queue and agents' ability to resolve requests completely to deliver effective service.

They lack the expertise/resources to understand the entire customer lifecycle & importance of support & retention efforts to keeping a consumer within our cycle. If companies printed off the $ for retention vs. customer acquisition we'd see folks care a bit more

Generally bad process / organizational skills + "it's busy". Sometimes an agent loses the ability to track a case if they send it to another team for assistance. I've seen that ...your case disappears for 30 days and you forget to follow-up. So again, process.

Hiding In The Shadows

When businesses hide from their customers, it doesn't bode well for their fate. Not only does it degrade the trust necessary for customers to transact, but it also can make service more expensive in the long run. When help is hard to find, it's easy for customers to spread negative word of mouth, launch multiple lines of inquiry, and even escalate to legal or regulatory action.

Simple answer for me. If you hide from me, I can’t find you (and buy from you or leave you a good review or tell my friends). But if I’m small fry, I probably don’t matter.

You can easily lose a customer by being non-responsive, which can turn into bad reviews, discouraging prospective clients to utilize your brand.

When companies hide from customers, customers go all jilted lover on them and contact them relentlessly. Multiple contacts in multiple channels are costly for companies. Plus the customer's getting more emotional each time and harder to problem-solve with.

Increased escalation, decreasing "FCR" which results in higher handle times on subsequent interactions, lower trust, higher likelihood of leaving. Ppl can generally get over a mistake IF you can fix it and do it w/out causing pain.

Hearing Unexpected Voices

The number of channels for contact centers to keep up with could give any manager quite a scare. Customers talk about businesses on all sorts of platforms, and it's not always possible to offer full service on each one. This doesn't require contact center leaders to feel haunted by their absence, but it's essential to take inventory of where customers are most active. Jumping in on a case-by-case basis can help, too.

That's like having children knock on your door on Halloween and you pretending you're not home. What will the nieghbors think? They will think you don't care about the children's happiness for that night. What will your customers think? Same thing, forever.

IMO, when leaders see a customer who needs help, there's nothing wrong in using their personal identities to help them. While this can backfire, it's the right thing to do. If the official service quality is poor, customers directly contact responsive employees!

With Covid, CustServ has a bigger seat at the table than ever before - because service is now at the forefront of the brand (eCommerce, touchless support, etc.). This is OUR time to ask for more resources - and perhaps add new channels to support more customers!

IMHO, its about communication. Be clear about which channels you support and don't. And for supported channels, state SLAs and honor them.

Strange Experiences

It may be prudent to meet customers on a channel the business doesn't regularly support from time to time. While this is undoubtedly the right thing for the customer, it can be scary for contact center leaders worried about overextending themselves or taking on a new channel without being prepared. In these cases, availability and possible channel shifts must be carefully managed to balance customer needs with available resources.

I know this can be a controversial suggestion...but acknowledge them and try to redirect to the supported channel...or proactively reach out on a supported channel acknowledging they reached out in a place you don't support. Sometimes you have to channel shift.

From a customer POV, support that channel! If that’s where your customers are, you need to be there. Expensive to add web chat? That’s the price of business. It’s like a freelancer losing a gig because they don’t take PayPal. Go where your customers are!

Join us on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific to weigh in on the contact center industry's most pressing challenges. Check out next week's discussion and join the conversation on Twitter!

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