Customers are paramount to business success. Ensuring your business maintains customer satisfaction throughout the entire customer journey is a complex and important process, as the cost of getting it wrong and creating a disgruntled customer can be huge.
Mandy Holford, director of customer services at Echo-U, a contact centre that delivers customer service on behalf of many of the UK’s leading companies, highlights the cost of a disgruntled customer, the affects it can have on a business and the steps a business can take to avoid them.
1 – The effect of ‘word of mouth’
Love them or hate them, complaints exist in just about every consumer business. With so many channels available for consumers to use to voice an opinion, it’s incredibly easy for consumers to share unhappy experiences with others, and why shouldn’t they? In today’s consumer environment, with the advent of social media, dissatisfied customers now hold increasing power and can affect the reputation, and future sales, of a business through one negative review.
Studies have found that customers are 3x more likely to tell their friends about a negative experience than a positive one. Word of mouth is a powerful influence, and businesses should be aware that disgruntled customers will voice their frustration to those around them, which will have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation and success.
Every customer-serving business has been there, cringing at the failures a consumer has experienced, holding its frustration in at the barrage of issues a customer is sharing. The modern consumer is highly vocal and active when it comes to complaints, so to avoid the cost of disgruntled customers, businesses need to be prepared to listen, learn and act.
In today’s consumer environment ‘word of mouth’ is no longer just shared at the dinner table, it’s now on social media and consumer voice platforms so your customer service solution needs to be ready to respond, in the appropriate channel, as the clock is ticking from the moment someone hits ‘send’ on the keyboard or gets an answer on a call, there’s simply no time to waste when dealing with disgruntled audiences.
2 – The impact of a negative experience on future sales
Statistics show that 80% of people will not buy from a business that has negative reviews. Reviews are therefore a powerful tool for frustrated customers and can impact on future sales for a business. It is likely that those reading the review would switch to another business because of it. In fact, a survey found that poor customer experience cost UK brands £234 billion in lost sales in 2016.
No matter how quickly your team resolves a complaint, a posted review is never going away and the damage is forever visible. Not only does this cause others to think about whether or not they agree with the negative comments, it can, and often will, result in ‘retweeting’ or ‘sharing’ and therefore is costly for the brand.
It’s fair to say that the converse is also true – a great tweet from a highly followed consumer is worth its weight in gold and can drive your consumer interest up in moments. The message is clear – aim for your team to resolve issues at the first point of contact, listen to the frustrations, learn from them and refine your business processes where possible to eliminate the problem.
3 – The opportunity cost of dealing with disgruntled customers
A disgruntled customer can not only cost a brand in terms of future sales or reputation, but it can strip time away from your business as you are required to deal with negative experiences. More time spent resolving negative reviews and issues is less time spent on furthering a business’ growth, investing in employee development or marketing the business to potential clients.
Alternatively, senior management could plan and invest in research and development to ensure we are always on our game. Reviewing our products and services by mystery shopping our own businesses and really evaluating if they remain the best processes and experiences for our customers is invaluable insight.
At Echo-U, our clients can listen to their customers’ calls in real time from any location in the world, delivering in the moment insight and feedback that can impact business performance.
4 – The cost of new customer acquisition to replace the lost business
Did you know that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one? The first rule of any business is to retain customers and build a loyal relationship with them.
At Echo-U, we find that the more we know about our clients’ customers, the easier it is to provide them with exceptional customer service. By recognising the differences in their demographics and how they like to be served is also vitally important. Gone are the days of one size fits all, thankfully. Emotional intelligence, timeliness, consumer demographic and contact channel preferences will be different for every complaint. Review and understand the profile of your consumer at just these levels and you are already in a good position to resolve first time and really effectively.
5 – The impact of a disgruntled customer on employees
Finally, it’s important to remember our customer service advisors as they are our best asset and vital to business success. We must consider their morale when assessing the costs of a disgruntled customer as dealing with demanding, angry or frustrated customers may have a negative impact on employee wellbeing over time. It’s important to a business’ success to invest in recruiting personnel best suited to this role, ensuring they are trained and equipped to deliver the best possible customer experience (CX) and enjoy wellbeing benefits to enhance their experience and ultimately their performance.
I have said it before – consumers want to be ‘served now and served well’ and the same is as valid with complaints. The cost of leaving a consumer disgruntled is far too significant on a business’ bottom line, brand and reputation for any of us to ignore.
Echo-U is an established owner-managed contact centre based in Newcastle City Centre which is committed to creating growth for its clients, including many of the UK’s biggest brands such as DPD, Sage Plc, Sky and National Careers Service, by managing their customer relationships through combining quality conversations with the best customer experience.
Guest blog by Mandy Holford, director of customer services at of Echo-U
The company provides customer contact solutions across inbound and outbound call centres, social media and webchat channels.