Customer service has been on the front line of these changes. After all, while companies explore strategies to deal with an ongoing situation, there are angry customers to be served – or lost.
Knowledge management (KM) plays an important role in improving your relationship with your customers through better service techniques. Knowledge management solutions provide an online 24×7 platform to compile customer information across contact mediums – email id, contact number, social media, etc.
Agents facing issues with angry customers often turn to KM tools, as they receive detailed information about the customer’s inquiry history, call records and concerns. These tools allow them to handle customers more efficiently than ever – even in a pandemic.
Table of contents
- Why are your customers unhappy?
- Assuming one of the above factors have failed, except one (or all) of three types of dissatisfied customers your agents may encounter:
- Tips to improve customer service via contact centers
- When knowledge fails:
- The impact of bad CX:
- Here’s how knowledge management can help:
Why are your customers unhappy?
1. Inability to understand customer’s needs
Customers remain dissatisfied as long as the company does not take time to understand their needs. Companies that listen to their customer and build a databank of requirements are more likely to succeed.
2. Inability to meet customer’s expectations
Expectations are met through experience. With the rapid growth in technology, customers compare services with rival companies. A failure to meet expectations leads to churn.
3. Slow service
Slow service can pull down businesses in today’s world of instant gratification. If a customer is made to wait too long, it leads to dissatisfaction and losing out on the customer to your competitors. Self-service through KM platforms has revolutionized customer service and boosted Customer Experience (CX).
4. Delayed delivery
A delay in delivering your final product will always have negative consequences. Customers turn to other options that promise to deliver and had trusted you to do so.
5. Inability to get in touch with agents
Making customer service available 24/7 is the need of the hour for all businesses. In an age where phone calls are losing out to instant messaging, a hold tone for your customer is a bad sign for you.
6. Inability to act
Listening to your customers’ opinions will help you create a base of loyal customers. When a customer complains, you should address all issues at the earliest. A KM base will help keep track of most common issues – allowing your agents to close the loop instantly, and boost CX.
Assuming one of the above factors have failed, except one (or all) of three types of dissatisfied customers your agents may encounter:
1. Customers who want to complain to somebody about their issues
A failure to properly deploy self-service means customers now have to get an agent on the line – costing both them and the company; time. Expect these customers to be impatient, as they generally exhaust more preferable channels of service before making the call.
2. Customers who want to cancel their service
Customers do not cancel services lightly, as they shoulder the burden of finding alternatives. Generally, a cancellation request is more of a last resort to make sure that some action has been taken – but don’t let that relax you. Customers who have been driven this far can only mean your self-service channels and agents are failing to solve problems.
3. Customers who want to speak to the supervisors
This one puts agents in a difficult spot because this only happens when the customer is convinced that the agent in question cannot sort their issues. This indicates a failure of the company’s knowledge, or a badly structured call script. Either way, supervisors rarely hold solutions that are hidden from call center specialists – and this is more lost time, and money.
Tips to improve customer service via contact centers
1. Adopting active listening
Customers’ concerns or queries need to be heard. This should be actively preached and practiced within every organization to improve customer experience. Active listening will allow you to gather knowledge relating to your most common customer complaints, giving you the ability to handle your customers better in the future as well. A Knowledgebase will keep agents updated about different customers and their unique requirements, preparing them beforehand for the interaction ahead.
2. Empathize with the customers
Empathy does come naturally most of the time – but it is also an acquired skill. Customer service begins with empathy as an inability to see things through their eyes will lead to an inability to solve their problems, or even understand them.
3. Upgrade your technical skills
Improving your skills as a customer service agent calls for a mastery of the latest relevant technology, leading to faster results. KM tools and software are a must for modern callcenter, and navigating them provides data and solutions to agents across the organization.
4. Learn about your products and services
You must have in-depth knowledge about your products and services to be efficient at your work as an agent. This enables you to answer all queries and offer faster solutions through tips and tricks that guide your customers. Learning Management Systems (LMS) allow you to access information and solutions passed down through time and across the organization, and train you to consistently deliver better CX.
5. Communicate clearly
The capability to communicate is an asset in the customer service department. While some are gifted, there’s always a training program ready to take on the rest. Again, a great KM platform feeding an LMS will allow agents to explore programs, articles, workshops, etc; and improve themselves.
6. Analyze feedback and work on it
The best way of handling your customers is to be aware of their issues before taking their calls. With a knowledge management database, stay updated about their latest calls, inquiries, and detailed reports of customer concerns. These help you approach the problem with confidence, and improves CX.
When knowledge fails:
It happens. Despite the best of your intentions, you have an irate customer on the other end of the line. In this situation, it isn’t technology that’ll save you, it’s being human:
1. Be a patient listener
2. Remain calm
3. Apologize whenever required
4. Find a solution or provide an alternative
5. Communicate well with your customer
The impact of bad CX:
1. Damages reputation
Bad CX can drastically bring down the image of any company. Frustrated customers often express their anger on social media platforms in form of negative reviews or tweets. These cause serious damage to the company’s image and start affecting business on a large scale. Word spreads fast in the digital age.
2. Loss of customers
With bad customer experience, you’ll lose your current customer base, and reduce the chances of future customers dealing with you. Lesser profits lead to fewer funds, and fewer funds mean a loss of service capability. This spiral is then inevitable.
3. Loss of employees
In absence of efficient employees, others are forced to pick up slack, leading to employee inefficiency, and later down the line, employee churn.
4. Loss of profits
As mentioned above, bad CX ultimately affects your bottom line. And as you lose out on profits, you lose out on the capability to better serve your customer, leaving competitors to pick up your slacks and scraps.
Here’s how knowledge management can help:
KM solutions do more than simply tracklists of calls, emails, and queries. Issues that are frequently raised are stored on an easily accessible database, as are their solutions. A culture of knowledge sharing will only add to this bank, and using an LMS to disburse training will ensure a base standard of quality across your company’s area of operation. There are techniques to cooling off an angry customer, but knowledge management invests in the art of identifying problems before it reaches that stage, to begin with.