08 January 2016

Customer experience: What not to do when something goes wrong


Nobody – and no organisation – is perfect, but how you handle mistakes and problems goes a long way towards maintaining positive CX. Check out our list of six don’ts for when your company blunders.

  1. Don’t lump all of your customers together

    Though the same slip up or issue may be impacting multiple customers, each individual is different, and your organisation would do well to remember that. No customer wants a scripted response – no matter how well-rehearsed – or a generic “dear customer” email when they’re communicating a problem with your product or service. Instead, deliver a personalised, customer-centric experience that shows individuals that you care about them specifically and their relationship with your company. Learning their name, apologising, and promptly addressing their concerns make a great place to start, and drawing on CRM technology and customer analytics can help you go that extra mile.

  2. Don’t fail to listen

    Often, customers who call your attention to issues are frustrated, angry, confused, and sometimes even just plain wrong. Understandably, they may need to vent. Let them. Listen to them. Make sure you understand where they’re coming from so you can properly address the problem. Dismissing their feelings or failing to comprehend the true nature of their concerns will only make matters worse.

  3. Don’t lie

    Want to lose customers for good? Lie to them. There’s nothing worse, for example, than hearing, ‘We’ve got it all under control’, when clearly, you don’t. Communicate as honestly and openly as you can about the problem, explain just what you’re doing to try to regain control of the situation, and tell customers what they can expect in the meantime.

  4. Don’t just put it behind you

    As an employee (and therefore, a CX representative for your company), it can be easy to fall into the trap of simply washing your hands of a problem (or a customer) as soon as you resolve that particular complaint. But don’t just brush off the error when you hit send on that email or hang up that phone. Instead, learn from these mistakes. How did this happen? How can you prevent this from happening in the future? How can your business do better?

  5. Don’t ignore (or delete) social media feedback

    In our uberconnected society, ignoring social media posts, or worse, deleting unsavoury posts, can be an organisation’s undoing. You want to make sure you have a representative or team to address questions and complaints across all of your social channels. Further, you should have best practices in place for responding promptly, professionally, courteously, and, again, individually, to posts – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  6. Don’t be inconsistent

    With departmental silos breaking down in today’s business world, it’s more important than ever that all employees can successfully act as customer-service representatives for your company. So, when things go awry, your employees should be delivering a consistent message around making things right, no matter which department customers interact with and no matter which channel they choose to use – be it phone, email, or social media. This requires both a set of companywide guidelines and solid communications training for all staff.

What’s the worst customer experience you’ve ever had?

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