In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. She didn’t report the issue on any social media site. She didn’t yell at the employees she contacted. She simply took her business elsewhere.
She said “You have to make customers as happy as you can because there are so many options out there. What’s going to stop them from going somewhere else?”
That’s a great question! What could keep your customers from going elsewhere? The short answer is “nothing,” but that’s not necessarily the accurate answer.
By saying that there’s nothing you can do, you’re effectively saying that you have no control over those things that impact the customer’s decision. And that’s just not true. In the vast majority of cases, you and your organization have strong abilities to influence those factors that impact the customer’s decision to stay or to go.
In this case, the customer left because the company was not responsive. They were difficult to get in touch with online. When she switched from the online attempts at customer service to the telephone attempts, it was not a smooth transition. The lack of responsiveness in rectifying her issue pushed her away.
Many of those things are within your control or at least within the company’s control. You and your organization are the ones who identify the process of investigating issues. You all are the ones who can offer some kind of compensation or alternative solution. You are the ones that empathize and convey in your tone and your actions that you care about the customer and are truly sorry for the inconvenience and the issue. You and the organization are the ones who help to make this person believe that the issue that happened in the past won’t happen again.
Take ownership over whether your customers decide to stay or decide to leave for a competitor.
Look at your complaint resolution attitudes and actions; observe your service recovery approaches. Look at the speed with which you and others in the organization respond to the problems your internal reporting identify or your external customers conveyed through their complaints.
Retain more customers by more quickly responding to their issues.
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