When do we stop being a customer?

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Victoria Penrose 26th November 2015 3 minute read

When do we stop being a customer?

What happened to ‘the customer is always right?’ It appears that some organisations forget that they are actually dealing with customers - or humans - at all. Endless battles with automated systems, re-directs and circling answer phones achieves nothing but consumer aggravation and disengagement. Did the decision makers ever reflect on their ‘inner-customer’ when creating such a service? 

In a survey carried out by CCM in conjunction with the Customer Contact Association in 2014, 80% of respondents admitted that they’d stopped interacting with an organisation because it was simply too hard. Yet, only 20% of companies use ‘customer effort’ (the level of frustration, amount of time invested and the number of times an organisation is contacted) as one of their main measures of customer experience.

Bad customer service, or the processes behind it, can actually affect the health of the customer as well as the overall reputation of the organisation. With blood pressure rising, palpitations pumping and a bad mood to boot, your client instantly starts to develop negative connotations over your brand and therefore your reputation. A study by American Express highlights the positive effects of outstanding customer service.  Customers, following a positive interaction, become more aware of their surroundings and open up to the possibility of purchasing other products.  Also, with anxiety and stress levels reduced, these physical changes result in a positive brand association.

Even in this ever-advancing digital world, personal interaction with a customer advisor is vital. Fewer customers may call, but when they do, it’ll be about an urgent, complex or important issue, or because digital has failed to deliver the right answer. For this reason, call centre services, and their staff, need to be efficient and effective, with the ability to resolve an issue quickly to reduce the likelihood of repeat contact. Customers are happy with multiple contact channels, but only when they’re convinced that it’s quicker, easier and more efficient than picking up the phone. This personal level of customer experience should not be under-rated.

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