If you have managed or worked in a help desk for any amount of time, you may have heard of many customer service complaints occurring repeatedly. Many of these issues are not unique and they transcend all industries. The good news is throughout this book we identify the issues and the solutions to fix them. The leading causes of customer service complaints are actually well known but for some reason help desks and call centers still struggle. Below are a few of the major area that cause customer service complaints and how to avoid them.
Customer Service Complaints: Incident not resolved on first contact (FCR)
Users will hold their tongue with customer service complaints if the problem is resolved quickly. However, when a user contacts the help desk and their issue is not resolved, they feel upset. Being able to resolve the incident on first contact is a foundational measurement of the maturity of the help desk. Industry standard FCR, when including password unlocks and resets, is about 80% successful. When you have an incident which cannot be solved it is important to show empathy and apologize for not solving this issue immediately. You want to reassure the customer that you will escalate this issue. Most importantly you should provide an estimated time when it will be fixed or when you will provide an update. So what are some ways to improve FCR?
- Actively listen – Listen to the customer describe their issue. Don’t assume you know the issue before the customer is done explaining. Many help desk agents will rush to a solution only later to fix they did not completely understand the issue being described.
- Use your knowledgebase – Provide help desk agents a knowledgebase that is searchable and efficient to provide solutions to the issues.
- Check the history – Check previously reported issues by the customers for clues of recent sessions of support.
- Current Trends – Check the help desk team’s recently opened tickets to see if a similar issues has been reported or there is a company-wide outage. Many times unusual issues with applications and websites impact all users verse a single user.
Customer Service Complaints: Customer callback
It’s bad enough if you cannot resolve the incident on first contact but it is really bad if you have to call the customer back for more information. Customers are thinking once they hang up after the first call that you are working to resolve their issue. If you call back and ask initial questions, they will know no progress has been made. So how do you avoid excessive customer callback, which is one of the most frequent customer service complaints?
- Capture all the information – It is important to capture all of the required information during the first contact. This means validating the contact information from the customer. It also means to document all the symptoms shared by the customer and all of the support steps performed into the help desk ticket.
- Keep promises – While working with a customer, if you conveyed a date the issue would be resolved or when a status update will be provided, make sure you meet it.
- Ensure resolution – Sometimes when a ticket has been escalated to a second level team, they are able to resolve the issue. It is important to remember the customer must agree that the issue has been resolved. To confirm this, it is best to contact the customer directly to ensure all is working well.
Customer Service Complaints: Long resolution time
Have you ever worked at a help desk and their list of open tickets are weeks or months old? Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you were the customer and your issue was not addressed?
- Service Level Management – Many companies implement service level management with SLAs that customers and the help desk agree to a set expectation of how long something will take to be resolved. If a ticket come close to breaching the SLA and is not resolved yet, a warning will alert the help desk agent so they can update the customer.
Customer Service Complaints: Phone Tree Greeting
Have you ever called a customer service phone number and had an endless menu of prompts? Press 1 for this, press 2 for that and so on. While using a phone tree is a useful tool, it can also cause the customer dissatisfaction if overused. So what are some of the phone tree complaints by customers?
- Endless menu selections – Using phone tree menu selections are a great way to perform skill base routing, which will route the caller to an agent group most familiar with the customer’s menu selection. Also you can use phone tree menu selections for static information recordings such as the company’s address and hours of operation. What customers do not like is more than 4 choices on the front menu and then following levels with even more choices. When developing a phone tree diagram, each selection should have a strong argument why it is needed. For example, to add a selection for password help can route a customer to an entry level help desk agent to handle the easy password unlock and allow help desk agents with higher skills to take the more advanced issues.
- Dead ends – How frustrating is it when a customer selects menu after menu and then ends up in an incorrect spot and there are no options to return to the main menu. Sometimes phone trees will play a short recorded statement and then disconnect you.
- No exit ramp – Phone trees can help companies reduce cost, route callers to the correct support resource and overall make the process more efficient. However, many people want to ultimately speak to a human. In every call tree there should be an option to exit the call tree and be put in contact with the next available support person.
Customer Service Complaints: Etiquette
One important factor in improving customer satisfaction and reducing customer service complaints is promoting positive customer service etiquette. It is very important that you help desk agents have positive interactions which will lead to positive results.
- Language – A customer will call the helpdesk for help because they don’t understand the technical issue and how to fix it. The last thing they want to hear for the help desk agent is technical jargon. Speak common language and express technical steps in a way that anyone can understand.
- Show empathy – Most times a technical issue will annoy or even anger a customer. It can be hard to work with or satisfy an angry customer unless you show some empathy. It is common practice for the help desk agent to diffuse the anger by acknowledging the anger and show empathy. Once the customer knows you care and their frustration acknowledged, you can work as a partner in resolving the issue.
- Be positive and polite – Nothing improves customer satisfaction like a positive interaction between the help desk agent and the customer. Help desk agents that are polite, smile through the phone and use positive words will always score high in their customer satisfaction surveys.
Overall recommendations to reduce customer service complaints
- Use the language of your customers
- Be positive and polite
- Respond promptly to requests
- Be transparent include the customer in the process
- Capture all details in the support ticket
- Review the customer’s previous support tickets
- Empathize and follow up on customer complaints
- Own the customer’s issue until resolved