Growing your customer support teams to be able to manage the influx of support requests you get on the daily is one of the most important things you’ll do for your business.
When someone buys your product or service they are bound to have questions about how the product works or how they can access a particular part of the product.
Just think of all the times you’ve needed to contact support teams from the companies you purchase or use items from. You’ve probably asked someone, “Where is my package?” or “How do I do X with this product?” and had to wait the typical 24-48 hours for an email response.
Wait times are the bane of your customers — too long waiting for answers leads to unhappy people. They want answers right when they’re looking for them and not a moment later. It’s no wonder First Contact Resolution is such an important key performance indicator for contact centers.
When you have unhappy customers, you’ll end up with complaints about your product, business, and service. But there is one thing that is great about complaints, when handled correctly they can lead to happy customers and increased customer satisfaction. According to the service recovery paradox, a complaint is an opportunity you should not take for granted.
You’re likely already tracking customer satisfaction and measuring it, CSAT is where you’ll focus when dealing with customer complaints.
What Is CSAT And Why Does It Matter?
Your customer satisfaction score, or your CSAT score, is an important key performance indicator and customer experience metric that is used to tell you how happy or satisfied your customers are with a service, product, or support interaction.
A CSAT score is usually measured through a survey but overall customer satisfaction takes into account the entire customer experience which your support teams and overall organization should be working to constantly improve. At the end of the day, CSAT is only part of the equation but still provides you invaluable feedback.
Not all feedback will be positive, but every piece of feedback or customer complaint can eventually turn a customer into a loyal one and help keep them coming back.
Don’t believe us? Here are 4 tips you and your support teams can follow to manage customers complaints better and make them go from negative to positive interactions.
#1: Be Proactive vs Reactive to Complaints
What’s your immediate reaction to seeing a complaint from someone?
No matter what it’s about, you probably want to get defensive and find a way to prove that complaint wrong. It’s human nature to do so.
Getting defensive obviously won’t do you any good and could turn a customer against you and your brand right away.
The solution is to be proactive to customer complaints rather than reactive to them.
There are two ways you can do this: train your teams to better handle incoming complaints or provide customers tools where they can try to manage their own issues before they become complaints. We recommend you do both!
Work with your agents to figure out the root cause of a customer complaint. Be sure to ask the right questions to get the information you need and train agents to best figure out what other information they need or what, if anything, is missing for them to be able to resolve an issue.
Making sure teams have access to any notes or knowledge base articles they may need in order to find information that could help them resolve customer complaints will take you a long way here too.
If you show empathy to your customers and let them know you understand why they’re complaining and can readily help turn that frown upside down, then your complaints will turn into positive experiences for your customers that can help build how they trust you.
You might also consider following up with the customer who sent in a complaint to fully see if their needs have been met and completing their experience.
If you don’t want to fully rely on humans to do complaint management, then provide solutions that prevent customer inquiries from becoming complaints in the first place.
You can do this by growing your knowledge base and ensuring it is optimized for customer use. Customers want to help themselves, according to Zendesk 42% of customers look for self-serve solutions, so provide them! This is also possible with the help of AI. AI for customer support can help deflect customer questions and provide answers when they can’t find them.
By having a robust knowledge base along with deflection tools, you will set your teams and customers up for success.
#2: Improve Ticket Triaging
Customers who ultimately can’t find solutions to their problems or don’t have their needs met right away will end up submitting a ticket.
Depending on how you manage incoming customer support tickets, this could also cause issues that later lead to customer complaints.
If you can work out the kinks in your current system, you’ll be set up to handle complaints better and again build customer experiences that improve your CSAT.
We know many support teams still manually label incoming support tickets for where or who they should go to. This can lead to issues where tickets are not correctly categorized or they’re lost.
You can manage this issue and create a better process for your customers by implementing improved ticket triaging. These days, AI can help with routing and understanding customer intent.
AI for customer support can better analyze tickets for agent handoff and accelerate response times. This type of tool uses smart routing that uses a company’s data to know where a ticket is meant to be routed to. Plus, when using the right platform the AI can comprehend intent by looking at the sentence structure, meaning, tone, and nuances in the text — all in all providing a better routing process that prevents human error.
By providing a better ticket triaging system, you make it so your agents can provide faster support and resolve issues that would otherwise be escalated. And if there are escalated tickets that come in, you can send those to the correct management team for resolutions that prevent even further escalation.
#3: Enable Agents With The Right Tools
You can’t argue with the power of the correct tools for your teams.
When you’re using basic chatbot tools or confusing help desks, dealing with customer support issues can be taxing.
The life of an agent isn’t easy and they’re dealing with an influx of tickets every single day.
Sometimes they run into issues that cause bottlenecks in support and removing those would free up agent time to focus on the issues that actually matter: supporting your customers.
Onboarding agents is also no joke, just think of all the knowledge they need to absorb before they can handle customer inquiries. They’re training to know everything about your company and product along with how to do their jobs.
You can help make this easier by implementing AI tools like agent assist from Forethought. With Assist, agents can surface relevant knowledge articles, past cases, and productivity-boosting shortcuts as soon as they open a new support case making it easier for them to answer faster than ever.
By using AI for customer support that provides in-app assistance you’ll give your agents the power to do so much more, faster, which is what your customers expect. With tools like Assist from Forethought, agents have been able to increase the number of cases closed and decrease first response times.
In the end, happy agents = happy customers. And, when you help your agents be better at their jobs, you can decrease employee turnover and increase agent retention.
Happy customers means higher CSAT and improved customer satisfaction.
#4: Know Your KPIs
You can help improve CSAT and how you handle customer complaints by keeping your goals top of mind.
When you have a solid understanding of what key performance indicators you are looking to measure or improve you’ll know what agents should be focusing on.
While CSAT is an integral customer success metric, you should also keep in mind the importance of KPIs such as First Response Time, First Contact Resolution, Average Response Time, Net Promoter Score, and Customer Retention Rate. These and more, should be defined for your teams and analyzed frequently.
Where To Next?
Once you’ve trained your teams with the best tactics to handle customer complaints, you should continue to strive to improve your customer experience in any way you can.
Customers expect more these days, much more than just a quality product or service at a great price, they care about how they’re treated along their journey when interacting with your business — even when they’re the ones coming to you with complaints
Complaints provide you with valuable insight into what may or may not be going right with your product and help you measure a specific subset of customer satisfaction.
On your way to provide a customer experience you’re proud of, take a second to learn more about the tools you should be empowering your agents with.
With the help of AI for customer support you can transform your customer experience and the way you manage support. Not sure how?
Check out our webinar on Human + Machine, featuring Seth Earley, author of The AI Powered Enterprise, where he and leaders from Forethought and ArenaCX come together to discuss the future of customer service and how we should embrace new innovations that will change the way we do business.
There’s no need to be afraid of AI, AI is here to augment our abilities and it’s time to use it.
If you’re interested in learning more, let’s chat or learn more here.