Thursday, February 25, 2016

Like it or not, we all have to deal with customer service at some point. A survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that almost 90% of people required customer service help during the past year, for activities ranging from lodging a complaint to returning unwanted goods. 

Crucially, the survey found that a majority of people were disappointed with their experience of customer service. Half of those surveyed reported leaving a store without making their intended purchase, purely because of poor customer service; 57% said they had hung up on a phone call before their problem was resolved.

We tend to think that customer service has generally improved in recent decades. After all, technology has made it so much easier to provide customers with what they want, and to troubleshoot an issues that may arise. But as customer service provision improves, expectations go up. 

A study from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona indicates that customers’ experience of complaint resolution is no better than it was in 1976. Back then, a survey showed 23% of respondents were left completely satisfied, with 44% reporting the resolution as ‘acceptable.’ The 2012 study returned identical ‘acceptable service’ results; the percentage of consumers who were completely satisfied had dropped to 20%. So why are most customers walking away from interactions without feeling like their complaints have been satisfactorily resolved? 

Increased use of technology has left businesses with so many options, there is a tendency to pile on solution after solution, until efforts to improve the customer experience become counter-productive. Using 800 numbers for call tracking and service purposes is good - having a long, complicated automated response menu, not so much. 

The lesson for mobile marketers is this: just because you can use a solution for a problem, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Look at the palette available to you and think about which solutions best serve your customers needs. Discard the rest.