In today’s fast-paced world, customers have higher expectations, less brand loyalty, and a larger network to share their experience with a brand than ever before. A recent Ernst & Young study shows that only 25 percent of Americans were brand loyal in 2012.
With low levels of brand loyalty these days, many companies try to beat their competitors on price. While price is still a factor in the buying decision, customers are quite focused on service.
According to the Customer Experience Impact report conducted by Harris Interactive, 82 percent of consumers stated that they stopped doing business with a company because of a bad experience. Surprisingly, 92 percent of the same group said they would go back to a company after having a negative experience if they received an apology or were compensated in some way.
Companies must move past the old status quo of just trying to keep customers satisfied. Especially in a stagnant economy, to remain competitive and see growth, brands must respond appropriately when a customer complains about a product or service, or any other problems that have occurred. Companies committed to great customer service identify negative customer experiences and extend the olive branch before the customer takes their business elsewhere.
We aim to help brands knock their customers’ socks off before they put their shoes on and leave. That is why we created our incentive manager, a rewards platform that allows brands to reach out quickly to make it right when a customer’s expectations have not been met. Our incentive manager can help you convert a customer who had a bad experience back into a fan of your business.
When trying to resolve problems, focus on engaging customers on a personal level. Be upfront about the situation and if your company failed to meet an expectation, apologize. Sometimes an apology is enough. However, brands like Zappos and Nordstrom typically don’t stop there. These brands go above and beyond to turn that customer into a brand advocate.
Let’s look at a few examples of companies’ responses to service problems or complaints.
A pattern of great problem-solving: Relay Foods, an online grocery service based in Virginia, has a consistent pattern of making it right and going the extra mile for their customers. The examples are numerous: from offering free delivery after one of their trucks broke down causing a slight delay, to creating a personalized promo code for me when I tweeted my disappointment of not winning a Relay Foods gift card in a silent auction. Their consistent service, problem resolution and occasional “surprise and delight” actions have made me a true fan.
Employees with the power to please: Ritz-Carlton, the luxury brand of Marriott, authorizes personnel at the front desks of its hotels to credit unhappy customers up to $2,000 without asking a supervisor’s approval, according to the Wall Street Journal. This policy shortens the time it takes to remediate a customer complaint and increases the likelihood of a resolution. While it may seem like an expensive policy, consider the cost of losing one loyal customer.
There are many situations that require problem solving and complaint resolution. Our incentive manager is one way to facilitate customer engagement and allow the customer to choose the compensation they find most relevant. It features an easy-to-use delivery platform with a robust catalog of gift cards, digital goods, and merchandise rewards for compensation or incentives.
Take a moment to think about the way your brand handles complaints. Do customers feel heard when voicing a complaint? Is the problem handled with empathy, fairness – even generosity? If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘yes’, it’s probably time to reevaluate your customer service.