Almost every company knows and believes that it should be easier for customers to do business with them as it is a critical part of delivering great customer experience. It is important that all customer experiences should be in alignment with business strategy and brand values. But most companies make it difficult for their customers to interact with them. Here are some frustrating examples that most of us would have faced:
1. Hiding the phone number on the company website
It’s easier to find the contact number of a company on Google than on the company website because the phone number is hidden deliberately on the website. How does a customer feel when this happens? She is unhappy or frustrated as she does not feel valued even before she calls the business. It’s difficult to recover from this leading to an unhappy customer. It’s like saying
‘we know you have an issue with our product or service, deal with it yourself, don’t disturb us.’
Most customers are time poor and will call a business only when they have a genuine issue. Make it easier for them to contact you. As Bill Gates says “negative customer feedback is the most valuable feedback”.
2. Making it difficult to find answers online
Today’s customer just reaches online as the first source of information. A company should make at least some basic information available on their website. What are the major pain points of customers at the moment? Provide relevant information on these pain points like its impact, what you are doing to resolve it and a timeline.
Your online knowledge management system should be relevant, accurate and up to date. And allow the customer to talk to a person from within the knowledge management system if they feel the need to.
3. Long queues at checkouts
This is common and to me, the most baffling example. As a business you have done all the hard work of convincing the customer to buy from you but making her wait when she is ready to pay does not make sense. It is like giving a reason to not buy from you. It is especially important now as customers are getting used to clicking a button to pay online and get it delivered to their homes.
4. Taking technology and automation too far
Technology should be an enabler, it should make it easier for customers to interact with a business. But sometimes it is used to make life easier for employees not customers resulting in a bad experience for customers.
Complicated IVR– One common example is a complicated IVR with too many levels and options to select. It might be easy and useful internally to understand customer issues and route the call to the right person (although I doubt that is the case) but it just leaves a bad experience for the customer. Other common frustrating IVR example is to hide the option of speaking to a person and forcing the customer to listen to irrelevant information.
Too many pop-ups – I was recently on a hotel booking website where half my screen was taken up by pop-ups trying to convince me how great the business was. It was frustrating because I could not read the content that I wanted to as it was hidden behind the pop-ups. They might have had some good deals but I jumped to another portal because the experience was frustrating.
Improper implementation of chat bots – Too many businesses are jumping on to the chat bot bandwagon without thinking about its impact on customer experience. I have used chat bots of a number of companies but I am yet to come across one that resolved my issue. There is too much temptation on reducing costs at the expense of customer experience.
Live chat with scripted responses – Lot of customers are now preferring live chat to interact with businesses as it is easy and convenient. Almost all live chat systems have the ability to create scripts which are prepared responses to customer enquiries. It is good to have a few scripted responses but some businesses overdo it taking the human interaction out of it resulting in a not so good customer experience.
I recently was chatting with a bank’s live chat agent about some fixed term investment options. The live chat agent just kept bombarding me with scripted responses that had links to the website which I had already visited. I was looking for specific information that I did not get through this channel.
Customer interactions do not happen randomly, every business designs the interactions to happen in a certain way. How have you designed your customer interactions? Have you made it easy for your customers to do business with you? If you haven’t then there is a good chance that you are losing business to your competitors.