Do you know where your customer service reviews are?

Spoken | August 9, 2016

How customer service reviews affect purchasing decisions

One star ratingMost of us, at one time or another, have taken the time to review a product before we purchase it, especially if that product is a big-ticket item, like an appliance that we rely on daily to make our lives easier. Before you drop a big chunk of change on an item, it’s nice to have a sense that you’re making a good purchase based on the reviews you’ve read on that product, but what happens when that product doesn’t live up to its name and you’re forced to repair or replace it? Hmmm… but where are the reviews on the manufacturer’s customer service? Good question!

Where are the customer service reviews?

I recently came across the New York Times article “Relying on Product Reviews? Knowing How a Company Treats Its Customers Is Just as Valuable,” by Brian X. Chen, in which he discusses this very issue. The author shared his story of a purchasing an appliance that proved to be defective after just a few months. However, what was most surprising to him was the lack of information available about the manufacturer’s customer service. Where were the customer service reviews?  The product reviews were plentiful, but what about the customer service reviews?  The article went on to detail his long and frustrating journey of trying to get the appliance replaced as well as to repair the damage that was done to his home by this faulty appliance.

What he discovered was that the organizations that provide product reviews usually separate the product reviews from the customer service reviews. Consumer Reports, for example, provides excellent reviews and ratings on hundreds of products; however, when it comes to measuring the quality of customer service, that information is completely separate from the product reviews. Often, the customer service ratings can be a little harder to come by. And in some cases, it’s not available at all!

This means that even if your organization has great customer service that might affect a consumer’s buying decision, the consumer will have to dig to find that information.

How customer service reviews affect buying decisions

Chen came to the conclusion that if customer service reviews had been more readily available for the brand he purchased, it likely may have altered his purchase decision. He cites a study that found “customers were four times as likely to become disloyal to a brand after any service interaction at all because so many service centers drag out people’s issues.”WOW!  That’s significant and something manufacturers would be wise to heed when it comes to developing their brand loyalty policies. It’s pretty simple, really: if a manufacturer provides excellent customer service when an item is not performing correctly, that customer is much more likely to give that brand another chance in the future.

Phone talking online social collage - Version 2These are the loyalty opportunities that can make or break a company. Why? Because people share these kinds of experiences. In fact, the Spoken 2015 Call Center Report reported the following:

  • Good or bad, we tell a friend 78% of customers will share a positive experience with others, while 91% will share a negative one.
  • Misery loves social company 50% will share a negative experience on social media, but only 32% will share a positive one.

It does make one wonder why we’re so much more eager to share a bad experience than a good one. Perhaps we need to vent about our bad experiences a bit; that always helps. Or perhaps it’s our human nature to help others learn from our mistakes and avoid our pain. Either way, the negative feedback will get out there much more readily than the positive.

When was the last time you evaluated your customer service quality?

Chen’s experience is a good reminder that organizations should not only keep a close eye on their customer service and loyalty programs but also on how their customers review them. A few tips:

ClearMetrix dashboard

  • Review your metrics What metrics are you using to gauge customer service quality? If you’re just using Average Handle Time, you may not be getting the results you think you are. First Call Resolution, Net Promoter Score and a host of other metrics combine to give a better view of the customer experience.
  • Review your quality form If you use a quality form to evaluate the recommended 10% of agent calls, when was the last time that form was updated? Compare the quality form to the negative customer feedback that your organization has received. Is there a gap in the form that needs to be addressed?
  • Read and address your reviews Even if Chen couldn’t find customer service reviews, others can. Assemble a team and create a practice to bookmark review sites and go over your organizations’ customer service reviews on a monthly basis. Many sites allow the organization to provide feedback on positive or negative reviews, so be sure to respond promptly and publicly to negative reviews. Publicly resolving issues provides a surplus of goodwill for your organization.
  • Consider a third-party contractor To be honest, much of the time well-meaning organizations simply get too busy to review their quality metrics, quality forms and feedback. While we all know that we’re supposed to listen to and or review at least 5-10% of customer interactions, other priorities often take over, and quality monitoring and evaluation slips. Consider using an unbiased, third-party service such as HyperQuality to not only conduct agent evaluations but also for special projects such as updating the quality form to reflect current standards.

Every organization receives negative customer feedback. It’s an organization’s responsibility to keep a consistent eye on its customer service to ensure it is continually improving and developing loyal customers. At HyperQuality, we call it the EvenBetter® philosophy—we strive to help our clients get even better every day.

This article was written by Chrystal LeWark, Vice President of Sales at HyperQuality. If you would like to learn more about improving your customer service, contact HyperQuality at sales@hyperquality.com.

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