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Customer care: Top 8 worst customer experiences to get rid of them (and our tips for retaining them!)

Transform customer care experience
Written by
Marine Catherine
Published on
February 8, 2023

1 - Run away from your responsibilities!

"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do, it's your fault for not picking up your phone."

That's what your customer care answered to Julien who was waiting for his weekly box of meals. The delivery was scheduled for between 4 and 6pm but finally arrived at 2.30pm while he was in a video meeting with his boss. As he was unable to take the call, the deliveryman turned back with his order without even trying to ring the doorbell and only returned 3 days later with damaged fresh products...

- Tip: A company that does not accept responsibility when things go wrong is one of the most terrible experiences to have as a customer! When a brand gives customers this kind of response, they feel that their problems are not being taken seriously and that they have wasted time and money on something that is not right for them.
A good way to avoid this is to take responsibility for your mistakes, apologise sincerely and move forward with a solution in mind (or at least an action plan).
For example, if someone wants to cancel their subscription but is struggling to do so online, actively listen by asking questions such as "What's wrong?" or "Have you tried this before?". When you care about their experience with your product or service, they will feel that their problem matters to you and they will be more likely to order from you again. This has a direct impact on your customer retention!

2 - Answer them after a week, or better still... don't answer them at all!

It's Friday lunchtime, Camille needs immediate customer support, her fridge just broke! She calls your service department in a panic to get help, but the call volume is too high for your available agents. She gets put on hold for several minutes and even gets hung up on after a while. Bad luck, your customer service department is also closed at the weekend! In the end, she will only get an answer after a week of attempted calls and will have lost all her foodstuffs...

- Key figure: According to a Toister Performance Solutions study of 3,200 consumers, 31.2% of customers surveyed want a response in one hour or less. Responding in one hour would meet the expectations of 88% of consumers surveyed...

- Tip: The response time of the channels you provide should be reasonable. You should be able to provide assistance to your customers at least within 24 hours of their request.
If your customer support is under-staffed, why not outsource some of your requests? There are many solutions available today that offer quality outsourced customer support that is quick and easy to set up to help you manage your business. In addition, you can offer a customer service with extended hours in the evening and at weekends, which will undoubtedly make your customers happy, and they will give you X2!

3 - Offer them impersonal and generic answers, they love it!

A loyal customer of your brand, Ludovic has a rather special request for your agent that goes beyond the pre-written script.

It's panic on board! Your agent loses his footing, doesn't know what to do, doesn't dare admit that he doesn't know, under penalty of losing his job, and absolutely refuses to go off script and use his logic and faculties to answer his request. His answers are totally inadequate or very generic, Ludovic hangs up without answering his query and full of compassion for your panicked agent. He decides to go and see the competition...

- Tip: Personalising the experience is a crucial issue in setting yourself apart from your competitors. For a regular customer, it is inevitably pleasant to be recognised, called by name, or to be reminded of their last purchase and asked if they were satisfied when they contact your customer support.

1. Consider integrating your customer support software such as Aircall, Crisp, Freshdesk, Zendesk, or Gorgias with your CMS! This will allow you to know who is calling you before they even pick up the phone, to have access to all the history of your customer, and to be able to offer them a truly personalised service that will leave them impressed!

2. As for your agents, obviously, quality recruitment is essential.  Your knowledge base should be able to assist them with the most common queries, but make sure they also know how to think outside the box and have access to the resources they need to hone their knowledge on rarer topics and queries.

As this Almé Paris client noted, a comprehensive and personalised response builds trust.

4 - Don't be reachable anywhere! Lead them on a never-ending chase that should quickly discourage them...

Jean-Luc has just broken his new sunglasses which cost him 1 ½ months salary. He wants to make his guarantee work but your conditions are not very clear on the documents provided in the shop. He goes to your website and social networks. No way to contact you either by email, phone or chatbot. Only a postal address is given (back to the stone age...).

Determined to contact you at all costs as soon as possible, he tries to send you private messages on social networks to which you never respond.

Jean-Luc gets angry and unleashes a tidal wave on your Facebook wall by leaving you daily messages that you systematically delete as you go along. Congratulations, your Truspilot score has just gone from 4.5 to 2 in 1 week!

- Tip: In the age of digital and omnichannel, if you don't allow your customers to reach your customer service on several channels, your customers will not hesitate to turn to the competition. Implementing an omnichannel customer strategy requires not only the ability to activate different communication channels, but above all to reconcile customer data. Today, several SAAS solutions such as Gorgias, Crisp or Zendesk, to name but a few, give you the possibility of centralising and managing all your customer requests on a single platform thanks to the integration of all your ticketing tools, CRM, etc.  This way, you create a perfect symbiosis between your different communication channels to exchange with your customer. Your agents will be able to access the history of their contacts and thus send them a 100% personalised response on the channel through which they have contacted you.

5 - Be adamant about their demands, after all, you have a protocol to follow, don't you?

Imagine the following scenario: Patrick has received a promotional code following an in-store purchase in your clothing shop. However, this code is only valid for a purchase on your e-commerce platform. He decides to buy an item online, but the code doesn't work.

He contacts your customer service department to ask for an explanation. Your agent is extremely rigid about the measures in place. For this type of request, he tells you to go directly to your website in the FAQ section to find out more, he should find all the information on this subject there. He hangs up empty-handed from these exchanges, not understanding that he cannot get an answer via your after-sales service.

Jackpot, you have just lost a sale... and Patrick!

- Tip: Sticking strictly to policies, even when they don't make sense in a given context, is a classic customer service failure that is particularly common in large companies. To avoid this type of situation, train and encourage your agents to answer your customers' questions with common sense.

6 - Ask your customer to repeat himself when faced with his problem and offer him a ride from one service to another

Your latest model of drill has just been put online on your e-commerce site! Antoine is planning to buy it for some work in his new flat, but he has a few questions before deciding. He contacts your customer service. An agent answers him and automatically searches for this information in the knowledge base to be able to answer him, except that... the product sheet seems incomplete!
He is therefore transferred to another department. Several minutes followed during which Antoine could enjoy the sweet symphony of Beethoven in his ears... When he was finally answered, the agent asked him to repeat the reason for his call before being transferred again.

Several transfers later, Antoine is of course totally discouraged, he will not buy your drill after all!

- Key figure: 99% of customers expect to receive a clear and appropriate response to their request from the first contact with a company's customer service (survey conducted by Akia among 1,000 French respondents in 2018).

- Tip: We agree, there is nothing worse for a customer than being repeated and bounced from one department to another. To ensure a frictionless experience, there are a number of things to keep in mind to ensure your agents are efficient.

1. Make sure you have a knowledge base that indexes your customers' requests as comprehensively as possible so that your agents can provide the right answer on the first contact.

2. Make sure you track your customers' requests. However, if you have to escalate the request to another department because it is a special case, make sure that your agents transfer the history of their exchanges so that they do not have to repeat your customer. You can set up an internal chat room to facilitate communication between them.

3. Plan regular meetings and training between your different teams so that they have an overview of your customers' needs.

Angry customer

7 - Ignore their complaints, your customer service is not the "crying office"!

Marie has just broken her piggy bank to buy a magnificent ring for her mother's 60th birthday. Unluckily, the so-called "precious" stone lost all its shine two months later.
She tries to call your after-sales service to explain the problem and get her money back.

She only gets an answer after several attempts by your customer service department, which tells her that her guarantee does not seem possible and suggests that you contact the head office by post. This response irritates Marie, and she wants them to put her in touch with another department to solve her problem immediately. She starts to complain when the agent raises his voice and refuses to transfer her to another department. She finally hangs up, shocked by the agent's rudeness.
She contacted the head office by letter and after three months they replied with a proposal for an exchange, which she reluctantly accepted. Disappointed by her experience, she blacklisted your brand, which she had chosen to buy her future wedding ring...

- Key figure: 74% of consumers consider that interacting with staff with a poor attitude, lack of knowledge or poor responsiveness is a source of bad experience (InMoment survey of 2,000 consumers and 1,000 brands, 2021)

- Tip: Empathy is a key skill when working in customer support. If you adopt a negative attitude towards an already unhappy customer, you run the risk of collecting negative reviews, especially on social networks, which will have a direct impact on your brand's reputation.
So always make sure you apologise when they have a bad experience. By showing them that you care about their well-being and that they are a priority for you through an empathetic approach, you may be able to rectify the situation...
Encourage your agents to improve their customer service skills. Encourage them to use a calm and professional tone in all circumstances. Promote a positive attitude and proactive resolution of customer dissatisfaction, because ultimately the trick is to find the quickest solution to your customer's problem so as not to escalate the problem!

La marque Sézane l’a bien compris, offrir un SAV d’exception lui permet de fidéliser sa clientèle

8 - Remove all human contact

"Hello and welcome, how can I help you?"

This wording sounds familiar doesn't it? It's the first catchphrase that Ludivine will find in the chatbot of your train ticket booking website.
She needs to be able to exchange her ticket with her cousin Clotilde for a departure in just over 24 hours, as she can no longer get to Lyon. So far so good, she appreciates being able to get an answer via your chatbot in a fast, efficient and autonomous way.
But after 20 exchanges, she still doesn't have an answer to her request and no human behind the screen to answer her. Ludivine is going to be very disappointed because if she doesn't get an answer by midnight, you won't accept to exchange or refund her ticket...

She will have lost everything and will swear never to use your platform again for her next trip.

- Tip: If a chatbot can considerably reduce costs for call centres, you should not abandon your customers! Provide them with hybrid support by combining live chat and chatbot.
Use bots as a first point of contact for simple queries. Queries requiring human assistance can be directed to live agents. Your CSAT will be better off by offering customers the best of both worlds and you will see a direct impact on your sales at the same time!

The bottom line is that when brands fail to deliver a customer-centric experience, it's not just direct customers who are affected... There are several benefits to improving poor customer support for your business, as it will directly impact your business:

- Increased customer retention rate
- Improvement of your reputation
- Lowering your CAC
- Reduced cost of customer service
- A more pleasant employee experience
- Increased brand loyalty
- Increased customer spend

Have you considered outsourcing your customer support? Onepilot offers you a fast, flexible and easy-to-implement solution to quickly scale your teams. We guarantee 100% human and qualitative answers managed by our native agents. Contact us now for a demo here.

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