While customer service problems aren’t always your fault, your ability to respond to a customer’s concern is within your control and is the responsibility of your organization.
Being able to take action on the behalf of customers lies at the core of successful customer service experience.
Today we explore five most common causes of customer attrition in customer service and how service agents can deal with them to save the customer experience and make things right for their customers.
1. No Way for Reps to Vent
Customer service work is inherently stressful. Your reps are the face of the company to customers who need help (even if the customers don’t frame it that way), and that means two very important things.
First, reps are on the frontlines, taking all the hostile conversations head-on. Second, reps need to treat customers with professionalism, no matter how poorly the customer may be treating them.
Either one of these situations is enough to merit some destress activities, but having to deal with both simultaneously can be maddening. Be sure you not only provide the opportunity but encourage your reps to take advantage of it, to de-stress when they need to.
2. No Support from Management
Sometimes customers may cross the line, and go from rude to abusive. Customer service reps need to know that their managers have their back when a customer goes overboard like that.
No less importantly, if coworkers are out of line – don’t wait for the employee to escalate the issue to HR. Show your staff that you’re looking out for them, and that you will step in when necessary to protect their ability to work with confidence and without distraction.
3. No Consequences for Exceptional Performance (in either direction!)
Do your reps have any incentive to do a better job rather than an average, mediocre, or even sub-par job?
It can be just as important that you show poor performance will not be tolerated as it is to demonstrate that good performance will be rewarded.
When reps see a colleague who they know does a poor job being treated as well as they themselves are (whom they naturally believe is doing a better job), they are likely to be discouraged from striving to improve their performance, and may even slip down to the colleague’s level.
4. No Promotion Potential
Even if you reward reps who do a great job (see above #3), that might not be enough to keep your best reps. You need to think about why a great employee would want to stay at your organization if they can’t continue to grow there professionally. What can you do to change that?
That having been said, sometimes you simply can’t compete with the better offer a rep receives.
What you can hold yourself responsible for though is creating an environment in which that rep feels like they can come to you with the offer and want to give you a chance to compete with it.
5. Not a Good Fit
Some customer service reps are just not cut out for the work. Not unlike being a barista or working in retail, when looking for a job, many applicants will opt for positions they know there are always openings for, like customer service work, rather than a job that actually fits well with their skills and/or interests.
You need to decide how much training and/or attention you’re willing to invest with your new hires who are new to the field entirely. Perhaps you might even institute an experience requirement for entry-level positions, just to ensure applicants are well aware of what it is they are signing themselves up for.
But, as better job offers stealing reps is outside of your control (see #4 above), sometimes life circumstances are as well. You may have an excellent rep, whom you’ve treated very well, who is an excellent fit for the work and for the organization – but due to personal issues (sick family member, marriage, etc.) they need to relocate or take a break from employment.
This isn’t your fault, but what is within your control is asking that person to pass the word along about their experience in the job to others who might be similarly great reps.