Here's How You're Losing Your Customers to the Competition
Customer experience is synonymous with attracting and retaining new customers: a sound customer experience strategy breeds customer loyalty. But what about a business without a solid customer experience strategy?
As it happens, I know businesses without customer experience strategies exist firsthand. One happens to be my former home security provider and due to a series of poor experiences, I cut my losses, terminated my contract, and found a new provider. What exactly drives a customer to break a contract, even at financial detriment of termination?
What happens when the cards are down
The first thing that happens is often problem-related. A problem with a product or service arises, a technical flaw that needs to be fixed, or a question that needs to be answered immediately.
The business’s reaction and ability to fix the problem determines if the customer has a positive experience or a negative one.
In my case, the alarm panel kept beeping and showed an error message—not something you want to see from your home security system. A quick search for the company’s phone on the Internet left me with a voicemail detailing the next day’s office hours when I called. Calling the 800-number gave me access to the monitoring system call center with agents who did not have the ability to diagnose my problem over the phone and by way of explanation stated that they are contracted out to respond to alarm systems going off in the case of potential break-ins, not diagnose system flaws. Every conversation, or lack thereof, resulted in a growing combination of frustration, annoyance, and a little bit of fear.
Context matters as much as the message
Explaining my frustrations, I was told that they would ping the owner and I would hear from him the next morning at the latest. When business hours rolled around the next day, I called multiple times and reached the same voicemail from the previous evening. Every beep from my faulty alarm system drove me crazier. Eventually an operator arrived to fix the system and explained a system upgrade taking place in the upcoming months that would result in an additional charge—probably not the best time to bring it up, considering the frustrations that resulted in his visit.
Selling is easy when service is easy
Unsurprisingly, I went on a mission to find another company who could provide service and would actually answer the phone. The company I ended up choosing offered a chat feature, which was perfect for rapid response, answering questions, and enabling me to multitask. Service offerings were discussed, questions were answered, and within minutes I had email confirmations for personal security consultations and a follow-up for an installation.
The true price of substandard customer service
Even when I emailed my previous provider to inform of my cancellation and learned I was under contract, it was an easy decision to pay for the freedom to choose a new provider who I trusted to be responsive, reliable, and most importantly, wasn’t my old security system provider.
Not only did my former security provider lose a longstanding customer, but I also took to social media platforms to share my experience of what happened. Explaining my poor customer experience could deter anyone else researching local security companies from choosing this provider.
Three key takeaways
Customer experience strategies vary from company to company and take multiple business factors into consideration included customer base, company size, customer attraction plans, customer retention plans, and a whole host of other factors. Don’t make the same mistake my old security company made by:
- Relying on a single communication channel
- Failing to monitor communication channels
- Missing information on customer interactions
My story is one of many cautionary tales in poor customer experience. To gain more insight in what not to do, download our Customer Experience Horror Stories ebook now.