Is poor customer service driving your consumers away?By Lisa Goldsberry
September 11, 2014
Turn to PR for reputation management
You’ve done your homework on consumer needs and developed a product or service that solves the problem. All the tools are in place to make it easy for consumers to ask questions and purchase your product. So why aren’t they buying as much as you expected? The problem could be poor customer service.
According to Kana Software’s new research, customer service issues are responsible for the decline of consumer loyalty in recent years and are having a significant impact on many retailers’ bottom lines. This is one of the many reasons why reputation management is so critical.
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The importance of good customer service
Years ago, once you found a brand you liked, you were more likely to stick with it and even encourage future generations to follow your example. However, poor customer service can erode all your hard work in building your brand reputation. The study showed that consumers under the age of 35 were most affected, citing a lack of assistance for complaints and having to slog through several company representatives before getting the problem resolved.
While each and every customer is important, those under 35 are critical when it comes to building brand loyalty and recruiting brand ambassadors who will help to advance your messages. They are constantly connected through social media and can make or break your reputation with just a few well-placed negative online reviews or by trashing your company name among their followers. That kind of negative reputation can instantly spread like a wildfire.
When your company doesn’t handle customer issues efficiently, it makes you appear unprofessional, unaccountable and technologically inept if basic consumer data management tasks aren’t properly handled. In addition, it makes it seem as if your company doesn’t value the customer’s business.
Younger consumers do not remember a world without cell phones, digital technology and instant access to just about everything. As a result, they have become accustomed to immediate gratification, so if your company can’t get simple things right (such as keeping track of a complaint) they will quickly move on to a company that can.
Now that there are numerous channels for outreach to a company, such as email and social media pages, the expectation for quicker responses is growing. Therefore, when consumers have to repeat their explanations of the problem to each company representative they encounter, it seems that not only are their complaints being ignored, but also the importance of their dollars and loyalty to your company.
How to manage your reputation
Promptly respond to every comment from your customers, the bad and the good.
Constantly monitor what people are saying about your company online. This is the best way to stop a potential problem before it becomes a crisis.
Ensure that everyone in your organization is trained to handle customer contact correctly. Of course, it’s especially important for those on the front lines, but you should remember that it’s also crucial for those who are not. Since everything is available online, customers can find and connect with anyone at your company.
Hire the right PR firm to take care of it for you
At Axia, we understand the magnitude of maintaining a strong reputation and keeping your guard up on this issue. If you’ve already been hit by negative feedback, we can help with that, too. Your company’s brand persona is the first impression potential customers or clients form. Let us help you acquire or regain your good reputation before it’s too late. Contact us today or download our e-book Online Reputation Management.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
Photo credit: ThinkStockPhotos.com
Topics: public relations
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