Murphy’s law says whatever can go wrong will go wrong. No matter how cautious your business is, it will eventually make a mistake. Negative public perceptions to brand errors, however, are not inevitable.
If your customer care center is ready to respond during times of crisis – both large and small – it can help ensure singular mistakes remain isolated problems. The Customer Think blog said the first step is to admit fault. Here are four strategies for care centers that have to say they’re sorry:
“You should make information easy to find.”
Be proactive and public
No matter what the problem is, whether it’s product recall or a brief interruption in service, you want to get ahead of it. Warning consumers about problems might prevent unfortunate surprises and it will allow customers to adequately prepare.
You should make information easy to find. This means sending announcements about mistakes and plans for resolution across every channel your business uses. Forbes said social media is one of the best platforms for admitting fault because it is inherently transparent. Business postings on Facebook or Twitter often seem more personal and users feel like they can ask questions or submit suggestions to human beings rather than organizations.
A public apology shows the entire audience how a brand cares for its consumers. It also allows the care center to monitor channels through social media solutions to see how the public reacts to acknowledgments of fault.
Have all the information
If companies truly want to be transparent, they should share the exact causes for service or product issues. Some brands don’t want to apologize because they feel it admits fault. While there is some wisdom in avoiding taking responsibility for issues outside of an organization’s control, communicating errors should be a matter of acknowledging precisely what went wrong and creating paths for resolutions.
Saying the company will do better in the future is a little too general to be helpful. It’s better to describe the exact steps consumers can take to avoid problems or what the company is currently doing to eliminate causes for issues.
Care center agents need access to relevant data so they can communicate through specifics. Instead of passing blame or being vague, they can deliver the answers that consumers want while also promoting a brand message of commitment to satisfaction. CRM software can make this information convenient and consistent.
Another problem with avoiding saying company’s at fault, is it could make consumers feel like they are not heard. When a customer calls or messages about a problem, the care center must listen, recognize the stress it caused and see things from the consumers point of view.
These soft skills help prevent future frustrations. For example, when a company makes a billing error, it may cause a customer financial stress. By listening to the exact details of the problem – and capturing the information in a central software system – care agents can communicate as a partner who recognizes particular needs and offers solutions to the exact challenges voiced by the consumer.
Learn from mistakes
When multiple consumers call in with the same issue, customer call centers may be the first segment of the business to recognize a brand error. It’s important care representative activities are part of the overall company infrastructure. When businesses decide to apologize, they must deliver a consistent message built on the same data.
Care centers should also monitor the effectiveness of current damage control routines. Public problems may be the final incentive companies need to invest in new customer service solutions. If an organization feels it doesn’t have the necessary resources to reevaluate current practices or implement innovative strategies, it may be time to reach out to a customer relationship management services partner.