Customer frustrations: how and when to respond

The core tenet of customer service is that the customer is always right. In other words, “the customer is king”.

At Simplesat, we take a more pragmatic view.

We know we aren’t for everyone. Although we value flexibility, we can’t accommodate every request—especially when it comes to pricing.

However, we hold that the customer always needs to be heard.

All feedback is important, as long as you can filter and interpret it correctly. And if you’re diligent in collecting information from your customers and clients, you can address their frustrations before they reach a boiling point.

This is a proactive, data-led approach to customer feedback. It builds lasting relationships. It also makes it easier to respond to disappointment when it does occur.

What are some common pain points? 🤒

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to preventing and addressing customer frustrations. You need to be active in gauging your customer’s needs and priorities.

Nonetheless, there are a few issues that show up in every industry:

😵 Complicated systems. It’s easy to lose sight of how an average person might experience your product or service. You and your team live and breathe your product, so everything about it seems self-explanatory after a while. The average customer might get overwhelmed or stuck in ways you can’t predict.

💲 Commitment & pricing issues. Since the pandemic and the subsequent economic uncertainty, people and businesses have become more hesitant to enter long-term financial commitments of any kind.

🐌 Slow response times. Like it or not, customers expect immediate solutions. They don’t appreciate being “left on read”.

🤖 Lack of personal touch. This one might be even worse than customers feeling ignored. If they receive a response that seems generic and doesn’t address the crux of their issue, your customers will conclude that there’s no point in bringing up future problems with you. You alienate a loyal customer by being too inflexible—and you also lose out on a crucial source of data.

What can you do to address these problems? 👩‍⚕️

Simplesat’s customer feedback indicates that we are quite good at handling customer frustrations when they pop up. Through trial and error, we’ve figured out what to prioritize when it comes to addressing negative feedback.

✔️

Be responsive

In customer service, delays not only cause frustration, they cost time and money.

By being responsive to your customers’ needs, you show that you value them. This improves satisfaction and creates trust.

At Simplesat, we employ both an online fast-response system and a 24/7 human customer support team… But again, it’s not enough to just hear our customers out: we have to show that their input made a difference. 📣

If our customers have a problem, we respond promptly and do our best to find workarounds. Simultaneously, we keep updating our helpdesk with new questions we receive. Whatever the issue is, future customers might deal with it too.

In case an immediate solution can’t be found, we keep the customer’s information on file. They receive an email as soon as we’re done implementing any change that’s relevant to their concern.

✔️

Ask the right questions

You can’t improve your system unless you know what the problem is. But customers aren’t always able to pinpoint all their issues in a way that’s convenient for you.

Put in the work necessary to improve communications. 👂

Follow-up questions and open-ended questions are a good way to improve your understanding of customer frustrations. 

But don’t overwhelm them with an interrogation! Keep the focus on the issue at hand, and try to make the interaction fun, easy, and encouraging.

✔️

Keep things simple and offer choices

Minimizing customer stress is key to reducing churn and building your reputation. With that in mind, it’s best to offer a few options to choose from.

For example, here’s how Simplesat addresses pricing concerns:

  • We offer a flat rate, with a single price per tier of service.
  • There are no contracts or tie-ins to worry about.
  • It’s easy to move from one tier to another, and we’re upfront about the benefits of each. 
  • Customers can leave any time they want with no penalty.
  • We only ask them to complete a form that explains why they’re leaving. 🙋‍♂️

This straightforward approach makes it easier to predict churn rates and revenue growth.

But more importantly, our customers appreciate having clear choices, with no secret gotchas to worry about. Fostering integrity and transparency leads to great word-of-mouth referrals — and it helps us sleep at night!

✔️

Build on what customers already know

In the world of SaaS in particular, customers want to work with tools they’re familiar with

Their goal is to keep their workflow simple. They don’t want to have to make decisions they don’t understand fully. Sometimes, their frustration comes from the fact that your tool is creating more questions than it solves.

To make our users’ experience seamless, we make sure our customers learn about any new integrations we can offer. We keep them notified of new ways to streamline their experience. And if they want new ways to integrate Simplesat with the tools they’re using already, we listen.

And most importantly… 🔮

The best way to handle customer frustrations is to prevent them. The goal is to iron out all the minor inconveniences as you go along. 

You want to know what’s bothering your customers, and you need that information before the snag develops into a full-blown grievance. But discovering these issues takes some finesse.

Semi-satisfied customers don’t always give great feedback. They want to avoid rocking the boat, or they simply can’t be bothered to file a report. 🤷‍♂️

So, what can you do to get the information you need?

We have found that quarterly NPS surveys are the best way to identify potential points of dissatisfaction. As these surveys describe a general user experience, our clients are more willing to be objective (for example, they can complain about customer service without feeling like they’re getting someone in trouble). 

Remember: you can’t afford to rely only on information from closed tickets. 🩺 Keep a close eye on your customers’ heartbeat, and you won’t have to worry about any secret frustrations.

Your company’s future depends on getting this right (no pressure!) 👾

When customers think they’re not being heard, it creates a sense of disappointment and helplessness.

What do they do next? Well, they complain about it on Twitter.

Ignoring customer frustrations negatively affects your brand image and online persona. This leads to a cascading effect of increased churn, decreased interest, and damaged professional relationships.

Your future customers buy into real-time customer reviews and feedback. Make sure to show them that you care.

Even if the customer’s frustration is in regards to something you can’t fix immediately, make sure to respond and offer alternatives. Be clear about what you can and can’t do. Avoid any vagueness or false promises.

Research shows that customers stay longer when they have built a positive relationship with your company. The way you respond to problems is a huge part of that. So make sure your customers find it easy and rewarding to tell you what’s going wrong.

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