Many conference lectures and articles about contact centres explore the possibility of turning complaining customers into fans. I tend to think that we should think of ourselves as the customer when talking about a topic like this, rather than keeping it as an abstract idea within a magazine article.
Think about the last time you called a company to complain about something. Maybe you were overcharged for electricity, or your printer broke down a week after buying it, or you got a parking ticket even though you believed you were parked in a free zone.
What happened when you called?
Did you become a fan of the organisation you called? Probably not, but these companies do have their competition so rather than going over the top and saying the target is to become a fan, how about feeling like you were listened to and treated respectfully as a customer?
Much of this comes down to the empathy Veronica wrote about in her recent blog here. If the agent can empathise with your problem and then attempt to work out a solution, even if it is a compromise, then you will feel more inclined to maintain a relationship with that company.
If the agent reads from a script, or just says that nothing can be done, then the chances are that will be the last time you ever park your car there, or buy power from that company.
And consumers are not always rational. If a company upsets them, they may switch even if there is a cost to do so. I know that I have done exactly that with a mobile phone operator in the past – the service was terrible and even though I had to pay to end the contract, I did it just to break free.
So in an ideal world, the consumer ends the call happy and becomes a fan of your company – but this doesn’t work for every organisation. At the very least you leave the caller feeling they have been treated well, with respect, and their problem was listened to and resolved.