Incorrect Customer Helpline Numbers & Helpless Brands.

Incorrect Customer Helpline Numbers & Helpless Brands.

Regaining Confidence of Dissatisfied Customers

Quite amusing but this happened recently, I landed on a high court telephone line while dialing the customer service number of Amazon. It was quite frustrating to go through this after I ordered a book on Amazon. It goes to prove that things can go wrong anytime, least expected of big brands like Amazon. All the good experiences put together might not make up for one bad experience.

                        Companies are spending huge part of their budget on improving their customer care centers. Are they even getting back returns on this spend? Do not think that this is the case. Brands have built customer care capacity, but it is found the utilization is not even 40% in majority of the companies. They are left wondering why their customers are not reaching out to them for support.

                        The statistics are much worse than reported. Take an example, the sales volume of durables is very small on e-commerce. It is worth noting that durable sales are heavily driven by offline channels; urban and semi urban markets are leading growth in this category. Also, the Customer helpline is the primary support channel in this segment. Ironically, 2 out of 3 customers don’t reach out to the brand in first year after sales while 4 of 5 customers go out of brand’s coverage after one year of the warranty period.

                        It is not just implying that huge money is being wasted on customer call centers, it’s causing massive loss of opportunity on customer retention, growth and brand building. Service aggregator apps and 3rd party service providers are making most from this opportunity. These players are emerging as a potential threat to brand’s image, their authorized partners and their growth. If branded products are serviced by non-authorized personnel, then it’s not surprising that the service will not be of expected standards.

                        Though what I called amusing initially is certainly not so, instead it is quite a serious issue for brands. Their customers are going away dissatisfied due to lack of easy access to customer care numbers and the delayed response is adding to the frustration.

                        On the other hand, it is heartening to see that the Customer engagement methodology & practices are gathering momentum. Active Engagement and customer retention have become the priority of brand managers. Companies slow on building buy-in with internal teams have a long way to go. Lack of customer focus and current state of engagement is exposing brands to the risks of brand erosion and stagnation.

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