Joe at Return Customer had a great post about MBNA who sent him an e-mail telling customers NOT to reply, but to send their questions via snail mail. His question of this service technique is worthy of consideration. MBNA has sent a subtle message to the customer that they don’t want the customer’s feedback. Sending a snail mail reply is a communication obstacle. It will reduce the amount of customer feedback they have to handle, but it will also reduce customer satisfaction.
Companies often make communication difficult for their customers:
- IVRs that are mind-numbingly difficult to navigate. Too many options and too many levels.
- Not giving customers a zero-out option (press "0" to get to a live agent) on IVRs.
- Voice-recognition software that doesn’t recognize what you’re saying.
- Failing to provide clear contact information on e-mails, websites, statements, & invoices.
We’ve seen an interesting trend with a few of our clients over the past few years. Customer Satisfaction Research has shown that "ease in finding the phone number" has become a key driver of customer satisfaction. The client is often baffled and surprised by this. They think that the phone number is right there for the customer to see, but they haven’t considered all of the channels of communication, where they’ve placed the number on the page, how easy it is for the customer to quickly, visually recognize it. If the customer has to spend time hunting through pages, scrolling through websites, scouring the e-mail for contact information it sends a message: "We don’t really want to hear from you". That’s frustrating, and frustrated customers are dissatisfied customers.