Relating to the Public: The Customer Service/Customer Loyalty Connection
I can’t tell you how many times I have called a receptionist at a law firm and the person on the other end of the phone does not know the names of their marketing or PR staff. The same goes for calling a company and having the person on the other end of the line be dismissive about my request to connect with someone who can help me solve my problem. It’s very frustrating.
There is a lot of talk amongst the PR community about customer loyalty being tied to customer service. A recent study from CFI group explores call center satisfaction and how they are rapidly transforming into contact centers; raising customer satisfaction and likely recommendations. Another recent study by AchieveGlobal, a global workforce development firm, explored the emotional aspect of customer service by revealing that customers prefer good service to problem resolution: one in three respondents preferred being treated well over having their issues resolved immediately. Public relations includes, well, relating to the public. More than just media relations and article placement, when done right public relations must involve staff and attorney training including the fundamental skills how to interact with firm clients.
AchieveGlobal’s Why Your Customers Stay or Stray: Insight From Global Customer Experience Research, further reveals that the behaviors most irritating to customers stem from detached emotional awareness and connection. Almost half (46 percent) of respondents noted that being rude, short, nasty, unhelpful and impatient was the greatest customer service mistake that they have experienced. Using a canned script in dealing with issues (17 percent) and saying “no” or “I don’t know” (16 percent) also ranked amongst the top customer experience failures.
A firm’s communication team should be involved with customer service training. PR is critical to the success of a firm’s public image. A negative client experience not only threatens the reputation of the brand, but it may impact whether a firm gets a referral or more work from the client. And, no amount of media or article placements can overcome those bad customer experiences.