Customer service research

The value in developing outstanding behavioural skills when dealing with customers cannot be underestimated. Ending a complaint call for example with a satisfied customer means that the customer is more likely to remain loyal, and recommend your organisation to others.

Measures such as the Net Promoter Score (Reichheld F., 2003, Harvard Business Review) demonstrate that the more likely a customer is to recommend your organisation to others, the more growth you are likely to experience as a business.

Our latest customer service research identifies which behaviours are most effective when handling customer complaints. Our key findings include:

First impressions – The way advisers opened conversations, specifically their tone of voice, and initial response to the customer, had an impact on the climate of the conversation, the attitude of the customer and, ultimately, the outcome achieved.

Dealing with issues – Advisers generally achieved more successful outcomes when they could actively comply with the customer’s request. They were more likely to achieve unacceptable outcomes when the customer was requesting something that they could not provide, i.e. there was conflict and agreement. With our experience in negotiation research, we could clearly see how some of the skills and approaches that are effective in large-scale negotiations also apply to complaint situations.

Following up – Most customer complaints result from breaks in the communication chain. Good calls involved advisers making sure that, at the end of the interaction, they had done everything necessary to ensure there would be no breaks in the communication chain going forward.

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