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Building trust through the effective handling of complaints

When your customers think of emotional industries, utilities may not be the first that comes to their mind. Their water, gas and electricity aren’t something usually thought twice about – until they’re not there, that is. The urge to ring an energy provider to thank them for the fantastic work done that week in keeping a house warm, or for keeping a television on and bath water running doesn’t happen very often. But what about when it’s mid-December, the boiler packs in and your customer finds themselves walking around the house in four jumpers, thermal socks and a woolly hat? The situation becomes very different. Suddenly a conversation with your frontline agents becomes a lot more likely and, in many cases, a lot less amicable, depending on the outcome of course.

Whilst many may not draw a direct line between emotion and the utilities industry, it’s safe to say that when the boiler breaks and complaints take place, emotions can run high. It is therefore vital that each customer experience is treated with utmost importance and every customer is left to feel like their voice is not only being heard, but action is taking place and changes are put into place after each interaction.

Not just hot air

If a customer is in a situation without water or electricity, leaving them in the unknown can quickly take the situation from a minor issue to a complaint, and the chances of resolving the matter with a positive customer experience reduce significantly. It is therefore essential to be there in the moments that matter. Small changes can make a big difference, and whilst customer satisfaction should be the focus, you can also have peace of mind that you are keeping the regulators happy by generating positive satisfaction scores and complying with the powers that be in the meantime.

Whilst it may not be possible to solve every situation immediately, keeping customers informed with proactive communication and managing expectations gives the customer peace of mind whilst the matter is resolved. This means giving your customers a platform to share their concerns in real-time, through whichever channel best suits them. Whether it’s a phone call, email or a text, by providing a platform for your customer to share their voice and emotion in the moment, you’re giving confidence that they are being heard.

Energise your employees

Contact centre agents and engineers visiting homes may be the first touch point your customers have. It’s important to empower your employees and ensure they have a voice and feel heard, so their learnings from each customer interaction can be used to influence future direction. A huge amount of power is put in the hands of your frontline to provide a consistent, professional and positive experience. By creating a transparent process with the authentic voice of the customer, your frontline is armed with the information they need to make well-informed decisions that make for a positive and personalised customer experience.

By building a team in a culture of genuine customer care, you stand a significantly higher chance of retaining your customer base – a vital part of nurturing brand loyalty. Because customers that care and feel looked after are far more likely to share their experience. And who doesn’t like a bit of brand advocacy?

Closing the loop

We’d all like to live in a perfect world where negative feedback doesn’t exist. But we’re realists, and we know that mistakes and problems will occur. Whilst negative customer feedback is a situation we’d all like to avoid, if you have the correct operational procedures in place, these negatives can act as an opportunity to identify friction in the customer journey and make positive changes that can be fed back to your customers.

It’s time to break down barriers between your customers and employees by bringing the voice of your customers into their world. Become more transparent with authentic customer feedback and enable employees to engage with insight directly related to them.

Unsure how to do just that? We’ve got you covered here.

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