Home Opinion Responsive customer service as bridge to business accessibility 

Responsive customer service as bridge to business accessibility 

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As children, we were taught that communication is a two-way street. It is not just about talking; it’s also about listening. It’s not only about disseminating information but also about actively listening and engaging with others. Today, as adults, we find that many didn’t learn the same lesson or else didn’t take it to heart.

Experts argue that effective communication thrives on the exchange of ideas, feedback, and perspectives. When both parties actively participate in the conversation, it encourages transparency, trust, and collaboration. This two-way flow of communication helps in building stronger relationships, resolving issues more effectively, and fostering an environment conducive to growth and understanding.

In the digital age, the bridge between customers and businesses is increasingly built upon communication. The most important channels include the internet /website, phone calls and email. The essence of customer service contact stands as the pivotal gateway to fostering seamless accessibility. However, a disheartening trend persists – the unanswered calls and ignored emails by many businesses. This lack of responsiveness strikes a blow to the very foundation of customer experience, leaving patrons adrift in a sea of frustration and disenchantment.

For instance, last week, I got the following message via SMS from, supposedly, my pension fund administrator.

“Kindly submit consent for us to provide your bank details to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for FGN Palliative. Visit (link) to locate our Office Address and make a physical submission or click (link) for electronic submission, on or before 19 Dec 2023. Enquiries: 08059580002, 08032752888”. It didn’t smell right.

Ordinarily, I’ll ignore this sort of message. But this one came as part of the usual messages (chat) from the firm. My interest was pinged. I went online and got the pension firm’s phone number and email. I called several times, the lines were either busy or simply rang out. So, I sent an email and got an automated response. Five days later, nothing else from the firm.

Why can’t companies answer their customer’s calls?

How long does it take to respond to an email?

How am I not to believe that the supposed fraudsters are working hand-in-hand with contacts within the firm?

The impact of unanswered communication

In recent times, several high-profile cases have spotlighted the detrimental impact of businesses failing to address customer inquiries promptly.

One poignant example is when a major airline faced a significant operational meltdown, resulting in countless passengers stranded and seeking assistance. Despite an influx of queries flooding their customer service lines, the airline struggled to cope, leaving many customers in a state of frustration due to unanswered calls and unacknowledged emails. This delay exacerbated the already stressful situation, souring the experience for countless travellers.

There are also instances where airlines cancel flights and yet take months of follow-up and sometimes begging to refund the customers.

Similarly, telecommunications giants have faced their fair share of scrutiny during service disruptions. Instances of network outages or technical glitches causing service disruptions often led to an inundation of customer inquiries. Sometimes, these disruptions are precipitated by fibre cable cuts during road construction. However, delayed or absent responses to these queries intensified customer dissatisfaction, eroding trust in the company’s ability to address concerns promptly.

The real issue is that when businesses fail to answer phone calls or respond to email messages, the repercussions reverberate through the customer experience landscape. It creates an insurmountable barrier, thwarting customers’ attempts at accessing information, seeking assistance, or providing feedback. Such negligence undermines trust and loyalty, casting a shadow on the perceived reliability and credibility of the business.

Customers left in limbo often experience heightened frustration, leading to feelings of neglect or indifference. This negative experience significantly diminishes their inclination to engage further with the business, thereby impacting retention rates and tarnishing the business’s reputation in the market.

Possible root causes and remedies

Several factors contribute to this lack of responsiveness. Overwhelmed customer service departments, inadequate infrastructure, or even a lack of priority given to these communication channels can be prime culprits.

By learning from these examples and acknowledging the ramifications of unresponsive customer service, businesses can strategically allocate resources, implement effective communication strategies, and build a customer-centric approach that not only resolves issues but also strengthens relationships and fosters loyalty.

To remedy this issue, businesses must undertake a holistic approach

First off, there must be an intentional investment in technology. This will involve adopting and integrating advanced communication technologies that can streamline and manage incoming queries efficiently. Implementing automated responses, chatbots, and CRM systems can significantly enhance responsiveness.

Secondly, emphasis must be placed on training and empowerment. Firms must equip customer service representatives with comprehensive training, empowering them to handle diverse queries promptly and effectively. There is also a need to establish clear protocols and response times to ensure timely resolution.

Moreover, organisations must prioritize communication channels. Firms have to acknowledge the significance of each communication channel and allocate resources accordingly. A proactive approach to responding to emails and answering calls can quickly solidify customer trust and satisfaction.

Feedback has been described as the “breakfast of champions”. Companies need to regularly solicit customer feedback to gauge satisfaction levels. They can subsequently use this information to continually refine and improve communication strategies, ensuring they align with customer expectations.

The essence of customer service contact as the conduit to business accessibility cannot be overstated. The failure to address customers’ queries through phone calls and emails erects barriers that impede accessibility and erode trust.

Businesses that recognize the pivotal role of prompt communication in addressing customer queries and concerns are better positioned to navigate challenges, build trust, and elevate the overall customer experience in today’s competitive landscape.

By acknowledging the impact of unresponsiveness and implementing proactive measures, businesses can bridge this gap thus fostering a customer-centric approach that not only resolves issues but also cultivates loyalty and elevates the overall customer experience. Responsive and efficient communication stands as the cornerstone of a thriving business in today’s interconnected marketplace.

Eromosele, a corporate communication professional and public affairs analyst, wrote via: elviseroms@gmail.com

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