Top 8 Customer Communication Pain Points and How to Fix Them

When you give customers a great experience, they will remember that positive association and, most likely, remain loyal to the business going forward. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true — an unsatisfying experience can quickly lead to customer churn.

Photo of angry man holding his cellphone. He is looking at the screen and screaming in frustration.

Vonage's latest customer engagement research reveals eight customer communication pain points that, if left unaddressed, could significantly affect customer retention. Here's why customers find these glitches so frustrating and some tips on how you can fix them.

1. Communication Dead Ends

When customers reach out to your business, they expect to be able to connect with someone directly. If they find a dead end in the lines of communication, they will be confused and irritated. In these cases, 46 percent of consumers are "extremely likely" to stop buying from your business or stop using your services, and 18 percent are likely to do so, according to Vonage's research. It's important to offer them an omnichannel experience that includes chat, social media, messaging apps, and video. This way, they will always have a clear path to reach you even when the main channels are unavailable.

2. Hello, Human?

If a customer has a serious problem or a complex question, they're going to want to sort it out with a fellow human being who can understand where they're coming from and the complexities involved. Further, when customers have no option to speak to a human operator, they may perceive your brand as impersonal. In these cases, more than 60 percent of customers are likely to stop engaging with your business. To avoid this issue, ensure you can give them access to a real person who can empathize with them and make the issue right in real time.

3. Stranded in Self-Help

Customers appreciate it when you give them self-help tools, such as live chat messaging and chatbots, to answer their questions. That being said, they still expect to be able to talk to a customer service representative when a self-help chatbot can't solve their problem. If they can't, they're essentially stranded in self-help purgatory. When they feel stranded or stuck here, 18 percent of consumers are likely to cut ties with your business, and 44 percent are more than likely to do so. With this in mind, make sure your self-help chatbot can provide the option of connecting customers with human agents if they are unable to solve the issue.

4. Stuck in a Waiting Loop

Customers want to feel that you respect their time. If they hear that the wait time on a call is extremely long but you don't offer them the option for a callback, they may suspect that either you don't want to hear from them or you don't prioritize a good customer experience. Neither of those scenarios indicates that you value your customers' business. For this reason, 62 percent of consumers are likely to stop buying from your business when you keep them waiting indefinitely. However, offer them a callback option that fits their schedule and they'll feel more appreciated.

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5. Sent in the Wrong Direction

If your customers call in and make a selection from the pre-recorded list of options only to be connected with the wrong person, they will most likely be annoyed and disappointed. To this end, 38 percent of consumers are extremely likely to stop using your services when they get the runaround, and 20 percent are likely to move on, as well. Make sure your interactive voice response menus are up to date and easy to navigate. While you're at it, set a calendar reminder to review them every so often. That way, even as your business changes, your customers will still be able to reach the right resources.

6. One-Way Messaging Street

When you send your customers a message, they expect to be able to respond. In fact, 20 percent of consumers are likely to stop doing business with you if they can't reply to a message you sent them and 31 percent are extremely likely to make that same decision. The goal is to turn communication into conversation, engaging your customers in an open dialogue. You can do this by enabling responsive AI or giving customers the option to speak to humans.

7. AI Roundabouts

Customers are willing to explain their problem to a chatbot or an AI virtual assistant, but they're not thrilled if they end up having to repeat the entire story to a human customer service agent later on. When confronted with this common customer pain point, 38 percent are extremely likely to disengage your business, and 20 percent are likely to take their business elsewhere, too. Make sure your chatbot can automatically log the conversation and associated chat detail records into your customer relationship management software, so human agents have the information they need to hit the ground running.

8. No Changing Lanes

Just like everyone else, your customers lead busy lives. They may start a conversation with you via video chat but have to switch to voice as they're heading out the door for an appointment. When you lock them into a single channel, you're not giving them a responsive customer experience. In these cases, 36 percent of consumers are extremely likely to stop buying from your business or using your services, and 19 percent are likely to hang up, as well. Let your customers easily switch channels, so they can get their problem solved without having to call you back later.

Solve Your Customer Communication Pain Points

After trying new digital apps and services during the pandemic, customers appreciate the value of a good customer experience now more than ever. They're less willing to roll with an interaction that is unsatisfying, and they're motivated to shop around for something better if the situation calls for it. By nipping these eight customer pain points in the bud, you can give your customers what they need and show how much you value them. When you do so, they'll reward you with repeat business for years to come.

Vonage Staff

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