Car hire firms need to improve customer experience to help prevent complaints20/06/2015, London, UK
Several major car hire firms have now officially pledged to improve their customer service following the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) campaign against poor customer experiences. Customer engagement expert Aspect Software, advises that proactivity, and “next interaction resolution” could be the key to reducing record complaints in the industry.
Under a Europe-wide “clean-up” of the market, car hire companies have now committed to give consumers better information when hiring cars at home and abroad. But Mark King, Senior VP Europe & Africa at Aspect, highlights the fact that complaints were reportedly handled poorly – he suggests that not only can companies easily turn around a potentially negative experience, but they can prevent the complaint in the first place with little effort.
He said: “Six in ten customers who previously complained to a car hire firm said that their complaint was handled poorly according to Which? This means that customer expectations were missed twice; companies only get those two chances before a customer is probably never going to use them again. Of course complaints are inevitable in any industry, but strategies should be sophisticated enough to stop them happening in the first place.”
King believes that a proactive approach to dealing with customers can help the car hire industry deal with issues before the customer is aware of them, reducing complaints in the process.
King continued: “The Which? report shows that customers are unhappy because they are not receiving enough clear information about what they are getting when they hire a car, charges they were not aware of, and charges that seem to have come out of the blue. The issue here is that the customers are going to these companies and asking questions about why this has happened, and then are being dealt with poorly by contact centre advisors – of course this only goes to aggravate the situation further.
“For example, if there is a charge or piece of information that wasn’t made clear by an advisor, organisations should not hang around and wait for an angry customer to get in touch and complain. Simple voice or text analytics in the contact centre can spot that the exchange was not compliant, and inform the team leader or manager before the customer even finds out. Firms can then proactively contact the customer before a complaint is raised, which can go a long way to defusing what could be a negative customer experience. This sort of approach is also critical for developing the skills of advisors and agents – if information is not mentioned frequently, then training needs are identified quickly.
“There is also a strategy called ‘next interaction resolution’, which is based upon providing the agent with the information and history on a customer at the first point of contact. For example, if a customer calls the contact centre, the agent might see that the customer has just received their hire bill. Based on this, it’s pretty likely that the call is about that bill – the agent is then fully informed before even connecting to the customer. Issues can be resolved quickly and to mutual satisfaction,” he said.
King concluded: “Simply committing to better complaint handling is fine and it’s good that the media attention has raised a positive response from the industry, but there’s much more that can be done before firms even get to that stage. An apathetic approach to compliance and resolving issues has led to an unhappy customer base. An industry that competes on convenience and cost shouldn’t then sabotage their selling points by distressing customers – remember, the market is fighting alternatives such as car clubs and improved public transport infrastructures, and they would do well to step up their customer service game now.”
Aspect’s fully-integrated solution unifies the three most important facets of modern contact centre management: customer interaction management, workforce optimisation, and back-office. Through a full suite of cloud, hosted and hybrid deployment options, we help the world’s most demanding contact centres seamlessly align their people, processes and touch points to deliver remarkable customer experiences. For more information, visit www.aspect.com/uk.
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