What Does Customer Escalation Mean?
A customer escalation is a scenario where a customer is not pleased with an employee interaction and wants someone at a higher level within the company to resolve the complaint. Escalations should be taken seriously, because this means you have an irate or agitated customer on your hands. If you fail to handle an escalation effectively, your business may lose that customer and others as a result.
A survey conducted by Impact Communications Incorporated, a phone and communication skills training company, revealed that the top seven reasons customers escalate calls are agent lack of knowledge, being told no without any apparent reason or explanation, the agent lacking confidence, the agent having a negative or disagreeable attitude, not receiving an apology, the agent not communicating clearly and not adapting to the pace of the customer.
Have a clear strategy in place for when calls should be escalated. The more you empower an agent to resolve an issue on his own, the less you will have to deal with escalated calls. Encourage agents to listen more closely to customer concerns so they can effectively handle objections and satisfy the customers' needs. Agents should never take things personally. A customer may be having a bad day or just be a grouch. Advise agents to adopt a helpful mentality and treat every customer with respect. This should disarm customers who may not be in a good mood.
The best resolutions to escalations are those where both you and the customer come to a consensus on what needs to be done to make the issue right. Once you've verified with the customer that this will resolve the issue for her, take the necessary steps to fix the matter. This is your time to go above and beyond to impress the customer. You already know her experience has been less than ideal. Once you've done what is necessary to resolve the matter, verify once more that the customer is now satisfied. You should also confirm if the customer will continue patronizing your business.
Closely monitor escalations within your business. These types of scenarios should be the exception not the rule. If you are receiving multiple escalations, you must get to the root cause of these. Understand if there is a particular agent where most of these are coming from or if the problem is more widespread. Address the issues with the appropriate training, coaching and feedback. A decrease in escalations means your agents are becoming more masterful at satisfying your customers.