The brands in the region do not give the necessary experience to the clients, and they have a lot to fix before being able to please them
In Latin America, customer service is not a priority for companies. Compared to the United States or Europe, where these processes are constantly improving, we Latin Americans move into a market where our experience as clients is worsened by an outdated vision of companies in front of this important area of any business.
Market studies predict that by 2020 the experience offered by the brand will be the most important differential for customers, even above the price or product, something to which many companies have responded positively, strengthening their service channels client.
For Latin American companies, however, customer service is still not a priority. In Colombia, for example, around 95% of companies admit not knowing what the consumer expects from their service. Likewise, 54% of consumers rate how "bad" the customer service of the companies belonging to the 10 main sectors of the economy.
One of the main problems faced by companies is that many still believe good customer service simply as something that could differentiate them from their competitors and not as a requirement for their subsistence. However, considering that one out of three customers completely abandons a brand after the first bad experience, this should be a paramount standard in any industry.
In addition, companies have the big problem that they do not enable the right channels to get closer to customers. According to international analyzes, 40% of consumers say that they prefer customer service through text messages or online chat; however, in Latin America, these channels are rarely available.
Beyond that, brands in the region are just beginning to consider their social networks as possible channels of customer service, using them first as a tool for promotion and communication, and lastly as a point of contact to offer support to their customers. Today, social networks are the most natural means of interaction for many, the same they use to communicate with family and friends, so they can affect the profits of a company by increasing customer satisfaction and cutting back on costs of using other platforms such as call centers.
In fact, the digital marketing firm, Aberdeen Group, reports that in the cases in which they were involved, the businesses that provided customer service through social networks achieved average gains of 4.6% higher compared to those that they did not.
Another problem comes from a short-term mentality, common in Latin American companies, which makes all the after-sale or payment customer service completely neglected. The logistics of deliveries, for example, has become a problem for those who make purchases over the internet, as the supplier companies neglect the service once the sale has been closed, resulting in frequent delays in deliveries and unsatisfactory experiences.
This oversight of after-sales service may arise from the refund and purchase refund policies, which in Latin America are left entirely at the discretion of the companies, except in cases of sale of defective products. Meanwhile, in the United States, reimbursement policies generally oblige businesses to honor the return of money to a dissatisfied customer regardless of the reason during the 30 days following the purchase. When the client does not have mechanisms to demand a good after sales service, how can a refund policy that works in his favor, the companies have no incentives to provide a better service.
Some growing trends in the market could begin to turn the situation around. The participation of clients in the evaluation of brands and the power that users' reviews have acquired on the Internet could serve to awaken companies that have been able to afford to neglect the experience of their users and disinterested in their satisfaction.
Latin American Post | Pedro Bernal
Translated from “ ¿Por qué muchos consideran pésimo el servicio al cliente en América Latina?”