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Help Desk Software: Losing Business?
It's great when customers speak up and give a business feedback, whether it's positive or negative. Unfortunately, not all customers feel confident enough or have enough time to speak up. Rather than complain about poor service or an inadequately addressed Help Desk issue, these customers would rather reduce their relationship with the company or do business elsewhere.

This gradual bleeding-away of dissatisfied customers has been an area that experts have studied, but now there's a new name for it: silent attrition. The banking industry has coined this term. For every customer who asks critical questions or complains, there are many others who choose to bottle up their discontent and gradually distance themselves from the company. Most dissatisfied customers who do not complain will eventually take their business elsewhere, whereas only about one in five who are vocal about their dissatisfaction will eventually do so.

Silent attrition has been likened to carbon monoxide poisoning--a business may not realize it suffers from it until it's already dead. It's very difficult to detect, since it is marked by inaction rather than any distinct actions, but there are a few early warning signs. The next few sections will outline these early warning signs and provide some tips for detecting and addressing the problem.

Often, what's not going on is every bit as telling as what is going on. One clue that companies can pick up on is when a customer discontinues the use of a previously favored channel. If customer X, who used to send the Help Desk five e-mails a month, suddenly drops down to only sending one or none, he or she may be disgruntled or looking elsewhere. Other signs of dissatisfaction are less frequent contact with the company or reduced response to company mail-outs, failure to renew contracts and policies such as service contracts, less frequent use of loyalty cards or rebate schemes, and use of loyalty cards/rebates only for purchases of lower value.

So how can this be fixed and customers kept? Most of the burden of prevention falls upon the shoulders of the front-line Help Desk technician who represents the initial point of human contact with the customer. The remaining part is the company's responsibility--understanding why these customers defect. The next section will provide some tips and strategies for keeping customers.

One tactic is to train employees to view every single customer interaction as a potential breeding ground for either loyalty or attrition. Therefore, the Help Desk manager and employees must do their utmost to ensure that each customer contact produces the former rather than the latter.

Help Desk software can help by ensuring that up-skill Customer Service Representatives (CSR's) handle more important inquiries on the first call. The software can also ensure that both CSR's and customers have access to the latest information, provide customers with a clear opportunity to escalate inquiries to an informed, live person, treat customers personally and consistently regardless of the channel used, and leverage analytics to identify unique indicators of potential attrition.

Implementing all of this requires a corporate commitment to ongoing data and trends analysis. It isn't easy; data must be gathered from multiple sources and analyzed. But implementing it is extremely beneficial because it can enable a company to spot potentially damaging trends and implement intervention policies such as proactive contracts or retention offers.


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