Offering excellent customer service is a reliable way to attract new customers and grow your business. On the other hand, poor customer service can deter potential customers and push away the ones you already have. Even when they are happy with the product or services a business offers, most people will move on to a competitor when they are unsatisfied with customer service. Here are some common customer service mistakes that you should work hard to avoid.
In a world of instant gratification, customers have begun to expect quick responses. When you take too long to get back to them, regardless of the reason, potential customers tend to move on to someone who is available. With current customers, failure to promptly respond to a question or concern might cause you to lose their business. One way to reduce this risk is to implement customer automation. Customer service software and email autoresponders
provide immediate answers to commonly asked questions, initiate engagement with the customer, and provide them with the time that they can expect to hear from you personally. A quick response is vital to holding customers, even if that response is automated.
Not Treating Their Concerns Seriously
More than anything, people want to be heard. They want to know that someone is listening to them and taking their concerns seriously. The first way to show your customers that you hear them is to listen. Allow them to talk as long as they need to in order to feel like they got their grievances out. Next, show empathy
. Even the most disgruntled customers will usually calm down when you try to see the experience from their position and express how sorry you are for the trouble you have caused them. Finally, do everything that you can to solve their problem. Even if you are unable to fully fix the situation, making a sincere effort to do so will often be enough to retain your customers.
Over-Relying on Technology
While automated customer relations technology is a great tool for any business, it is important not to over-rely on it. Automation is best used
as a brief interlude between the customer’s initial contact and your quick personal response, as well as a simple way for the customer to provide feedback. Automated responses give the customer reassurance that they will be responded to in a timely manner. People soon get frustrated and will move on to a competitor if they make multiple attempts to contact you and can never reach an actual human. The best customer service is done person to person, not machine to person.
The fastest way to lose customers is for a data breach to occur. It is imperative that you take the necessary steps to keep this from happening. Only collect the data you need and be selective about how long you store it and who you share it with. Keep the data secure by limiting access, requiring secure passcodes, and using powerful cryptography during transmission. Because this is such a complicated process, you might want to outsource your IT. Outsourcing IT services can also help you focus
on your area of expertise at your business. This frees up your time so that you can focus on the things that only you can do.
Poor Training of Customer Service Representatives
Customer service representatives need thorough training
to do their job well. They need to learn everything from appropriate greetings and goodbyes, to listening and communication skills, to troubleshooting and problem solving. Customer service agents should also be very familiar with the inner workings of your company, including services rendered, products sold, and any warranty or return policies. Don’t simply give your customer service reps a few brief instructions and then send them out on their own. Mentor them through some phone calls, allow them to shadow your top agents, and utilize roleplaying in your training. This should not be a one and done deal; offer ongoing training to your representatives to fine-tune their performance.
Going Back On Your Promises
To maintain customer satisfaction, your word must be your bond. Make sure that you follow through with any promises that you make, even if something was said in error. To ensure that you always keep your promises, keep a faithful record of every promise made and review it frequently. If there is a company-wide warranty, return or exchange policy, make sure that everyone on your team is familiar with it. Before making any promises, be certain that you will be able to deliver on them. Keeping your promises is critical
for maintaining good faith with your customers.
Failure to Take Responsibility
As hard as you try to fulfill every order perfectly, mistakes will inevitably be made. The professional thing to do is to accept accountability for your mistakes, rather than making excuses. Most people are willing to extend mercy when you admit that you were wrong and offer a sincere apology. Just make sure that your apology is backed by your actions. Always right every wrong insofar as you are able.
One surefire way to turn customers and clients away is to exhibit even the smallest lack of integrity. Always tell the truth, and never withhold pertinent information. Be above board in all your dealings with others. Meet each obligation in a timely manner. Always keep your commitments, no matter how small. Letting little things slide can quickly become a slippery slope of broken faith with the people you serve. If circumstances don’t allow you to keep your commitments, be sure to openly communicate that with the other party. Maintain total transparency in everything that you do. Always be a solid example of integrity and instill those values in each employee. Your business is only as honest as your least honest team member, so hold your workers to a high standard of honesty and integrity, as well.
Do everything you can to leave your customers feeling happy with every interaction they have with you. Don’t ever let poor customer service become the nails that seal your company’s coffin. Instead, show your clients that they are important to you in all that you do.