Your company could be riding on innovative ideas with the likes of Steve Jobs, but none of it will ever matter if your brand’s customer services skills are lacking. Today’s businesses need every possible leg up over their competition, and customer service is proving to be a booming key factor. Unfortunately, most business owners today have little to no strategy when it comes to their customer support system, and unknowingly they end up shepherding new customers right into the arms of their competitors.
Bad Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid
For the business owner hoping to avoid a bad customer service disaster, here are three mistakes to avoid:
Not Training Your Staff Properly, Or Not Training Your Staff At All
Whether your employees contains an employee count of five or five hundred, the art of customer service training cannot be glossed over for anyone. Failing to train employees of every tier and department on proper customer service behavior is a huge mistake made by too many businesses, big or small. It’s a huge oversight that often ends up hurting sales because there’s no telling when a worker at your company will come face to face with a customer.
Customer service is an area of your business that should be held with equal importance throughout every position at your company. To ensure your employees have an understanding of what qualifies as an acceptable and unacceptable interaction with a customer, be sure to address customer service during employee training specifically. Sit down with your team and take some time to outline the standard of excellence at your business. Be sure to define customer service rules and expectations, doing so thoroughly will also arm your employees with a way of addressing the various unforeseen issues customers might hurdle their way.
Attempting to Win an Argument with a Customer
It’s always worth it for brands to remember that it takes five times more effort and cost to onboard a new customer than it takes to maintain a loyal one. Of course, as a business owner, you’re probably well aware that the customer isn’t “always right.” Still, the sentiment that they should be treated as if they are is essential. Remember, when a client feels agitated or like they’ve been wronged, they’re at a point where they’re not really interested in having someone else prove how they could be right. Avoid efforts to “gain back power” over a situation with a customer by remembering your end goal: ensuring your client’s return.
Make sure that you maintain a positive interaction with your clients by practicing empathy towards their situation. One of the best ways to make a customer feel better about a faulty product or thwarted expectations is to relate to their frustration. Naturally, some interactions might not always motivate you to keep the relationship you have with your customer. In these scenarios, be sure to work to solve a problem with a customer with as much as respect as possible and then help them see their way out the door. Keep in mind that anything that could dissuade a customer from coming back; they will likely hurt you in the form of negative Yelp reviews or a bombardment of social media mentions.
Customers who fail to get into contact with a customer service department will not return to try again. Be sure to secure repeat business for your brand by maintaining a presence that is consistently reachable by customers on multiple platforms. Today’s consumers have an expectation of being able to reach their brands on social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook. They also expect to receive a prompt response: 72 percent of Twitter users expect a response to a customer complaint with the hour.
Avoid making your customers feel as if they are being kept at arm’s-length by training your customer support team to be equipped to address complaints that occur online. Craft an outline for employees that details how to properly address customers via email, and on popular social media platforms. A solid understanding of how to conduct themselves in these interactions will empower your employees to represent the voice and tone of your brand adequately.
Customer Complaint Photo via Shutterstock
Well said but I would add a 4th element: creating a system where you can listen and engage with your customers. Most customers are willing to provide feedback, whether to the business directly or through social media. Those that engage early on face fewer online reviews and see an increase in customer retention.
Training is really important. I learned this the hard way. Back in 2008, I was just starting my business and everything was rough. I did not train my staff and I got less than desirable results from their work – I lost clients because of that.