With an incredible amount of competition in most industries today, customer service is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd. But it’s a double-edged sword. If you can deliver a stellar customer experience, great customer service will lead to loyal customers, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth traffic. On the other hand, poor customer service could undo your business altogether, so let’s look at five common mistakes you may be making.
Ignoring Customer Feedback
If you took the initiative to suggest how a business improve, wouldn’t you want to see them implement some change based on your feedback? Whether it’s good or bad, customer feedback is gold to a business, because it represents engagement with the company.
Not only can you improve your business with insightful customer suggestions, you can also remind customers that they’re valued. Reward them, appreciate them, express gratitude to them — but whatever you do, don’t ignore them.
Refusing to Bend the Rules
“That’s our policy.” When you’re an angry or frustrated customer, hearing this little phrase is enough to make you explode. You obviously don’t care what the policy is — you just want the business to care about you and the problem you’re trying to solve. As a business, it’s important to have rules, but you should be prepared to bend the rules as often as you can.
Those little accommodations for customers usually cost you very little, but they show that you care enough about your customers to disregard the rules. It’s human nature to be flattered when you ask for something and actually get it — you feel special and taken care of. That’s how you want your customers to feel, and you should aim to achieve that for all but the most outrageous requests.
Charging for Everything
People love getting free stuff! If you give away something for free occasionally — a card, a bouquet of flowers, a gift card, or even one of your products — you’re communicating that you value the relationship with your customers. Actions speak louder than words, and giving a token gift to your customers is an action worth taking.
Similarly, people despise being nickeled and dimed. If you wouldn’t appreciate being charged 25 cents for a cup of water in a restaurant, don’t nickel and dime your customers. Lack of generosity isn’t what you want to be known for.
Failing to Have a Backup Plan
Murphy’s Law says “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” So, what are you prepared to do if something goes wrong in the process of serving your customers? If an inventory shipment is delayed or a key employee calls in sick, the backup plan will ensure that you can give your customers the quality experience they deserve.
Being Too Professional
It’s important to be professional, but you don’t want to come across so corporate that you lose that personal connection with your customers. Obviously, how personal you can get will depend on the business you’re in, but people are a lot more likely to trust you and want to do business with you if they feel like you know them.
And as a nice bonus, getting to know your customers will help you do an even better job of figuring out how to deliver the products and services they want. So ask them about their lives, their jobs, their challenges, and their motivations. There’s no better way to deliver a stellar customer experience than making the effort to really know your customers!
Image Attribution: “Girl Showing Customer Service Board” by Stuart Miles