We have all heard the old adage that “the customer is always right,” which may only seem to be a great business slogan, but actually holds a great amount of truth. Customers are the life blood of any business and it is important that they are satisfied with the products and services they purchase. It is vital that companies understand the importance of customer service in attracting new customers, building greater loyalty with existing customers, and ensuring that your current customers provide positive referrals to future customers. In the age of social media, one bad review is heard by a much larger audience and leaves a much stronger impression than hundreds of positive responses. Customer service is a key factor in your company’s public image, so you always want to make sure you “do right” by the customer.
The biggest mistake any company can make is leaving the impression that they simply don’t care. This can be conveyed in a variety of ways, whether it is long hold times, the bad attitude of an employee, or ignoring the concerns and questions of your customers. It is important that the customers feel they are being heard and that the company is taking steps to address their concerns. When people are left on hold or transferred from one person to the next, it only serves to aggravate the problem and further frustrate the customer. It’s no wonder why some people resort to shouting and cursing out of irritation.
When a customer presents a concern, it is important that you not only acknowledge the problem but empathize with their frustration. People want to know that their time is valuable and that their opinions are being heard. Even if the first responder is not in a position to solve the problem, they need to assure customers that they will receive assistance and be connected to someone who can help them. No matter what the situation, every concern should be validated with a sincere response.
Another major customer service blunder is a delayed response time, especially in financial matters and time sensitive situations. This goes back to the customer’s need to be heard and the assurance that someone is assisting them with their problem. The worst thing that can be done is to ignore the problem in the hopes that it will disappear. This usually results in unnecessary escalations of what were originally simple problems.
Even if you don’t have a solution, every question and concern should be responded to within a reasonable amount of time. Even a simple assurance that the issue is being looked into lets the customer know that their opinion matters. It also personalizes the experience, removing the perception that they are just another number in the system. They are real people with real problems; in some cases, a company error can compound and create the domino effect, especially concerning credit card charges. Money is an extremely sensitive issue and should be handled as soon as possible.
The worst and most embarrassing customer service mistake is the rude behavior or bad attitude of an employee. These individuals are supposed to be representatives for your company and the face of the organization. They are entrusted with the important task of customer interaction, which is often the first impression your company conveys. If you have staff with a foul attitude, they not only scare away customers, but also create negative feedback. One person with a bad experience is likely to tell their friends and family, who in turn will tell more people, which is known as the multiplier effect. They are now deterring potential customers based upon a single interaction.
For this reason, it is important that you hire staff with a good work ethic and a friendly attitude. You want employees who understand that their actions reflect upon their coworkers and the entire company. It is also important that the company provide a positive work environment to ensure the happiness of its employees. Staff members who are satisfied with their jobs and the company they work for are more likely to adopt a positive outlook and friendly demeanor.
There are many customer service companies that do the right thing and can be seen as shining beacons of home for the industry. It is important to emulate these companies and try to strive for excellence. Remember that good customer service experiences will encourage people to do business with your company over and over again and lead to more revenue. They will also tell their friends and family who will tell their friends and family leading to an immeasurable amount of new potential clients.
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Andrew has written on business topics for over four years for a variety of mediums.