7 key mistakes companies make in Customer Service
Many business owners know their customers need to experience a certain level of service to ensure they return in the future, however a high number of these companies underestimate the effects poor customer service actually has on their business.
Here are the 7 common mistakes I see companies making on a daily basis, producing not only frustrated and unhappy customers but also staff who are unfocused and uninspired.
Customer service affects the bottom line of businesses
The most common mistake companies make is underestimating the power of customer service with regards business revenue.
Poor customer service cost British firms over £37bn last year, with consumers opting to either spend less with a company or buy from a rival company. (Ombudsman Services Report)
If a customer is unhappy with the level of service they receive, they will think carefully about returning to that company and may instead look for alternative options.
By fully understanding the importance of excellent customer service, businesses ensure customers remain the valued asset of the company resulting in repeat business and increased sales and profits.
Lengthy and ineffective complaint handling
Long, drawn-out complaint handling frustrates customers and leaves them feeling undervalued, resulting in the loss of customers and sales.
A report from Ombudsmen Services stated that 79% of respondents said they would be unlikely to shop again with a business which they felt had handled their complaint badly.
By investing in Customer Service training, staff are confident, empowered and motivated to assist clients with issues and fully focused on finding an acceptable solution for both parties.
Having a clear and well defined Customer Service Charter ensures consistency from all staff members and loyalty and trust from customers.
Customers are not being listened to
Customers need to know they have been listened to and are truly valued by the company.
An ignored or undervalued customer will look towards another company to meet their needs.
Effectively listening and responding to the customer builds rapport and will help in quickly determining what their needs are and efficiently resolving them.
Over-promising and under-delivering
It’s frustrating when promises are made and never kept.
It’s the same experience for customers - they expect companies to keep their word.
Failing to call when promised, arriving late for an appointment, or a product being delivered later than the agreed time are all broken promises, which run the risk of losing the customer’s trust and loyalty.
By setting realistic and achievable targets, companies not only manage their customer’s expectations but they have the opportunity of over-delivering and affirming they are a company that puts customer’s needs first.
Only training customer-facing staff
‘Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job’ – Ken Blanchard
It is a common belief that only customer-facing staff require training on Customer Service excellence. This is a myth - EVERY employee in a company is responsible for Customer Service.
The accounts department are required to invoice correctly and on time, the warehouse staff need to ensure the goods are packaged correctly and delivered on time and undamaged, the cleaners are responsible for providing a safe and hygienic work environment for both staff and customers.
By fully training all employees in Customer Service and company policies, ensures the customer’s buying experience is consistent, smooth and positive and one they will want to repeat in the future.
Not being solution-focused
‘Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers’ – Seth Godin
Many companies are not training and motivating staff to be solution-focused.
Solving the customer’s problem should be the company’s main mission that all staff affirm to.
By focusing fully on finding a successful solution, businesses present an image of a company that truly cares and values customers.
Never following up
If you don’t follow up with your customers, how do you know they are happy?
Following up with a customer after a transaction ensures the product or service met their expectations (and hopefully exceeded them!) and makes the customer feel valued.
The feedback the customer provides is essential for business development and growth, and by hearing directly from customers, companies know sooner if they will be retaining their custom.
Key Mistake - Taking customers for granted.
It costs at least 5 times as much to gain a new customer than keep an existing one, and takes 56 days on average.
Customers, at the end of the day, are paying companies for a product or service.
If customers are lost due to poor customer service where does that leave the company?
Don’t make these common mistakes with your customers.
Fully training all staff on Customer Service excellence, ensures your customers are happy and loyal and your business has consistent successful growth.
Find out more about my training courses at www.helenpettifer.com