A bad customer service experience can cost a business thousands, if not more. Regardless of what you sell, you will struggle to do so when you treat customers poorly. By taking care of customers, you build relationships with them. Even when this relationship was forged in bad circumstances, it can definitely turn into loyalty. However, just one negative experience with your brand could impact your reputation. What’s worse, no company is perfect, so such experiences might often occur. To improve customer service in business, here are ten mistakes to avoid.
Having Too Few Employees
Every business has certain busy periods. Although you can’t always predict these periods, you must prepare for the ones you can. Christmas, for example, is an especially busy time for most retailers. That is why you usually find that customers begin hiring additional staff in the fall. Unless you want to leave your customers waiting, you must consider doing the same. When hiring seasonal staff, make sure that you conduct the hiring process in the same way as usual. This means carrying out interviews, as well as checking any references given by candidates.
Skimping On Staff Training
Having additional help is pointless unless employees know what they’re doing. Far too many companies bring on other workers but don’t carry out proper staff training. You can’t expect an employee, especially a new employee, to deliver quality service when you haven’t shown them how to. Staff training must be a thorough, dynamic, and ongoing process. If you’re unable to train employees yourself, you must ensure that you outsource the task to a qualified expert.
Asking The Wrong Questions
To accurately assess a customer’s needs, you must ask them questions. Sadly, many workers waste time by making assumptions or asking for unrelated information. No customer has unlimited time to spend on an interaction, so you must assist them quickly and as best as you can. Take control of the interaction immediately by asking how you can help. The details that the customer provides can then be used to tailor a solution that fits their needs and requirements.
Keeping Customers On Hold
Few things are more frustrating to a customer than being put on hold. They expect your business to be contactable whatever the time of day, which can put tremendous pressure on you and employees. Thankfully, there is a simple solution. Signing up to a 24/7 telephone answering service means that your business will always be available to customers. You can happily turn your work phone off at night, confident in the knowledge that calls will be answered.
Missing All Contact Details
Live chat and social media, among other platforms, have transformed relationships between customers and retailers. These tools allow a business to offer greater convenience, which boosts brand loyalty. The trouble is because consumers have grown used to having this convenience, it causes issues when that convenience isn’t offered. To allow customers to get in touch, all contact details must be displayed on every page of the company website. Make sure you include this information on business cards, flyers, and other marketing materials too.
Ignoring Self-Service Options
While customer service staff must always be available, you should understand that customers might not wish to speak to them. Many consumers prefer to help themselves before asking for assistance. Having self-service options available, therefore, is incredibly important. There are many self-service resources you can offer, such as an FAQ page, how-to videos, and buying guides. It’s also important to include a user’s manual or instructions will any products on sale.
Allowing Poor Product Quality
Even when a customer knows very little about a brand, they expect them to sell high-quality goods. Doing the opposite breaks whatever little trust that customer once had in you. To avoid this, you must test products before putting them out. There are many ways to check goods, but many brands use focus groups. This is where to invite a group of people to try your product and offer their feedback. With constructive criticism, you can make any improvements necessary.
Making Returns Quite Difficult
Even a good quality product might not fulfill a customer’s needs. In this case, that customer may decide to request a refund. Fraud is a legitimate concern for every business, but that doesn’t mean you should have customers jump through hoops to make returns. Giving customers the benefit of the doubt is usually the best way to avoid further trouble. Because of this, you should review your returns policy and consider which elements you can relax or even remove entirely.
Deleting Bad Customer Reviews
Reading negative comments about your own business certainly isn’t enjoyable. However, that isn’t an excuse to remove them. Responding to negative feedback in the right way is much more beneficial to your venture. It’s important that you apologize for any mistakes made and suggest ways the business could do better in the future. Deleting comments not only shows a lack of care but proves that you’re untrustworthy. These characteristics will always put consumers off.
Failing To Show Appreciation
Every customer must understand that they matter to your business. After all, without them, you wouldn’t have a business at all. There are many ways to show your appreciation, such as offering loyalty schemes, giving birthday discounts, and handing out freebies. Although these benefits aren’t free, they cost much less than the reward. Loyal customers not only cost less to convince them to buy something, but they’re likely to suggest your business to other people too.
Without loyal and happy customers, a business will struggle to survive. As the main source of income, you need customers to make purchases so that you can cover your overheads. While there are numerous ways to keep customers happy, many businesses make mistakes instead. Selling poor quality goods, keeping customers waiting, and deleting any bad comments are all examples of actions that will likely push consumers away. Improving customer service means not making any of these mistakes. Although this task might seem difficult, with the advice above, you should find it much easier.