Failing to Do This One Thing Is Guaranteed to Create Unhappy Customers
I am a Service Excellence Coach and passionate supporter of the many fantastic and truly dedicated customer service providers across all industries who day in and day out, work hard to provide great service to their customers.
It can be a tough job as not every customer will be a delight to interact with and some customers can be quite difficult. I became a difficult customer recently and it was in response to some very poor service.
It began with big smiles and friendly banter but very quickly became pushy sales then moved on to un-professional handover between staff, forgotten promises, incorrect spelling of my name on 3 occasions and amongst all of that a few good doses of not listening, talking over me and a healthy measure of blaming other departments and services for mistakes.
Quite honestly, once all that had happened over the course of 3 weeks, I was banging my head against the wall and I actually advised 1 of the 5 employees I had to interact with that if things don’t improve, I would walk away without my desired purchase.
So why didn’t I? You would think that I would happily and easily ceased the interaction and purchased this particular item elsewhere and yes, that was an option. I weighed this up and chose to see it through until I got what I came for.
I stayed because the amount of time and effort it would have taken to start again just to get to the point I was at, was too daunting and because there was no guarantee of a better experience elsewhere.
So now I remain the type of customer you never want; The unhappy one.
The one that you are going to have to move mountains for to repair the damage and who just might share her bad experience with friends and family.
I’m not and never will be in the business of naming and shaming bad customer service providers or businesses in the course of my business. My company is all about helping customer service staff improve by educating them with the soft skills they need that will leave their customers feeling valued and respected.
Even though I was annoyed and frustrated by the poor level of service, I feel empathy for the employees involved. I have to believe that they did not set out to provide bad service – they just don’t know how to do it better.
And they only had to do one thing better – COMMUNICATE. (I’ve typed that in capitals and bold, not because I’m yelling but because it has to stand out as it is the Number One thing that when done poorly, will make even the most patient, trusting, Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela like customers want to scream.)
5 communication rules to reduce customer anxiety and show respect:
- Reply to customer emails and phone calls within a maximum of 24 hours.
- At every step, confirm with the customer when you have completed promised actions or if there are changes or delays.
- Limit the amount of staff involved in your customers purchase – too many people increase the chance of miscommunication and mistakes.
- If you’re un-available, provide your customer the details of one other staff member who can help them whilst you are absent.
- Consider your tone of voice and body language – they tell a customer how you feel and what your attitude is.
Remember: Your products may be what enticed your customers to your business but if the processes in place for the customers to make the purchase and the people skills (soft skills) of your employees are poor, then the value of your product diminishes and the dissatisfaction of your customer increases and sometimes those unhappy customers stay.
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