Great customer service speaks volumes about a business. Take companies like Zappos and Apple. They’re committed to their customers fully. Read through reviews online and you’ll see instance after instance of them going above and beyond in the name of customer satisfaction.
As a small business owner, you’re bound to make mistakes that you’ll eventually recover from. What happens, however, if you keep flubbing up. Can you keep from losing your cool and losing the respect of your customers?
Here are some tell-tale signs that you’re doing customer service all wrong:
You don’t see customer service as another component of marketing your business.
Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful. Part of Zappos appeal comes directly from the company’s satisfied customers. They have no problem speaking highly about Zappos and the service they received. This type of feedback is very encouraging for people who never purchased anything from the company. They know that if there is a problem with a product, it will be quickly remedied.
You consider your customers’ silence as a sign that you’re doing things right.
No feedback is every bit as bad as negative feedback. If your customers don’t think you’re listening, they aren’t going to take the time to make suggestions that will help your business. One of the easiest ways to spot potential problems and make situations better is by sending out a customer satisfaction survey. You’ll get honest feedback if you provide people with a method to communicate with you directly.
You care more about gaining new customers than keeping the ones that you already have.
It’s important to attract new business but equally important to keep customers loyal. Think about all that it takes to gain a new customer. There’s advertising and promotions involved. Then there’s winning them over initially. That takes time. Retention is key to any successful business. You want new customers AND loyal customers.
You think speed is the only important aspect of your business.
Yes, it pays to be efficient but standout customer service is so much more than that. People want to feel valued and respected. They want a say in how they use your products and services. They want to get to know your employees and the personal side of your business. They want to feel better than they ever have before as a consumer.
You ignore complaints or fail to address them in a timely manner.
Ignoring a hate campaign on social media can be the kiss of death for many small businesses. Make sure to moderate comments and reply to complaints professionally. Bad feedback attracts trolls on the internet. It’s best to tackle a feed by identifying potential solutions for your customers rather than attack their character or act like they didn’t exist in the first place.
It’s not uncommon to mess up every now and then but to make a habit of it is inexcusable. Evaluate your customer service skills regularly to identify areas of improvement. If a huge problem presents itself, make sure to address it right away. There’s no fault in being human. There is, however, in not caring enough about your customers to correct an issue that has been brought to your attention.
Pay attention to your customers and they’ll reward you by being loyal. Their family members and friends will come to you for products and services because they know how you will respond. After all, in a sea of constant competition, it doesn’t pay to be complacent. If you want to stand out, you’re going to have to work for it.