Whether you are just starting out or are a well-established business, the importance of customer service will always be a high priority that needs care and attention given to it so as to allow your business to flourish. Without good customer service, you will face a long and hard uphill battle in trying to become successful.
What is customer service?
Customer service is the help and guidance that a company offers its potential and active customers. It starts upon first contact with the company, for example, if you have any queries or going through to aftercare if you come across any problems after purchasing their products or services.
Why is customer service important?
Customer service is one of the core pillars of any successful business. Of course, you need a good product or service, a marketing team, and all the rest of it. But without good customer service, all of these strong pillars that you have built up will come crashing down. With good customer service comes trust and retention of your customers, which leads to positive reviews and loyalty, which of course leads to stability and then finally growth. Growth is one of the aims of any business.
Top 7 customer service mistakes to avoid
Mistakes happen everywhere, some can be costly and obvious, some can go unnoticed, and at times they can even be unavoidable, but luckily most are. Here are 7 customer service mistakes to avoid.
#1 Not actively listening to your customers
The quickest way to upset or annoy someone is to not listen to them or to disregard what they are trying to tell you. You should also be aware of the fact that you can listen to something that someone says to you without actually taking in anything that was said, and by the end of the conversation you will still have no idea what was said, how to react, or even how to solve the issue at hand.
This is why it is extremely important to actively listen to your customers. Active listening involves focusing on what the speaker is trying to relay to you and absorbing or processing the information so as to understand fully and give a genuine reply. Most people will understand how frustrating it is to spend time and effort explaining something to a person, just to have a generic reply, response, or solution presented at the end.
#2 Being hard to reach
Most people have been there before when something has gone wrong, a package has not shown up, items are missing, the service that was expected was not met, something needs to be rescheduled, or maybe there is just a query that needs to be answered. And yet you cannot get through to any members of staff, or sometimes even find a clear way of contacting the company in question.
This can lead to added stress and huge customer dissatisfaction, therefore, being something extremely important to consider. Luckily there are lots of ways to avoid this from happening, from simple things such as making your “Contact us” information clear and accessible on your social media and websites, to employing enough competent staff to deal with any incoming phone calls from your customers.
Not only this but thanks to technology and how accessible the internet is for many people you also have options such as live online chat software available to consider implementing into your business too.
#3 Poor customer service staff training
A quick and sure way to make mistakes in any form of customer service is by providing inadequate or incomplete training to the members of staff that will be on the frontline, speaking with customers on a daily basis. A lot of knowledge on how to deal with customers, in general, will come with time and experience, but this is not an excuse to not train your employees.
If you start them off well and offer regular training programs to refresh or boost their knowledge within the customer service industry then this will be a huge step towards avoiding a large number of common mistakes. Sometimes with enough training, the right attitude, and a solution from a customer service advisor, if they can catch or spot a mistake early enough and before it becomes a full-blown problem, it can even be possible to turn it from a mistake into a positive interaction for your customer.
#4 Not thinking about your customer’s journey with you
It is easy to get carried away and focus on profit margins, future goals you wish to set for yourself and your business, or where the business is heading and forget about the reason you are here. That reason is your customers, and without them, your business would cease to exist.
A mistake to avoid is getting too caught up in all of this, and instead spend a little time thinking about your customers and the journey that they have when it comes to buying your products or services.
How easy is it for them to find you and purchase what you sell? What are the quality of your goods and services like and how can you better improve them for your customers? Are there any known issues that need to be dealt with that your customers have been highlighting to you? Out of all the communications you receive from customers, how many of them are complaints? And is there anything that you can do to reduce the amount of them that you receive? You should also focus on the positive feedback received from your customers too, for example, what is working? What have they told you they like about our business? Is there a trend in what all customers feedback to you, and how can you keep this going?
#5 Lack of communication with your customers
Any form of communication is extremely important when it comes to relationships, whether that is romantic, between family members, friends, business partners, or of course your customers. No one has mind-reading abilities, and without communication, a lot of things can fall apart.
The communication you have with your customers should be strong from start to finish with regard to your customer’s journey with you, even when things have not gone to plan. For example, you should keep your customer in the loop as to what is happening, along with any changes to timescales and costs, as this will allow for them to raise any issues or concerns with you and allow you a chance to respond or reassure them.
Without this communication, people will feel left in the dark, or even betrayed. Ultimately these negative feelings can cause complaints, bad reviews, and loss of custom. So, be sure to avoid this mistake and keep a strong form of communication open between you and your customers.
#6 Failing to deliver what is promised to your customers
When people buy something, whether it is a product or service they will have an expectation in their mind along with a general understanding of what they have been promised by the company or business. The customer’s expectation cannot always be reached or satisfied as each person will have individual expectations and tolerances. However, a mistake that is avoidable is delivering on what you promise to your customers. Sometimes promises can be hard to keep, and to a certain extent everyone knows this, so as long as you attempt to rectify the broken promise, most of the time everything will work out just fine. The problem arises when you actively break promises to your customers in order to corner cut, save money or boost statistics by increasing quantity but lowering quality.
#7 Being too pushy
A fast way to make anyone feel uncomfortable, especially in a situation that involves money or contracts is by being pushy. Old sales tactics often used to involve trying to strong-arm people into making decisions that they were not fully happy with, and sometimes didn’t even understand. Over time people have become more aware of these tactics and will often cut ties or completely shut you out if they notice even a hint of pushiness.
So, make sure that you and your staff do not come across in this way, as there are plenty of alternative measures when it comes to this. Customers are much more likely to spend, return and even recommend you if you give as much clear information as possible and allow them time to fully understand the scope of what you are saying, instead of needlessly pushing them toward a decision. Another thing to be aware of is the way that you explain things, as it could be you are genuinely trying to show a customer the benefit of doing or not doing something, but the way you are explaining it could seem pushy. This will of course lead to the actions previously explained.
As has been highlighted several times, no matter if you are a small business learning how to grow, or a large business trying to take the next steps in your growth journey, you need to be aware and focus on the customer service that you provide at all times, and make sure that you avoid these common mistakes.