Businesses spend a lot of time fussing about their customer experience. And that’s good since they rely on their long term customers to keep them in business. But let’s face it, amazing customer service is a rarity. Most companies fall down thanks to annoying habits that their customers despise. Here’s what they get wrong, and how you can get it right.
You Treat Customers As Numbers
All your customers are individual people with their own tastes and interests. So when you them like a number, and not like a person, they get upset. It shouldn’t matter how much a person is spending on your products, or how many customers you have. Each person should be valued just the same.
It’s not hard to see what companies need to do. They have to treat each customer as an individual. Ideally, that means knowing their name and knowing a little bit about them. Taking the time to do this is important. And when you consider how hard it is to land a new customer compared to losing one you already have, you can see the logic.
The best companies have clients who come back to their business time and time again. And they do this by building genuine relationships with customers. A client who feels that they know you is more likely to trust you. And the more that they trust you, the more likely they are to entrust you with their money. Great customer relationship management is more about knowing what hobbies a client enjoys than their zip code.
Businesses can improve customer satisfaction through programs like Lean Six Sigma. It’s about defining great customer service processes, and then finding ways to deliver on them.
Your Business Is Hard To Reach
Thanks to improved communications, customers now get everything they want on demand. They can find out the answer to any question they might have through search engines. They can instantly watch TV shows on catch-up services. They can listen to music whenever they like.
This on-demand world has trained customers to expect instantaneous service. They want to be able to contact your business immediately with their questions and concerns. And businesses must adapt. Nothing is more annoying for customers than not being able to communicate their needs.
That means that companies need to make themselves available through multiple channels. It won’t do just to have a phone service. Customers want to get in touch through Facebook, Twitter, and even Skype. The best companies deal with customer queries as quickly as possible. In other words, they make communication convenient.
You Don’t Sympathize
Things don’t always go to plan in business. Sometimes that product a customer has been waiting for gets held up at the depot. Sometimes they don’t get the level of service that they require and so on. And that’s OK. What’s not OK is when businesses don’t recognize the fact that the customer should have had a better service.
There’s a massive difference between a company that apologizes for a delay in shipping and one that doesn’t. The business that apologizes for the delay is sympathizing with the customer. And this is ultimately an opportunity to make the customer feel even more valued than if there had been no delay at all.
You Forget Your Manners
When people interact with your business, they want to be treated politely. Of course, they do. That’s business 101.
But all too often businesses aren’t 100 percent focused on their customer experience, and standards slip. Not saying please and thank you is a habit that customers hate. So too is being abrupt and indifferent.
Great companies engage their customers immediately and are always courteous. If they’re not, they’ll soon find their customers abandoning them in search of better service.
You Don’t Stick To Your Word
All of us have been in a situation at one time or another when a company hasn’t stuck to their word. They promised to give us a call back later to update us about something, but the call never came.
It’s this sort of thing that really hurts company interactions with customers. Of course, there’s rarely any deliberate intent here. It’s just that companies get distracted with other issues, and they forget to get back to customers.
It’s an annoying company habit and one that ruins trust. From the business’s point of view, it’s just one small oversight. But from the customer’s point of view, it says all they need to know about the company’s relationship with them. Not getting back to customers erodes their trust and can leave them feeling angry.