Regardless of the product or service in question, modern-day consumers have a massive abundance of options from which to choose. That being the case, patrons are unlikely to reward enterprises that don’t recognize the importance of good customer service with repeat business. Lackluster customer service can prove particularly damaging to small businesses, many of which are kept afloat by loyal repeat customers. To help ensure that your small business is able to stay on top of customer service, make an effort to avoid the following mistakes.
Minimizing Customer Grievances
From your perspective, many customer grievances are liable to seem unimportant, if not outright foolish. As such, you may be tempted to communicate this sentiment to customers in the hope of getting them to see things your way. Needless to say, this is unlikely to work out in your favor. Actively minimizing customer grievances – regardless of how benign those grievances actually are – is far more likely to escalate problems than to calm things down. It’s also liable to create the impression that your business doesn’t value the satisfaction of its patrons.
So, no matter how ludicrous you find particular grievances, make a point of exercising patience and trying to view things from the customer’s perspective. This doesn’t mean that you’ll come to agree with every grievance a customer puts forth, but stepping outside of yourself will make it much easier to empathize with others and maintain a sense of calm.
Failing to Show Gratitude
Although customers can often serve as a source of frustration, it can’t be denied that they’re the most essential element of any business. That being the case, it behooves every enterprise to regularly show patrons just how much they’re appreciated. Among other things, this means consistently thanking customers for their patronage, warmly greeting them and practicing patience when dealing with difficult individuals.
Unsurprisingly, many consumers won’t hesitate to abandon businesses that undervalue them or leave them feeling unappreciated. So, if you or any of your team members regularly fail to express gratitude to patrons, get a handle on this problem posthaste.
Being Unwilling to Admit Mistakes
There’s no question that customers can be difficult to please at times. However, this doesn’t mean that businesses are infallible when it comes to customer service, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t regularly make mistakes. Furthermore, your response to these mistakes can have a profound impact on the way your customers view your business.
If you automatically become defensive when confronted with mistakes or outright refuse to acknowledge them, you’re liable to see a considerable downtick in repeat business. We’ve all known people who go to ridiculous lengths to avoid owning up to their mistakes, and we generally don’t enjoy dealing with these individuals. That being the case, why would anyone give their patronage to a business that exhibits such behavior? So, the next time a customer confronts you with a mistake, take responsibility and make things right. You would expect the same from any business you support, so there’s no reason your customers shouldn’t be shown the same courtesy.
Inability to Provide Timely Responses
Waiting forever for a business to respond to a phone call, text message or email is not an experience that consumers relish. The longer a customer has to wait for a response, the less valued they’re likely to feel – and the less likely they are to reward your business with continued patronage. So, if you’ve gotten into the habit of keeping customers waiting, it’s time to rein things in. Any communique you receive during the workday should receive a response before close of business. Furthermore, you should use SMS autoresponders for after-hours and weekend communications.
Many businesses have embraced the mistaken belief that customer service doesn’t matter in the digital age. After all, if you’re interacting with someone via text or email, there’s no chance of raised voices or unpleasant tones – at least none that can be heard. Not only can rudeness and indifference be projected through non-audible means, customer service is actually more important to consumers than ever before. Given how many options they have at their disposal, most modern consumers aren’t willing to waste time with businesses that undervalue them. So, if your business exhibits any of the mistakes discussed above, start refining your approach to customer service forthwith.