Your product is top-notch. We know it, you know it, everyone knows it. Gaining a loyal customer base, however, is about more than just a great product.
It’s time to face the truth that your business is only as good as your customers think it is. If until now you didn’t take a close look at how you treat your customers, the numbers speak for themselves. Studies show that 78% of consumers bail on businesses because of a single incident of poor customer service. Even if consumers decide to give you another shot, it takes an average of 12 positive experiences to make up for a good one. What is more, news of poor customer service reaches at least twice more people than praise. There’s a reason why the value of an education in the hospitality industry is increasing exponentially.
To help you stand out from the crowds, we have put together four of the most common customer service mistakes and the easy ways to avoid them.
Not another…overly-rehearsed sales pitch.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. The 30-second speech you’ve said so many times, the words have lost their meaning. There’s nothing passionate or exciting about it, and maybe you’re at the point where even you don’t believe what you’re saying anymore. Whether it’s because you’re dumping too many facts on your customer, or you’re not taking the time to ask what they are truly interested in knowing more about, the overly-rehearsed sales pitch is a one-way ticket to losing clients.
Instead, try to… get personal. 70% of consumers make purchases based on how they feel they were treated. Paying attention to their individual needs will do wonders to how much attention they are willing to pay in return. Next time you feel tempted to approach a customer with the same speech you’ve given 50 times in the past hour, try starting by asking them what interests them instead.
Pro tip: Some customers enjoy talking about the personal circumstances behind why they’re looking for a product (birthdays, anniversaries, just because etc.), others will find you inquiring about their private lives borderline offensive. Being able to spot personality types based on how they answer your first couple of questions will give you an unbeatable advantage.
Not another…employee who won’t tell you the pants you tried on are two numbers too small.
There is nothing that will make your clients resent you more than a blatant lie. No, really, the number one trait that consumers consistently list as most important when choosing between businesses is how honest they found the employees to be. Of course, your job is to ensure the success of your business. However, you knew from the start your product does not cater to everyone, and lying about how well a product fits the needs of every single consumer coming your way will only hurt you in the long run. Rather than pleasing a potentially gullible client, you will vilify your own integrity.
Instead, try to…make honesty your go-to policy. Consumers want to trust that you care about more than just what’s in it for your business; they want you to be in it for them as much as for yourself.
Pro tip: If you don’t think your product fits a particular customer, tell them what kind of person the product is actually for. They will be grateful you helped them save money and will be more inclined to recommend you to their friends who fit the description.
Not another…phone call that will keep you on hold for 30 minutes before getting to a customer service operator.
In the era of technology, having a variety of options to contact your business is mandatory. Consumers want efficient ways of getting in touch, and making them wait will decrease satisfaction in a heartbeat (2012 Global Customer Service Barometer). Especially when stressing out about a problem with the product, not being able to quickly solve it can be the very last drop that makes you lose your cool.
Instead, try to… offer the customer a wider range of ways to contact you. Multiple telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and various social media pages are all viable options. It is especially reassuring to see a business offering ways to contact them on a variety of platforms, catering to different types of customers.
Pro tip: Having a live chat option on your website, or responding to Facebook messages will give clients the satisfaction that they can resolve any queries they may have in real-time. The biggest advantage is that they won’t have to interrupt their workday to use this option. With only 4% of customers reporting bad experiences before bailing on the business, live chat can go the extra mile in customer service and retention.
Not another…rude encounter that will make me never want to use your product again.
This one is kind of a given but manners make all the difference. We’ve all experienced the sour taste of having to deal with an employee being rude for no apparent reason. Whether they were justified or not, chances are you won’t be eager to become the loyal customer of a business that made you feel disrespected.
Instead, try… treating the customer the way you expect them to treat you. Being polite, even by the simple use of the magic phrases “please” and “thank you”, will highlight the values that your business is built on. In the end, you gain a happy customer by simply being a good person.
Pro tip: There may be times when you will feel justified to respond to rude customers in the same manner. However, in the long run, this will only hurt you. The customer will bail on your business angered by your behavior and will spread the news to their circle of friends, regardless if they were the ones who instigated the conflict in the first place.
Gaining a loyal following is rarely achieved simply because of a great product. Instead, knowing how to interact with the customers you desire makes the difference between a great offering and a great business. Today, start this process by reflecting on the four common customer service mistakes and whether your business may unknowingly be guilty of any of them.