If the customers determine the success of a business, then how you treat your customers dictates the fortunes of your firm. Sadly, certain major corporations and brands don’t recognize this: Their inadequate customer service is a quiet but inevitable road to failure.
Are you aware of the true value of customer service, and have you avoided some of the major mistakes companies all too often make?
The numbers talk
If you’re not making customer service one of your company’s top priorities, the following statistics should help you with reevaluate your stance.
According to Forrester, 45 percent of all U.S. consumers abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns aren’t addressed in an efficient manner. That means you could be losing half your sales as a result of poor customer service communication.
Attracting a new customer costs six to seven times more than retaining an existing one.
Customers are twice as likely to share a bad customer service experience as they are a positive one.
The top six customer service errors
Here are some of the top customer-service mistakes you can’t afford to make if you’re hoping for long-term success and growth:
Treating every situation the same. Customer service can’t operate on a script. While it’s valuable to have recommended courses of action for your employees to follow when they interact with customers, the failure to adapt is dangerous. You must be willing to approach each customer issue as a unique problem. This means finding a solution that doesn’t treat the process as the outcome.
Failing to admit mistakes. Everyone has heard the notion that the customer is always right, but very few apply it to how they do business. The best customer service departments remain humble and respectful of the customers’ issues, even the situation doesn’t appear to warrant such a response. Refusing to say you’re sorry or failing to fix a small problem can lead to much bigger issues in the future.
Providing vague or unclear answers. Customers can tell when you’re giving them the runaround … and they don’t appreciate it. Failure to provide straightforward answers and definitive responses is frustrating and wrong. According to Dan Charbonneau of CBT Nuggets, “We have found our ability to break down problems and clearly explain them to customers to be our biggest advantage on the customer service side of our business.” Sometimes clarity is all that customers are looking for.
Providing no motivation. Do you provide your customer service representatives with any motivation to serve customers better? Customer service can be one of the most challenging and frustrating business activities, and a failure to encourage your employees is a mistake. How you choose to motivate your employees will be determined by a number of internal factors, but it’s essential to find a few specific ways to encourage and empower your team members.
Automating everything. Thanks to incredibly effective automation tools, software, and hardware, it takes significantly less manpower to run a customer service department efficiently. It’s impossible to eliminate human interaction from the customer service process, though, and you shouldn’t seek to do so. Just because a business aspect can be automated doesn’t mean it should be.
Not defending the brand. While failing to admit mistakes is a problem, failing to defend the brand is, too. Your customer-service representatives should be taught how to defend your brand when they hear false accusations. In their defense, however, they must remain patient and treat the customer with dignity and respect. You can’t allow aggressive customers to attack your brand without merit, but you also can’t afford to be rude when addressing such attacks.
Does your company understand the importance of customer service and know how to avoid dangerous errors like these?
CustomerThink’s research finds just 19% of CX initiatives can show tangible benefits. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the ROI issue is now front and center with CX leaders. Learn the best ways to prove the business value of CX, including ROI advice in customer feedback, customer service, and CX infrastructure.
Combining his own professional experiences working as a CEO with his extensive research and expertise as an international authority on customer relationships, author Bob Thompson reveals the five routine organizational habits of successful customer-centric businesses: Listen, Think, Empower, Create, and Delight.
CustomerThink’s Advisors – global thought leaders in customer experience, marketing, sales, customer service, customer success, and employee engagement – share their advice on how to sustain positive relationships with your customers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis.