One of the most frequent complaints a customer has about a bad business experience is poor customer service. It’s a problem that can effectively poison the well. It drives disgruntled customers to competitors. It can result in scathing reviews on social media. It creates a distaste for your business that can spread via word of mouth. In short, it can deny you loyal customers, and cut into your profits.
For those looking to avoid the repercussions of poor customer service, here are five tips that should keep you on the right track.
Always Be Available
Few things are as frustrating as walking around a store, trying to find an employee to ask for help. As customers, we’ve all had to deal with the problem of employees being unavailable when we need them, whether that’s waiting in the queue on the phone for three hours, or waiting for someone to open a checkstand. In business, we need to make sure we’re not giving that same irritating experience to our customers.
While no employee can be everywhere at once, and there’s always more customers than team members, your customers can’t be expected to wait forever. If you want them to choose your business in the future, you need to make them feel like they’re the only customer around.
Part of being available is paying attention to see who might need help. For those that work with customers face to face, be on the lookout for those who might have questions, are struggling to find something, or need help grabbing their product (like those in locked cabinets). Not every customer has social confidence to approach a stranger and ask for help, even if they’re an employee, so be alert enough to be able to make the first move.
For those who deal with customers indirectly (over phone, chat, or email), give them your full focus. You’re already missing key information that would normally be conveyed via body language and facial expressions, so what avenues of communication you still have are all the more important.
Listen to Customers
Similar to paying attention, you need to be keyed into what your customers are saying. There are two levels to this. First, when dealing with a customer directly, try to fully understand their question or concern, and answer it appropriately. Second, when dealing with indirect feedback, such as surveys, online reviews, and the like, give the feedback due consideration (especially if you find a lot of customers are saying the same thing). This will help you identify problem areas, where you can improve your performance.
Mind Your Manners
It goes without saying, but polite professionalism is a must whenever dealing with customers (or other business associates). Customers, even the cantankerous ones, deserve to be treated with respect and aren’t likely to think highly of your service if they’re not. That doesn’t mean you can’t be relaxed and personable, though. Maintain a pleasant disposition (even if you’re upset under the surface), and try to be helpful and courteous in everything you say.
The Customer Is Not Always Right
While you want to be polite to customers at all times, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to let them walk all over you. Sometimes, you’ll face a customer that’s making unreasonable demands, creating a scene, mistreating you or a coworker, or even committing a crime (like shoplifting). In these cases, it may be necessary to stand your ground on company policies and, if you’re a manager, to support your employees rather than cave to a fickle customer.
You may drive away a problem customer or two, but you’ll earn the loyalty of your team. And occasionally, the best thing you can do with a troublesome patron is to point them toward a competitor.
Providing excellent customer service isn’t easy, but there is help out there if you feel like you’re struggling. The pros at ROI Solutions can help you find answers to any lingering questions you might have. Get in contact, and start your journey to happier customers today.