Customers: you can’t live without them. No matter what product or service you are offering, you won’t make any sales if your customers desert your business like the proverbial sinking ship it will become if you don’t get your customer service right. From Yelp to Tripadvisor, your customers will make their feelings known if you do them a disservice, and they will air their views to all their family and friends on social media as well. So, have a look at the following customer service mistakes and if any of them relate to your business, do all you can to make amends.
Issues with accessibility
We are talking about disability awareness here, so you need to ensure your business is accessible for all, taking into account physical impairments, such as hearing and sight loss, or those disabilities that require a wheelchair. Physical businesses should implement ramps, extra railings, and extra toilets. For those businesses that operate online, improved accessibility should also be on the agenda. As you can see here, there are web design companies that can help improve your website for those with visual and hearing impairments. Take advantage of what they can offer and improve your site’s functionality. By modifying your business, not only are you increasing your chances of a sale, but you are also making the lives of your customers easier.
We all have a bad day occasionally, but that’s no excuse for bad manners. So while your customers may prove difficult, your employee-customer interactions still needs to be professional and courteous. Whether it’s face to face contact or a conversation online or on the phone, your employees need to be at the top of their game. This means treating customers fairly and politely; ensuring customers are not ignored when they clearly need help; and leaving customers alone when they actually don’t want any help at all. A strict policy needs to be laid out on employee behaviour, and training in customer support is a must.
Long wait times
Customers don’t like to be left waiting. Large queues in a store are guaranteed to put them off shopping. Being put on hold on the phone is going to cause frustration, especially if you bombard their ears with annoying jingles and automated messages. Taking too long to reply to an email is going to cause annoyance. So, don’t keep your customers waiting. In today’s technological age, this should no longer be an issue anyway. You can implement live chat on your website to speed up communication, without the reliance of the telephone. Store owners can implement self-service checkout tills. There are options available for businesses of any kind, so while there are those customers who don’t mind waiting, there are others who want to get on with their lives instead of suffering the long wait times your business may impose.
Pushy sales tactics
You want your customers to buy from you, so it is important to push a little. However, go overboard with your sales tactics and you may aggravate and turn away those customers who aren’t willing to be coerced into buying. This is commonplace in stores and sales rooms, where over-enthusiastic employees will do all they can to garner a sale to meet their targets. However, online businesses are now overdoing their efforts to reach a sale. The implementation of too many call-to-action buttons can prove annoying, and constant reminders from the ‘Can we help you?’ live chat feature on a website can also get on the customer’s nerves. So, play down your efforts a little, and avoid bad sales tactics so your customers don’t become overwhelmed and annoyed.
Making no apology
You aren’t perfect, and there will be times when mistakes are made. Perhaps you have sent a customer a faulty item, or maybe you have forgotten to reply to a customer request. Whenever you cause a grievance, apologise for your mistake. And we don’t just mean giving them a refund, replacing a faulty item, or throwing a freebie at them to make up for your error. We mean actually apologise with words, offering heartfelt regret at your blunder, whether you do that face to face, on the phone, or through an email. Refunds and replacements etc. are often necessary, but your customers will think better of you when you let them know you are genuinely sorry.
Don’t assume you know everything there is to know about your customers. Making the wrong assumptions can affect sales, so find out who your customers are, and what it is they want from a business such as yours. It’s arrogant to think you know best, no matter how many business qualifications you have under your belt. So survey your customers, find out what they are really thinking, and tailor your business and customer service to match their requirements. Alternatively, ignore their needs, and watch your sales fall when they take their custom to your business rivals who have done their research beforehand.
The overuse of jargon
Your customers aren’t stupid, but there will be words and phrases within your business that hold no meaning to them. Advertising a product with too many long words and overly complicated descriptions is going to cause confusion. Talking to your customer about your ‘blue sky thinking’ or your ‘thought shower’ isn’t helpful to them if they have no idea what you are going on about. So make it simple. WIthout patronising your customers, use everyday words and phrases that are easily understandable, despite using low hanging fruit as you jockey for position. Did you see what we did there? Frustrating isn’t it, and like your customers, you are now going to have to use Google to find out what we were going on about.
Treat your customers as you would want to be treated, and use your experiences of poor (and good) customer service as a basis for what your business offers. You will gain a better reputation as word of mouth spreads, and you should see your sales figures rise as well.