Transforming the Customer Experience

Category : bad customer service

Home/Archive by Category "bad customer service"

How Bad Customer Service Slashes Your Sales and What to Do About It

Bad customer service – we’ve all experienced it. The receptionist that seems impatient with us on the phone. The server at the restaurant that is condescending and rude, thus ruining our dining experience. The clerk at the store that seems to think we are invisible and rolls her eyes when we actively try to get her attention.

Poor customer service is rampant these days. It’s one of the most vocalized complaints on Facebook and Twitter. Business leaders and owners know that it is a big issue, yet few take any action to correct it, much less know HOW to correct it. They tell themselves that the offenders “are really very good people.” “They’ve been with us forever.” “They have a lot going on in their personal lives.” “It’s just a phase.”

While most of us dislike having to face negative facts, we just have to. The impact of poor customer service on your business is more than just the occasional upset customer.

Customers leave because of bad service. That’s it. Plain and simple. 70% of your lost customers have stopped doing business with you simply because someone within your company treated them rudely, indifferently, or barely acknowledged them. It has nothing to do with your product or price. Someone just didn’t deliver a smile, use their name, or engage. They just processed them through your system.

It lowers the standard of customer service in your company. No matter how well you train your staff, if you allow poor service to continue by one or more of your employees, it will slowly erode the level of service experienced by your customers.  The coworkers of negative employees will slowly start to slip in their own actions and will likely display lower levels of service than their norm. By allowing poor service to continue, you send the message to your staff that the customer experience and service skills are not important enough for you to address.

You’ll lose your best employees. The employees that are the best representatives for your company and pride themselves on the way they help your customers will soon be so uncomfortable in the environment that they will seek employment in a different department or, worse yet, another company. These are the people your customers know, like, and trust and want to continue working with. Once they leave, you’ll also lose some customers.

What to do about it…

Train Well. Be sure that you have clearly identified customer service level expectations and specifically train your staff how achieve these standards.

Coach to Success. Should you identify someone not meeting these minimum expectations, immediately be proactive and coach them on the necessary skills to guide them.

Free Up Their Future. Sometimes folks just can’t consistently meet the minimum expectations of customer service. After you’ve coached them with unsatisfactory improvement, you must help them find another position, preferably in another company. These are hard conversations to have, but your profits depend on them. You’ll also notice morale will quickly increase in the impacted department.

For help on training your staff to deliver great customer service consistently, my Excellent Service Skills: Start to Finish training package will give you everything you need, step by step. Don’t let the service your staff delivers drive customers away. Let your service reputation be the reason your customers WANT to do business with you.

How to Drive Customers Right Into the Arms of Your Competition

Many studies suggest that a lot of customers are non-confrontational and won’t address a complaint with a manger of a business.  They’ll simply take their business elsewhere without telling you why.  Many businesses aren’t even aware that they are losing you as a customer in the first place.  Following are some sure fire ways to lose customers without even really trying to.

Don’t acknowledge them. The best way to let your customers know that you are glad they came into your store, company, or office is to properly and immediately greet them. If you make eye contact and genuinely introduce yourself and ask if you may assist them in any way, they may get the distinct impression that you actually want to serve them and gain their business. In order to have them leave quickly, be certain to ignore them when they come in, don’t be available for questions, and be as uncommunicative as possible.

Don’t ask them any questions or identify their needs. By asking questions to identify the needs of your customers, they will think that you are trying to ascertain which product or service of yours, if any, will best suit their needs. Just tell them in as few words as possible what products and services you offer. Say your script and, if they ask any questions, repeat the script again.

Be sure to drop the ball. When customers ask questions, tell them that you will get right back to them, but never return the call. When you promise them something on a specific date or time, make sure that you are days late without warning them ahead of time. Make sure that no one else in your office knows what is going on with this customer, so that if they happen to contact your office while you are gone, no one else will be able to help them. If customers think that you are a reliable company, accountable, and deliver what you promise, they will be more likely to return to you. Is that what you really want?

Don’t train your staff. If you tell your staff as little as possible and keep them out of the loop on company news, products, and services, they certainly won’t know how to pass any of this information along to your customers that you are trying to lose. By having staff that is well informed on the company, well versed in products and services, it just gives the impression that you know about what you provide and that you are anxious to make sure the customer gets full benefit from it.

Just deliver the goods and head out. When you deliver the product or service, do so without offering any help or suggestions. Make sure that they just get your “thing” without fully understanding what it does or how to use it. Most of all, make sure that you don’t call them to ask them how they liked it. If you deliver your product or service and fully explain what it does, how to use it for their needs, you may give the impression that you know your stuff. Customers like it when they have someone who knows what they are show them how their new purchase works and how will benefit them or their company.

Never look back. By never following up with your customers, you can continue doing business exactly the way you want to. You don’t have to listen to any suggestions from customers on how to improve any products or services, or how your company may better fit their needs. If you do follow up with your customers, they may think that you value them and customer retention levels rise. Customers will also develop loyalty by thinking you are willing to do certain things to keep them coming back for your product and to your company. If you tailor your products and company to better serve your customers and increase customer satisfaction, they’ll just keep pestering you for more.

To receive some valuable tips and strategies that you can immediately apply to win the hearts of your customers, click here to receive 50 Customer Service Tips Made Simple.

Customer Service Consistency Is More Important Now Than Ever Before….

86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, up from 59% 4 years ago

Source: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report

Consumer confidence increases when consistent results are produced. They will return to you again and again when you have not only built a sold relationship with them, but when they are certain that they can count on consistent results time after time.

Customer satisfaction increases based on consistency and relationships.
 Relationships, whether professional or personal, are built on the solid foundation of trust. This trust extends into a level of service that is depended upon.

Fluctuations in service will result in disheartened referrals.
 Should your consistency fluctuate, the referral will sound like “Try XYZ Company. Sometimes they do a pretty good job.” The referral that you want is “I recommend that you call ABC Company. They consistently deliver a quality product and they will treat you well. I know you’ll be happy with them.”

They want to know that what they see and feel one time is what they can count on in future interactions.Regardless if you are going into a chain coffee house, hiring a caterer, working with a realtor, or working with a large office furniture manufacturer, customers want consistent quality products and services. Customers will be much more likely to refer their associates to you when you have consistently shown a track record for results.

Relationships factor greatly into the consistency equation. The customer is looking to see if they are being treated well each and every time. They are looking to see if they are treated the same way by everyone in the organization. Customers will figure out quickly who will and won’t help them in a company. Your customer service reputation is only as strong as your weakest link. All associates in your company need to be delivering excellent customer service, in each and every interaction.

Review your core values regularly to determine that they are being considered in every interaction with your customers.
 The customer will recognize the consistency of exceeding their expectations while holding true to the core values your company was built upon.

Please comment below with your thoughts!

Customers Want Compassion in a Tense Situation

Own Up and Step Up When You Blow It

A few weeks ago, you may have seen CNN or been made aware of an incident involving a salon owner allegedly berating a young mother whose child was crying during his haircut.  Once the mother was brought to tears, she was heard by other patrons saying “I’m sorry.  He’s autistic.”  The mother left the salon in tears and the stylist followed her outside to continue the haircut while the child sat in his mothers arms.  haircut
This story originated with a post by one of the onlookers on Facebook, was carried to the local news stations, then on to CNN.
It was a sad situation all around.  According to news reports, the lawyers responded that the owner was concerned for the child’s safety.  They stated that she meant no harm.  They then proceeded to state that perhaps the salon would consider donating some profits for autism awareness.
The public apology  that the owner offered was ridiculous.  She basically said that she never meant her actions to result in consequences.  Subsequent to this event, half of the staff has quit, the bad press surrounding this situation continues to grow, and social media has barely started to subside.
 
Why am I writing/ranting about this?  Because this is an extreme example of what we see each and every day in business.  The owner of the salon blew it.  She clearly was annoyed by the commotion of the crying and fuss by the little boy and lost her cool. 
 
My thoughts…
 
1) At the time, she should have offered to help in any way. She should have tried to see if there were any other areas in the salon to continue the cut, ask the mom if she knew of anything that may help her son, ask if she wanted to continue with the cut despite his upset, or if they wanted to come back later.  Clearly, there was a scene, but using some compassion and empathy would have helped immensely.  Sometimes, there just are no other options and you just have to push through it and be as helpful as possible.
 
2)  Once she blew it, she should have owned up to it.
Upon reading the public apology, I’m amazed that the owner actually permitted it to be printed.  It was so robotic and “legalized” that it took away any apologetic intent.  
She could have said something along the lines of…
 
“I’m so sorry about the way I handled this situation.  It seemed to be a bigger disturbance than it actually was and I completely mishandled it.  Berating or confronting someone in an already emotionally charged situation is never helpful and I just didn’t think at the time.  I was off my game and for whatever reason wanted to squelch the situation rather help.
 
For those who take particular offense because of the child’s autism, I’m truly sorry.  That really had nothing to do with my poor judgement and handling. 
 
Although it may be far too late, I’d like to reach out to the family and offer free salon services for one year.  I’d like to personally apologize for my actions and for the embarrassment and distress that my outburst caused the mother.  That is not who I am, nor ever want to be.”
 
I’ve waited to write this post in hopes that I’d eventually be made aware of something genuine coming from the owner.  But, as of this morning, no amount of searching has turned up anything after the “apology” that was issued.
 
Please understand that people blow it.  We have outbursts. We make mistakes.  We say things or act in a way that we wish we could take back when the dust has settled.  When that happens, take ownership of it.  That genuine humanness is all people are looking for today.  Concern for others is the best way to build and repair relationships, both personally and professionally.
 
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue or any others that you are currently involved in.  Please comment below and share.
 
Helping you focus on your customers,
 
Kristina

Nail Salon Could Use a Little Polish in Customer Service Training and Skills

I walked into a local nail salon today and realized that they didn’t know a thing about giving good customer service or providing a great customer service experience.

My intention was to purchase a gift certificate for a client of mine for her birthday.  When I walked in, there were four nail techs working on customers.  The one closest to me didn’t look up, make eye contact.  She just raised her voice and said “Hello,  pick a color and have a seat.”

So, I turned around and walked out.

It’s not a huge deal and isn’t going to alter my world, but I’m not going to pay $50 to someone who doesn’t have the courtesy to make eye contact, greet me with a friendly greeting, and ask me how they may help me.  She made an incorrect assumption about what I wanted and barked out orders to me.  So, I’ll find something else for my client.

Small businesses have the power to drive the economy and to thrive right now.  But it’s amazing to me how many just fail to understand that it takes a simple focus on the customer.  Treating people well. Engaging with customers. Smiling. Getting to know what our needs/problems/issues/goals are. Asking for feedback.  These are all the simple things that I cover in my 5 Steps to More Loyal Customers emanual.  Large companies can do the same thing, yet customers tend to gravitate toward the smaller businesses because there is more of a personal touch, a connection, that sometimes is lost in the bigger companies and organizations.

Connecting with customers is much simpler than most people and businesses realize.  It just takes a conviction from the leaders and owners that there needs to be a mindset shift on how they serve the customers.  They need to instill this to everyone works with customers, either face to face or behind the scenes.  So, basically, everyone in the company.  Because if you aren’t working face to face with a customer, you are working to support someone who does.

Improving Customer Service – What to Do When You’re Running Out of Ideas for Better Service (3 Big Tips)

How many small businesses still remember or still operate on the phrase – If you build it, they will come?

This phrase is a sure fire customer service improvement  downfall and profit killer.

Those days are long gone.  Studies show that customer engagement is key and that customers are much more aware and conscious of how businesses treat them.

So here are three ways that businesses fall short on customer expectations and what you can do about it.

1) The company was unavailable – literally.

58% of consumers in a Right Now study from 2011 stated that they were less than satisfied because the company did not answer the phone or respond to email.

What should you do?  PICK UP THE PHONE AND ANSWER YOUR EMAIL

This is so simple and requires minimal explanation.  Be sure that someone is manning your phones and email AT ALL TIMES.  If you really want to stand out from the crowd, then set a goal for your business to answer the phone within three rings and respond to all emails within two hours.  Now, you may not have the answer within 2 hours, but by responding that you are glad they contacted you and that you are working to get an answer or solution, you’ve put their mind at ease that they haven’t “fallen through the cracks.”

2)  The company showed no sense of urgency

56% of customers in that same study said that they found that companies are slow to resolve issues.

 What should you do?  Step on it!

When a customer contacts you with a question, concern, or problem – get moving right away to fix it.  In reality, customers know that there will occasionally be issues with a product or service, but when you don’t make it a priority to fix it for them, you’ve lost your edge in their eyes.  This study suggested that more than half of the time, customers feel like the business just doesn’t care enough about them to take action right away or within the customer’s perception of a reasonable amount of time.  Would you, putting yourself in the shoes of a customer, continue to do business with a company that less than half the time acted quickly to resolve issues?  I would hope not.  Go to their competition and explain why you left business number one.  If the competition is smart, they’ll make sure that doesn’t happen to you again.

3) The staff didn’t have a clue

Imagine the frustration level of the 57% of customers that stated they felt like they knew more about the company and it’s products than the customer service agent that was working with them.

 What should you do?  Do your homework!

Train your teams on everything about your company and the products and service it has to offer.  Give them the history of the company – who founded it, why, when, and where. How has it grown and what has changed over time.  As for your services or products, dive deeper than just the facts stated in the brochure or website.  Anyone can find that.  Your customers are contacting you because they’ve shown an interest already in your product, so give them more information than just a high level overview.  Train your teams on what is the best use of the product and what it wouldn’t be suited for.  Who is the best person to benefit from the service and who wouldn’t be the target market?  Is this a standard item or can modifications be made if needed?  Focus on the benefits of the item or service, not just the features that are listed elsewhere.

I’ve got even a few more tips for you here to learn what you need to know to stay ahead of your competition through service.

Did Bad Customer Service Come Through at the Grammys?

Bad customer service is EVERYWHERE!!!  Even at the Grammys! 

Okay, I’ve just got to get it off my chest….  Something has really been bugging me about last night Grammy Awards.

The music was awesome, the dresses and suits were (for the most part) enviable, and it seemed like a party to really celebrate the fantastic songs from the past year.

Now, keep in mind that this is a HUGE event, promoted for months ahead of time, a HUGE expense went into the venue and preparations to celebrate these artists and their accomplishments.

What am I bothered about?  I’m really bothered by the unprofessionalism and lack of courtesy and respect that many of the award winners displayed during their acceptance speeches.  Saying things like “I gotta go pee” and “Yeah, let’s go get drunk now” among others I think devalues the entire event, AND those of us that listen to and pay for the songs that put those artists on the stage.

I’m not saying that they need to be prim and proper, but they certainly need to display some decorum in the public eye and to value the honors they’ve received.

I figure since the Grammy foundation and the public are the customers of these artists, I felt so offended by the lack of common courtesy and respect displayed by some so prominent.

Am I making too much of this?   I’d love to hear your thoughts below…

 

 

 

 

"/*" "/*"