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.