Why So Many Businesses Suck at Customer Service
Why do so many companies suck at customer service?
There’s so much competition for revenue and profits that companies are concentrating on growing and getting customers. Believe me, I get it. But it’s to a fault. There’s almost no focus on keeping customers once they’re acquired.
Seems to me it’s a non-priority for a lot of places, which is a huge business mistake. Whether it’s response time to customer inquiries, hold time on the phone or anything else that applies to the caliber of service customers receive, companies need to get serious about putting their customers first and the service they receive.
The last thing you want is your customers thinking you don’t care about them. So what can you do to make sure your business doesn’t fall short? Follow these four steps:
Hire People Who Care and Treat Them Right
People tend to view the customer service industry as just handling complaints. This stigma needs to go. Their voices represent the voice of the company so show appreciation for them and their work. Exalt them and support them in their roles.
Also, why do I always hear that customer service is all about “dealing” with customers? Customer service team members who care about their work will want to get to know customers so they can perform their jobs well. Give them time and space to do this. After all, isn’t this what customer service teams are there for: getting to know customers and anticipating their needs? Building a passionate team of customer service professionals who actually care and will take the time to understand customer needs is essential to having happy customers.
Train the Entire Company, Not Just the Customer Service Reps
Customer service training isn’t just for those in the customer service department, but the Director of Marketing, Engineering, and the VP of Sales should also be getting lessons in how to understand customers and making sure they feel appreciated. No matter what department they’re in and no matter what title they have, all team members need to see customer service as a top priority. This translates into a better customer experience across the board since all aspects of a business mesh together. New product features, enhancements to your service, even advertising deals all relate back to customer experience. Therefore, company-wide customer service training will be a valuable exercise for the entire team. At our company, every member of the team — regardless of their hired role — goes through at least two weeks of intensive customer service training when they first start.
Ask For — and Actually Consider — Customer Feedback
If you’ve ever taken a close look at the bottom of your receipts, you may find that many of them have links to customer surveys printed on them. Some offer a chance to win cash or a 15 percent discount on your next purchase as an enticement to actually go home and take the survey. These businesses have the right idea. Why? Because customer feedback is that important. It shouldn’t fall into the background. It should be regularly solicited from customers to find out what they like and don’t like.
I’m not suggesting companies have to tweak aspects of the business based on each and every suggestion or complaint they receive. Rather, they should identify consistent themes and develop new products and features based off those themes. Feedback is an opportunity to learn and grow. You can’t have a successful business without constantly upgrading and innovating.
View customer feedback as an advantage. These are the people who are passionate enough about your product to actually give you their input. Tip: these tips also apply for non-material businesses, like online blogs. Whether it be your product, service or website content, use customer feedback to make it what your audience wants it to be.
Create Remarkable Experiences
You know your business like the back of your hand. You also probably know everything there is to know about your industry. But companies need to remember that customers aren’t going to be as savvy. They may only have 15 minutes to browse your website. That being said, companies need to go above and beyond by providing information that they may not have thought to ask for. Keep things simple for customers and be a wealth of knowledge for them. The more they are able to connect the dots, the more interested they’ll be in what you have to offer.
The bottom line is that customer service is everything. There is no way around it. There are so many ways to engage and develop relationships with customers. Finding out what they’re going through so you can provide better solutions and better customer service experiences is the most critical thing you can do for your business.
Tom Kulzer is the founder and CEO at AWeber, an email marketing service provider located in Chalfont, Pa. Over the company’s 17-year history, Tom has nurtured it from a small start-up to an organization with 100 team members serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide.
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