Providing poor customer service is a good way to sabotage your business. Consumers will put up with a lot, like out-of-stock items and slightly higher prices than your competition, if you make them feel good about their shopping experience. Business growth depends on customers who return. It's easier and less expensive to have loyal customers than to acquire new ones all the time. Examples of poor service include:
1. Rude Employees
Just one rude employee can prevent a customer from ever patronizing your store or website again. As a hiring manager, screen job applicants carefully to ensure they can keep calm even when dealing with rude or aggressive customers.
Another important trait is the ability to separate. Essentially, you need someone who won’t take things personally.
Customers will remember their experience with a company, not a particular person. Very rarely will you hear a customer say someone in particular (by name) treated them badly, they’ll name the company or brand.
Here are a few tips for handling angry customers:
Practice active listening: Allow the customer to vent and then repeat what they said, so the customer knows they were listening.
Next, your employee should apologize for the bad CX and thank the person for bringing it to their attention. There’s no need to be defensive and no need to prove a point.
Finally, employees should suggest a way they can rectify the problem and let the customer know when this will occur. It's important your employees never make excuses, like being short of staff, because this is not the customer's fault.
2. Having People Put on Hold Too Long
People find this very annoying. Being on hold on the telephone for a minute or two seems like a reasonable request, but a minute is a long time. Note the time and then close your eyes. Open them when you think one minute has passed. Most people open them in 15 or 20 seconds, feeling the minute has passed. This is how customers feel.
Having a solid workforce management plan will help you to reduce long wait times. Workforce Management gets the right people in the right place at the right time and fully enables a proactive approach. You’ll move from fire fighting to fire prevention.
3. Not having Knowledgeable Employees
Having knowledgeable employees is as important as having friendly ones. If you're a technology entrepreneur, hire employees who understand the technology and can help customers make the right choice.
This applies to any industry, since many customers are coming in for advice, as well as to make a purchase. Home Depot is a good example of a store with associates who understand home repair and can help customers find the right materials and tools. They stress this in their commercials, which helps bring people into their stores. As someone who used to handle workforce management for The Home Depot’s Expo Design Centers, I can attest to this first hand.
But to take this a step further, customer service people are expected to be subject matter experts. Think of the last time you called or contacted a business. You expected that the person who picked up or handled your request could answer all of your questions right then and there. In order to do that, you have to have a strong training program and on boarding experience that extends beyond how to do the work, but how to work at the company. In many cases, a customer service role is most people’s first job. We’re teaching them to be adults at work.
4. Not Offering One Contact Resolution
When a customer has a question or concern about something they bought, they want an answer. The person at the other end of the email, chat or phone should be able to assist them without having to transfer the customer to another person. Empowering your customer-facing employees to make decisions is offering a good CX.
Business growth and excellent customer service go hand-in-hand. What you spend in hiring the best employees and investing in their training will provide an excellent ROI.
If you need help deploying any of these strategies, set up your intro call today!