If your company can’t provide excellent customer service, you’re losing business. Period. The cost of negative customer experiences is far too high to ignore; New Voice Media reports that U.S companies lose more than $62 billion annually due to poor customer service!
Don’t let your business lose profits for this preventable reason. You need to understand bad service in order to provide good service. So, here are 5 questions to ask yourself to avoid the ways most businesses fail their customers.
1) Is your company on the same page?
This mistake often starts at the very top levels of the organization. If you don’t make sure everyone understands your values with strong company culture, there’s room for confusion. If your employees are receiving different training and feedback, or you don’t have concise systems in place to handle issues, you’re in trouble.
Ask yourself these questions: Are your dealings with customers consistently regardless of how they are interacting with you across sales channels? Are you all using the same data sources? Is your information automatically updated in real time? Does the customer have the flexibility to interact with the company electronically or in person and have the same high-quality user experience? More than half of customers feel good about a company when they can solve an issue without making a call, Hubspot reports.
Give your customers options, and make them consistent across the board.
2) Are you transparent with your customers?
Today’s consumers have an abundance of information at their fingertips. Transparency—straight and honest talk—has become the name of the game. Customers have little regard for gimmicks, complicated answers to simple questions and lack of clear and consistent pricing.
As the largest consumer base in the world, “Millennials, and Generation Z have been marketed to their entire lives. As a result, they have a sharp eye for artificiality. If your social media presence comes across as insincere, they will be much less inclined to engage with your company,” we’ve explained. This becomes a problem not just on social media, but in every aspect of business. Your customers will take note of any deception and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
3) Are you ignoring feedback?
Your interaction with customers is a two-way street. Social media lets customers instantly react to your content. There is nothing worse than a customer complaint that sits unanswered on a company’s website. Do you take the time to review your comments on a regular basis? Do you offer a workable solution for legitimately disgruntled customers? Let potential customers see that you’re doing the best you can to address problems. This goes a long way toward creating goodwill among both customers and prospects.
Don’t get defensive when reviewing feedback. You’re getting a peek into the customer experience for free, which is extremely valuable. Listen and learn.
4) Is your technology out of date?
This is an easy trap to fall into as every new technology upgrade can involve significant investment. Some companies try to save money by squeaking out a few more years with their legacy systems. However, if you’re still using your legacy system, “You may be risking your business. These risks can include system downtime, decreased productivity, security issues, and increased costs…updating technology can pose many benefits and business opportunities for any type of organization,” says Axis Business.
Customers can easily become disillusioned if a company’s customer service doesn’t get it right the first time. They expect quick and accurate information that solves the problem the second time around. For e-commerce shoppers, web pages must load quickly and efficiently with little wait times and a fast check-out process. With so much of today’s technology residing on the cloud, it can actually be much less expensive to perform significant upgrades than you might think.
5) Are you putting the customer first?
This is what it all comes back to. Convenience is important, sure, and so are your day to day operations. But if you aren’t putting your customers first, then you're providing negative customer experiences.
Try to think from their point-of-view and always monitor metrics like customer service satisfaction levels, customer telephone “hold” times and percentage of repeat customers. When was the last time you reviewed your policies and procedures from the customer’s standpoint? You should have a protocol in place to regularly check the quality of these interactions.
Take something as simple as answering the phone, for example. Are your customers greeted in a friendly and professional way by a knowledgeable receptionist that understands your business? Is there always a “live” person answering your phone, devoting their full attention to the task, rather than a haphazard fill-in or automated recording? Is there adequate and rapid follow-through on every call, with transfers and messages going to the right person, prioritized by importance?
Experiencing your business from another’s perspective is an invaluable way to learn about what works and what needs to be improved. Don’t let a false sense of security—“the phones are answered, so we’re fine”—lure you into passivity.
An exceptional customer experience is essential for any growing business, from real estate agencies to landscaping services. This doesn’t have to be hard— think about the way you want to be treated when you do business, and then make that happen. The benefits are clear: “7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service,” reports American Express.
Give your customers something to be excited about!
Move Forward with Excellent Customer Experience
Avoid falling into the trap of negative customer experiences by being honest with yourself when evaluating your business. By asking yourself these 5 questions, you can avoid common pitfalls and come out ahead of your competition.