Your customers are the driving force behind your business and it’s your obligation to serve them well if you intend to stay in business for long. Customer service should be at the fore of your business’ planning, as no matter how effective or satisfying your product maybe, it won’t be worth much if your clients aren’t satisfied with the way your company treats them.
Customer service includes any response to contact from your clients and customers. This can include:
- Emails, tickets raised, online chats
- Phone calls
- Store walk-ins
- Any other form of contact using your online CMS (customer management system)
Whatever the form of contact may be, the response you give will affect how well you perform in your clients’ eyes.
5 Mistakes Most Companies Make
If you’re a sensible business owner, you’ve analyzed your customer service processes from start to finish and ensured every step adds value to your customers’ experience. However, there still may be some pitfalls you need to correct or avoid.
1. Response Time
An ideal customer support team will have staff working round the clock to keep an eye on any customer needs. As a small business, you can be excused if you only offer 8 hours of service. Be sure to let your customers know by:
- Clearly displaying your “open” hours on your company website
- Clearly displaying an “offline” status with hours of operation on your support page
- Enabling an automatic email reply if a customer contacts you during your off hours
- Making it clear that you will handle all the requests within a number of working days – and be sure to deliver on that promise
As soon as your support team starts their next shift, make sure they handle all outstanding customer issues.
2. Incompetent Staff
Never allow incompetent or subpar support staff or trainees to interact with your customers. The person who represents you should be a responsible, well-trained professional who knows how things work in your business – top to bottom. Even if they can’t handle the issue, they know who can. If the guys in tech can’t handle the issue in a timely manner, your front person should know how to explain the delays to your customers.
3. Inefficient Technology
With all the amazing technology at your disposal – some of the best software is even free – you have no excuse to be saddled with ancient or buggy technology. A quick search online will get you some of the best CMS software out there that you can easily install and use; it will also be a delight for your customers. Impress them and they may never forget it.
You’ll always run into great clients who’ll make your customer support team laugh and smile. Then there’ll be clients who are not as great. It’s how you respond to the more difficult customers that will truly show what kind of customer support your company has.
Even when customers are rude or abusive, make sure you are always polite. Try your best to keep your temper, don’t take any insults personally and focus on the issue at hand. Try to wade through the negativity and solve the issue. Always take the higher ground.
5. Not Listening
After dealing with customer complaints for a period of time, you begin to see certain patterns. Whether they outline faults in your company’s processes or a pattern of user error, you need to treat each individual complaint as unique. Be patient and let your users explain everything in detail to you, even if you’ve dealt with another hundred similar phone calls. Only then can you begin to resolve the issue.
Always Put Your Customers First
Avoid these mistakes and always put customer support at the forefront of your operations. Keep in mind that even the worst of your customers are there because they have either paid money for your product or service or intend to do so once they are sure they are getting what they want. Be polite and help them part with their money!