Russ Mate reveals some of the biggest customer service mistakes to be avoided at all cost.
1) Being placed on hold endlessly. Don’t you just love it when you call a company and they place you on hold, leaving you to listen to their latest on-hold, recorded sales pitch, over and over again. Would you think it normal business practice for a retail store clerk to ask you to “wait a minute” while they disappeared into the back of the store for ten, fifteen, thirty minutes or longer? People do things over the phone that they would never do in person. It’s bad business either way to leave a customer hanging without at least coming back to let the customer know how much longer they’ll be holding.
2) Getting rude with a customer. As the saying goes, even if the customer’s wrong, the customer’s always right. There’s never any reason to get rude with a customer. If a customer gets rude with you, let them blow off steam and remember that their behavior is not an attack directed against you personally. Always keep in mind that as long as you remain calm and in control, you can address the reason behind the customer’s anger.
3) Ignoring a problem. Ignoring a customer’s problem won’t make it go away. The same can be said of fixes that work for the company but not for the customer. Some customers have problems with a service or product that don’t fit comfortably into any category. Those are the problems that need special attention, not standard responses. Too many companies ignore this and try to use the “one size fits all” method of complaint resolution. Companies have to realize that their policy must fit the customer’s needs, not the other way around.
4) Making the customer jump through hoops for a refund or exchange. I recently had to return a product to a national bookstore chain. Before the clerk refunded me, she asked me for all sorts of personal information. I refused to give this information. I explained that I hadn’t given this information out when I made the original purchase, and didn’t see the purpose in giving it out to get my money refunded. After 15 minutes and a visit from the store manager, they finally relented and gave me my refund. The time spent waiting in line, plus the time spent to get my refund, added up to 20 minutes.
This company wasted 20 minutes of a customer’s time, all in the effort to get information. If you have to disregard your customer’s time in order to gather a marketing profile, you’re defeating your long-term marketing goal, which is to retain a satisfied customer base that makes repeat purchases.
That’s all for now. What customer service mistakes have you had to endure recently?
About the Author
Russ Mate is President of MateMedia, Inc.