Watch Out for Those Customer Service Toll Gates

Make sure you are not putting up your own barriers in the way of great customer service.

Toll gatesI think we’ve all been underwhelmed at times at the customer service that we got from a large company or corporation we were doing business with.

Then, when we had a complaint, an issue, or even a simple question we had to jump through hoops just to find out the answer, or get our problem taken care of.

As angry as that makes us, there are still so many business owners who do exactly the same thing. In essence they put up toll gates to their customer’s satisfaction, and they renege on their promises of customer service.

No, I’m not saying that businesses do this intentionally, but it does happen. Most often I find it happens after a small business has been taken advantage of by an individual customer. Rather than telling that customer no, they agreed to go along with the deal, and then make a new rule so no one else does that to them again.

The rules that they make are restrictive to customers who actually want to do business with them, and don’t want to take it advantage of the situation. You can understand how this happens, and if you own a small business, I bet it’s happened to you more than once.

Still, you must resist making more rules, regulations, and putting more restrictions between you and your customer. After all happy customers refer new clientele, and angry ones dissuade their friends, family, co-workers, and associates from doing business with any company they are upset with.

We all know that famous quote; “if a customer is happy they will tell three people, if they are upset they will tell 20.” What I’m saying to you is you might be destroying your brand name, and killing your referral stream without even knowing it.

If someone is obviously trying to take advantage of you, perhaps it’s time to talk to that individual and make them understand and more aware of the situation, rather than making a new rule. Perhaps you might tell the individual “I will let you do this, this one time, but you can’t do it anymore,” without making a new rule.

If you put up too many caveats, restrictions, rules of service, disclaimers, and fine print after a while you make doing business too complicated. When you do this your customers will migrate towards your competitors.

I want you to think back to the last time this situation happened to you, and consider how you handled it. Then I’d like you to reduce the rules and regulations you put between your company and your customers. I know it will help them – and your business.

About the Author

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank.

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