Learn from these customer service mistakes and keep the heart of your business beating.
Caring for your customers and clients should be easy – after all, these are the people who pay your bills. But many businesses struggle with the basics of customer care, appearing to act as if their businesses would run brilliantly as long as there were no customers to stuff things up for them.
But customers are the lifeblood of your business, and with a little bit of care they will continue to keep the heart of your business beating.
So what are the 5 mistakes businesses make when caring for customers?
1. One hit wonders
These businesses go all out in attracting new customers. They spend a fortune on their marketing, with flashy websites and expensive ad campaigns. They woo customers through the door and once they have the first sale, then they roll up their tent and move on to the next prospect.
When serving customers you need to always look at it as if you are building a lifetime relationship. Look at how you can help them with their second, third and fourth sale. Look at ways of making each person feel valued and wanted. Get to know their names, extend the hand of friendship and find out what makes them tick.
After all, it is much cheaper and easier to sell to someone who already knows you and likes what you offer, than trying to attract someone new.
2. Too much information
Then you have the businesses that understand the importance of keeping in touch with their customers, except they are like over-eager suitors.These businesses send you three emails the first day, at least one or two the subsequent days and then keep up a daily stream of emails, texts and other forms of contact.
Their clients may feel flattered initially, but after a while, they burn out from all of the focus and attention.Pull back a bit on the efforts to stay in touch. Allow customers to come to you through reading your blog or articles, with only a few direct contacts thrown in, rather than constantly pushing your message onto them.
3. The silent treatment
Another mistake is the silent treatment. This is where a client may have an issue or a complaint and they contact the business with their concerns, only to be met with the sound of crickets chirruping (or worse, a standardized “thank you for your feedback – your opinions are important to us” letter).
If your customers take the time to contact you, whether it is via a letter, email, fax, phone or social media, and if you want to show you care, then you need to personally respond to their comment. In these cases, silence is NOT golden.
4. Broken promises
If you promise to do something, or deliver something by a certain time or date, then caring for your customers means actually delivering on your promises.Many businesses come unstuck with this one by over-committing themselves in terms of appointment times, or over-promising their skills or capabilities. Caring means being honest – and that means being honest about what you can or can’t do.
5. You are all the same
The last common mistake of customer care is treating all clients and customers as if they are all the same. So, for example, not taking into account people with disabilities, designing your layout for parents with prams or communicating with people of a non-English speaking background. Simple things like the images used in your marketing can include or exclude people from using your services.
How you physically set up your business, or how you design your website, makes the difference between the customers you get and the sales you lose. People are not all the same. They have different needs, wants, hopes and aspirations. Part of caring for your customers means understanding and embracing these differences, and arranging ways to make it inclusive of all people.
Take some time to look at your business with fresh eyes. Where are you treating clients as disposable objects or bombarding them with information? Where are you giving them the silent treatment or breaking your word to them?
Finally, where are you treating your customers as if they are all the same? If you take the time to review and adjust your customer care strategy, you will end up with more loyal customers, happier staff and better profits – not bad for simply caring more about your customers!.
About the Author
Ingrid Cliff is the author of “Copywriting Secrets: Seven Secrets of Compelling Copy and Powerful Words”. She is Chief Word Wizard at Heart Harmony Communications – a Brisbane small business copywriting agency specialising in web copywriting for trades, IT and digital businesses, vets, medical and allied health.