With all the training available, books on sale and information online, one would think that most companies would have gotten the hang of good customer service by now. Sadly, many have not. Information being available doesn’t necessarily mean it is being used. So here are my top five let-downs that I experience on the road far too often:
- ‘The One size fits all’ approach
Customers are all different and this should be considered when servicing them. Companies respond to this concept by saying things like: ‘But all of our customers are important to us so we don’t favour one over another in how we treat them!” That’s GREAT but not what I am saying. Some customers might know a lot about your product or service, some might not. Some might be more detail oriented while others might want you to get to the point quickly. To deliver true value in customer service, companies should make a better effort to understand more about the customer before launching into a one size fits all approach.
- Not listening (effectively)
I experience this one quite often! Many a well-intentioned service consultant or sales person will be so keen to be ‘helpful’. They tell you about the great solutions they have for you. However, they neglect to really listen, understand and absorb what it is that you actually want. Using ‘active listening’ skills, like summarizing what the client wants, is a first step that’s easy to implement.
- Not being sincere
Customers know when you’re being ‘nice’ because it is part of your job! Sadly, there are too many companies who don’t really care about their customers. They’re simply employing people to paste a smile on their face – almost as part of the job description. These companies often have high staff turnover, too. Sincerity and honesty go a long way to empathise with customers, even if it’s not the news they may have hoped for (like not getting a free upgrade).
- Not dealing with complaints effectively
A big part of customer service is about dealing with complaints. Yet companies often don’t train their teams on how to effectively do so. This leads either to staff avoiding the complaint altogether, blaming someone else in the chain, or passing it up the hierarchy. In this way, they never become empowered to deal with complaints. Customers understand that mistakes happen. But they want someone to listen to their story, show empathy and find a solution as quickly as possible.
- Too much red tape
Some companies have such strict internal measures and procedures in place that they lose sight of the fact that if these measures are not enhancing their customer experience, they need to give them a long re-think. We see far too many examples of companies that care far more about their red tape than they care about their customers. Sure, there do need to be rules in place and the customer isn’t always right, but I believe companies need to effectively assess how their internal red tape affects the customer experience and make some changes where necessary.
Why care? Because customers love a good experience. They become loyal to a brand and with every positive encounter this is reinforced. Even if something goes wrong, they trust that everything will be put right again. And if they’re not disappointed, they’ll remain lifelong customers.
To get some more information about the services Nina & Pinta offers to help clients achieve Customer Service Excellence have a look at our training page.