Recently, I wrote a post offering tips for creating an effective customer retention plan. One of the most obvious things you can do to keep customers loyal to your brand is to provide them with excellent customer service. The first step to accomplishing that is to avoid these common customer service mistakes.
- Ignoring your customer after the sale—Way too many companies treat their customers like royalty leading up to the sale, then ditch them as soon as they hand over their money. Not only is this rude, but it’s just flat out stupid from a customer retention standpoint. After making the sale, you need to follow up with your customers to make sure they’re 100% satisfied. Get feedback from them asking what you can do to improve your service to them. If they ever call you with complaints or questions, be there for them.
- Not living up to your promises—My biggest pet peeve is when a company overpromises and under-delivers. Never make a promise you can’t keep. If you say you’re going to deliver the product on Friday, you better make sure it’s there on Friday. If not, your customers will see you as a liar, unprofessional, and unreliable.
- Not truly listening to your customer—Listening to your customer means more than just reading over their comment cards or letting them rant on the phone. Truly listening to your customer means coming up with solutions to their complaints. It means finding new ways to better meet their needs and preventing the same mistakes from happening again.
- Treating customer complaints as a nuisance rather than an opportunity—Look, nobody likes getting chewed out by a customer, but the truth is most complaints (not all, because some people really are crazy) represent an opportunity to improve your services. So, instead of rolling your eyes or getting overly defensive when someone starts to complain, take a step back and truly examine the situation to see if their point is valid.
- Being difficult to reach—Few things are more frustrating than a company that’s impossible to contact. Simply put, being difficult to contact makes you look shady. You need to present your customers with multiple methods for getting in touch with you quickly: email, phone, Twitter, etc.
- Not taking responsibility—Whenever something goes wrong, step up and take responsibility for it. Too many times, people try to pass the buck to someone else for their mistakes. When a customer voices a complaint to you, the last thing they want to hear is you tap dancing around the issue. All they want is your full attention and a solution to their problem .
Which customer service mistakes have you seen companies make?