Customer service should be the top priority for any business. In fact, without loyal customers, how will the business continue? Although a strong dedication to obtaining frequent and loyal customers may seem like a no-brainer for the average Joe, many companies fail to utilize proper customer service training for their employees to obtain that simple goal. There are three common mistakes that companies frequently make in the customer service arena.
Failure to Understand Company Policy
Many companies have a policy and procedures manual. New employees are given this manual at the time of hire. Unfortunately, customers can tell when an employee does not know basic company policy and procedures.
A store may have a coupon policy that states the store will not accept more than one coupon per item unless it is a manufacturer coupon coupled with an in-store coupon. Customers that know this will shop based upon that policy. When the employee is unfamiliar with the policy and does not allow the customer to use the coupled coupons, two things can happen.
The employee can cause the customer to reconsider shopping at the store, or the customer can speak with management to plead their case. Is failure to understand company policy worth losing a loyal customer?
Failure to Acknowledge the Customer
Several companies hire “Greeters” who sole job is to greet customers at the door and aid in their experience. In the restaurant business this is called a “Host.” The host seats the customer and answers basic questions while the customer is waiting for a table.
When the host fails to greet a customer, the customer can feel that his or her business is not welcome or wanted. The host is the first person that has contact with a potential customer. If the first impression fails to meet the expectations of the customer, repeat business is less likely.
A restaurant host that is preoccupied with texting, or talking with other employees instead of making the customer a priority is not a great first impression.
Failure to Correct the Situation
The phrase, “the customer is always right” should be taught to new employees. What this means is that the company should try to accommodate a customer as much as possible. If the customer is unhappy with the quality of a garment, the customer should be able to return it for a full refund.
They should not have to jump through nine hoops, walk backwards on the yellow line, and sign their name to fifteen documents. Many employers want their employees to be empowered to make the customer happy. Unfortunately, some employees do not understand what correcting the situation actually means.
A great example of this is Bob Farrell’s business model. A customer wrote Mr. Farrell a letter indicating he was unhappy because he did not get a free pickle like he was accustomed to receiving. The customer did not feel this was a way to conduct a business. Mr. Farrell read the letter, and agreed with the customer. He decided if the customer wanted his free pickle to be happy, then give him the pickle. A repeat customer is worth the expense.
Customer Service Skills
Mediocre customer service skills are easy to come by. Businesses that take the time to teach their employees excellent customer service are the businesses that will have repeat, happy customers. Taking the time to teach these skills is crucial for any business.