Your company’s product or service will not matter if you lack customer service skills. Customer service is the backbone of a successful business. It could be the difference between good reviews and repeat customers, and word getting around about negative customer experiences and people avoiding your business altogether. This is especially true in today’s economy, as struggling business owners need every possible advantage over their competition. Unfortunately, far too many business owners make the same customer service mistakes over and over again, sending their customers into the arms of their competitors.

Given that customer service is so important, it is valuable to know some of the most common customer service mistakes.

1.     Over-automation

Just because it can be automated does not meant it should be, and it also does not mean the automation will automatically translate into cost savings. Don’t automate just because you can. Avoid erasing all personalization and direct contact with the customer. When possible, provide a variety of different communication modes, as some customers prefer online chat while others want to talk to a person over the phone.

2.     Being reactive instead of proactive

Instead of thinking about how to delight customers on the front end and avoid getting the calls, many companies fall into the reactive approach of being satisfied with somewhat mediocre products or service and thinking of customer service as something that happens on the back end when there are complaints or problems. Take time to conduct process analysis, continuous process improvement and root cause analysis to truly improve your product service.

3.     Not Training Your Staff Properly

It does not matter whether you have two or two hundred employees, you must train everyone in the art of customer service.

Customers and clients will not tolerate rudeness, incorrect information, or apathy on the part of your staff. Not taking the time to thoroughly train ALL employees — from the bottom to the top — is a major mistake made by too many small businesses.

4.     Trying to Win an Argument With a Customer

It is worth remembering that it takes five times more effort and cost to gain one new customer than it does to maintain one current customer.

When it comes to succeeding as a small business owner, it really is true that “the customer is always right.” If you try to win an argument but lose a steady customer, you are punishing yourself and your business with lost revenue — and, very likely, ensuring bad reviews on sites like Yelp.

5.     Standing By Your Policy…No Matter What

Treat every customer interaction as an opportunity to build a personal relationship — this is one of the ways small businesses can shine where a huge, faceless corporation can’t.

While the store clerk who is scared to lose his job can say “Sorry, that’s our policy,” customer service representatives and managers should be able to find ways to bend policies to build positive customer relationships. The phrase “If I do that for you, I’ll have do to it for everyone,” is one of the fastest ways to lose customers.

6.     Failing to Keep Promises

If you assure a customer that something will be ready by Thursday, then it should be ready by Thursday — no exceptions.

If you can’t honor your commitments to a customer for reasons beyond your control, do not make excuses; the only words you need to remember are “We’re sorry,” backed up by an extra effort to make the customer happy.

7.     Giving Customers the Runaround

Make sure your small business has an efficient system in place to deal with customers. When someone calls your company for help, they expect a service representative to be the first or second person to whom they speak.

People do not like being passed from one person to another on the phone, or, if in a retail location, sent from one department to another. Passing the buck is akin to passing the customer on to your competitor.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 6:23:07 AM and is filed under Small-Medium Business.

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