Your Customer Service SUCKS, and It is KILLING Your Business!
Those of you who know me know that I am not one for pulling my punches, and today, I am all whipped into a froth like a Starbucks Frappe. I am pissed.
And I am pissed at a bunch of different places. Places I frequent. Places I have been visiting and spending lots of money, in some cases for MANY years. And lately? They have been sucking at customer service. As I always try to tie my own experiences into lessons for you, here is yet another installment. If you do ANY of these things, please stop. And if you are not sure if you are doing any of these or not, please try to schedule an audit of your policies and processes to make sure that you are not doing and do not in the future do any of these unnecessary and business-killing things:
1.) Enforce a policy that does not exist in writing and/or that your customers are unaware of—as in a cleaning crew who, when asked to switch weeks, informs me that they need a five-day notice, even though they switch days and times on me all the time, and regularly text me after 10 p.m. the night before they are coming to tell me what time. Inconsistent? Yep. At least please have your terms and conditions on your Website so you can refer people to them, and if there is a problem, you may agree to make an exception, but ask your customers to read the Ts and Cs. Never make it a mystery. Example. “I’ll be happy to make that change this time, and in the future it would be so helpful to know about any changes at least five days in advance so I can schedule accordingly.” Splendid.
2.) Say no, with no follow up solution, question, or idea—your answer to the question, “Do you do XXX?” Should never be, “No, Sorry.” Please try, “We don’t offer that particular solution, but we have lots of other similar options. Can we talk more about what you are trying to accomplish and how we might be able to help?” Never just say “NO.” I don’t CARE what Nancy Reagan taught you.
3.) Stay so focused on rules that you miss the big picture. When a customer of any significance asks you to make a very small concession and gives you a great reason why they are asking for it—and you can see that their future revenue is vital to you—give them what they are asking for.
4.) Make a colossal mistake, and then do not apologize, and take your time in fixing it. As in, “Sorry we cut the granite for your counter top wrong. OK?” Ummmmm. NO. You need to cut me a new piece and get back here pronto to install it. So this just happened today. And as I am writing, I have not heard one word about an apology or making another appointment. Super.
5.) Have one person give one answer, and then have another person give another that is contradictory, and when this is pointed out, become defensive and suggest the customer is lying. This one just happens all the time.
So please, take a real good close look around at every single person who deals with your public, and lock that stuff down tight. Expectations are going to keep getting bigger and so is the competition. Please do not lose a customer over something avoidable. Because customers will go away and you’ll never know why. Trust me. They already have.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.