Since repeat customers are vitally important to the success of any fledgling enterprise, no small business can afford to place customer service on the backburner. Poor customer service is synonymous with poor customer retention and negative word of mouth. Ergo, the less importance you place on customer service, the less likely you are to retain patrons or generate favorable feedback. Furthermore, many small businesses regularly make a plethora of customer service blunders without even realizing it. So, if you and/or your employees engage in any of the following behaviors, you’d be wise to put a stop to this.
Actively Minimizing Customer Grievances
No one enjoys having their problems minimized or regarded as unimportant – neither in personal relationships nor business-based ones. Unfortunately, when presented with customer grievances, many businesses actively seek to minimize both the problems themselves and the impact they’ve had on customers. While this may strike you as an effective way to save face, this type of approach to customer grievances is unlikely to attract repeat business or bode well for your long-term profitability.
When your business practices and/or approach to customer service are called into question, it’s only natural that you’d feel an immediate need to defend your enterprise. While such feelings are perfectly understandable, you’d do well to hold off for a bit and try to see things from the customer’s perspective, as saying that you’re biased in the matter would be an understatement. Granted, this doesn’t mean that you should feel obligated to agree with every grievance a customer brings forth, but instead of minimizing, you should acknowledge every customer’s feelings and apologize for any inconvenience they’ve experienced.
Ignoring Feedback You Find Disagreeable
Any small business that actively ignores the needs of its customers is unlikely to last long. After all, if your business practices and customer service run counter to what consumers want, why would anyone grace you with repeat patronage? With this in mind, make a point of encouraging customer feedback instead of ignoring or disparaging it.
Many business owners disregard any feedback they find disagreeable, as they believe it constitutes an insult to their respective enterprises. And while it’s true that you’re not going to love every piece of feedback you receive, it’s important that you take the time to process feedback – especially feedback with which you don’t agree. This is another instance in which seeing things from a customer’s perspective can do you a world of good. Furthermore, thanking all customers for their feedback and implementing changes based on their opinions can be a great way to make them feel heard and respected.
Refusing To Own Mistakes
There are a variety of reasons for which small business owners refuse to acknowledge mistakes. In some instances, this is purely an ego issue. Other times, they’re afraid that owning their mistakes will make them seem weak or obligate them to fix certain issues. However, the next time you’re tempted to shrug off a mistake – or outright deny it – think about how such behavior stands to affect your business long-term. For example, do you truly believe that a customer whose issues were unresolved is going to provide you with repeat business?
Even if a purported mistake on your end is actually the fault of a customer, you should carefully consider whether this is a battle you wish to fight. If simply fixing this mistake will take up less time, effort and resources than allowing a customer to walk away disappointed, what you should do seems pretty obvious.
Not Using CRM Software
Dependable cloud based CRM software can be a boon to your business’s customer service efforts. So, if you’ve yet to utilize customer relationship management (CRM) software within your enterprise, take care to rectify this. Being able to collect and manage customer data and seamlessly share it with relevant parties will enable you to make a variety of positive changes to both your approach to customer service and your business as a whole.
There’s little wonder as to why subpar customer service can severely limit your chances of attracting repeat business. Regardless of what types of products or services your business has to offer, most consumers are just a simple Google search away from finding scores of competitors. That being the case, every small business owner would do well to make customer service refinement a priority. To this end, make a point of avoiding all of the missteps discussed above.