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October 19, 2018

Avoid These Customer Service Pitfalls

According to the American Management Association, 68% of clients stop doing business with a company because of poor service. Losing a customer is costly. Not only do you lose that customer’s business, you also lose all the business they might have referred to you, plus it costs you more time, effort, and money to attract and land new customers.

Delivering excellent customer service is challenging and relies on continuous training for everyone who serves customers. Training also is needed for backroom employees who may not directly serve customers, but who facilitate those employees who do. Here are some customer service pitfalls all employees should be aware of and know how to handle if they arise.

  • Slow response time. When a customer contacts you with a problem or issue, they expect fast, efficient, accurate solutions. Require employees to respond to a customer’s inquiry within 24 hours even if they don’t have a resolution. The key is to let the customer know you are working on the issue and to keep the customer involved in the process.
  • Discourteous or dismissive behavior.We all hope no employee is ever guilty of this, but it can happen. Employees may be stressed for legitimate reasons, such as failure of another department to follow-through, lack of inventory or resources, or too much bureaucracy for decision making. Despite the reason, every customer should be handled with care and consideration. Give employees training in dealing with difficult customers and situations, holding their tempers, and using emotional intelligence.
  • Lack of follow-up.It’s never safe to assume a customer is satisfied after a problem is solved. Often, customers just give up and don’t return to a business if additional problems arise. Make sure employees schedule return calls or emails to ensure that the customer is still satisfied and has no additional issues. This will reinforce your commitment to customer service excellence and provide the opportunity to deepen the relationship.

Customer service employees have a difficult job. You can make it easier by giving them the skills they need to handle any situation with care. See my program Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience.

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