Every small business needs a steady base of regular customers in order to stay afloat. As such, it’s in the best interest of every small business owner to keep patrons happy and incentivized to keep coming back. However, without even realizing it, some small businesses drive patrons away by exhibiting a host of undesirable behaviors. If you wish to prevent your business from suffering the same fate, be vigilant about avoiding the following customer service blunders.
Refusing to Make Amends for Mistakes
Few things are more frustrating than seeking customer service from a business that utterly refuses to acknowledge its own mistakes, missteps, and miscommunications. We’ve all dealt with people who believe that they’re always in the right regardless of how much evidence there is to the contrary – and unsurprisingly, we try to avoid interacting with these individuals at all costs. Even if they’re close friends or family members, dealing with people who refuse to acknowledge their own faults under any circumstances can prove mentally draining.
That being the case, any business that adopts this type of approach to customer service is liable to find itself bereft of satisfied customers. So, if you or any of your team members immediately go on the defensive, attempt to deflect blame, or get outright angry in response to customers who report certain mistakes, you shouldn’t be surprised by noticeable downticks in repeat business. Frankly, there’s little wonder as to why people would seek to separate themselves from businesses that regard themselves as infallible.
On the flipside, acknowledging flaws on the part of your business, offering sincere apologies, and vowing to make things right can go a long way towards mending fences with dissatisfied patrons. So, whenever a customer reaches out to you with a grievance, make a point of calmly hearing them out and making no effort to minimize their concerns. Next, apologize for any role your business may have played in creating this situation, and let them know you’ll work to avoid letting it happen again. Lastly, inform the patron that you’ll do everything in your power to set things straight and regain their goodwill.
Refusing to Meet Customers Halfway
As anyone who’s worked in customer service can attest, not every request or grievance that comes your way is going to be reasonable. Despite the adage “The customer is always right,” certain patrons can be unreasonably demanding and/or downright unpleasant when making requests of small businesses.
Suffice it to say, you’re not going to agree with every request a customer puts before you. Still, this doesn’t mean that it’s okay to ignore such requests entirely. So, the next time a customer comes to you with a request, carefully weigh the pros and cons of meeting them halfway. If doing so won’t prove emotionally taxing or financially strenuous, simply give the customer what they want – or some approximation of what they want. Customers who see that you’re flexible with regard to requests are liable to favor your business over businesses that vehemently refuse to alter established policies in any way.
Refusing to Provide Timely Responses to Important Inquiries
No customer enjoys being kept waiting, particularly in the age of instant satisfaction. If responses to inquiries aren’t provided in a timely and professional manner, many modern-day consumers won’t hesitate to give their business to one of your competitors.
Whether an inquiry is received via phone, email, text, or social media, it should be answered before the end of the day – provided, of course, it’s received on a business day. Furthermore, inquiries that are made after-hours should be regarded as a high priority the following business day. Answering inquiries in an expedient fashion not only illustrates your reliability but also shows your customers that you value their input and want them to feel heard. As an added bonus, paying close attention to the nature of the inquiries you receive can provide you with constructive ideas for changes to established policies. Dependable cloud-based CRM can also prove helpful in this area.
Although no small business actively seeks to drive customers away, many of them inadvertently do just that. While some businesses are well aware that their approach to customer service needs work, others are completely unaware of this fact. Unsurprisingly, customers are unlikely to care whether missteps on your end are accidental or intentional, as the end result is the same. That being the case, you should always be mindful of certain behaviors exhibited by yourself and your team members – especially the ones discussed above.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.