Even the greatest of corporations have sunk in a pool of red numbers every now and then. Companies that were the stars of the industry for decades have turned to dust within months. How come? They simply became too comfortable with their daily work ethics or did not know how to treat their customers.
If you work on the way you treat your customers, you can keep them interested for much longer. Read about 12 really bad habits that should be avoided at all costs:
1. Bad First Impression
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. An example of a bad first impression could be a slow or not working website, a cancelled webinar, or a problem with an online payment process.
When visitors open your website, make them feel welcome with clean design, organized content, and user friendly navigation. All features must be available and efficient. Offer a bit of extra knowledge, make decision making easier, and you turn a visitor into a customer.
2. Your Staff Isn’t Actually Interested in Helping Customers
Your staff should know that they are paid to deliver value to customers, not fake smiles. Explain to your staff why the way they treat customers is vital to customer experience so that they will be motivated to perform well. A good product is simply not enough.
Employees feel motivated when they are considered valuable and important. Those who excel, should be rewarded according to their set of responsibilities. Always keep that in mind – they need to know they are doing a good job.
3. You Don’t Thank Your Customers
It’s one of the oldest techniques, yet still an effective one. Let’s say a customer places an order, ff it’s done online – make sure you redirect them to a ‘thank you for your order’ page once they are done. Similarly, if a customer makes a purchase in the shop, your staff should always thank them.
Being polite and courteous is vital if you want loyal customers. Make them feel valued.
4. Know Less Than the Customer
If your staff isn’t more informed than the customer, you might as well kiss that customer goodbye. Customers expect the staff to know (a lot) more than them. THEY should be the experts in the industry. Choose your staff wisely and make sure they know the product well. Give them access to all available knowledge bases, and educate them about the product.
5. Wasting Your Customer’s Time
Nobody likes waiting or having their time wasted. Make sure you don’t give your customer unnecessary reasons for waiting such as ‘the network is down’ or the ‘computer is too slow’. Your competitors are just around the corner. If consumers get frustrated because they have to wait for too long, they’ll most probably choose the other option next time.
Page loading time is one of the most important aspects of online customer experience. Nobody cares about fancy features, if the only thing they see is a rolling circle in the web browser tab. After a few seconds, you lose them. Even Google rewards quick loading times with higher ranks.
6. Break Your Promises
You advertised a discount or a sale. But in fact you’ve hidden some extra charge so customers ended up paying more than expected. You may have made a profit in this one purchase, but in the long run you’ve lost the customers’ trust. And long-term profit is what you really need.
If you promise something to your customer, make sure you deliver it!
7. You Take And Post Feedback Only From Satisfied Customers
Some shoppers are actually seeking out negative reviews. Shocked? Why should you admit show off a review where someone was not satisfied?
Allowing negative reviews add authenticity to your brand and builds trust in your company. Customers often look for balanced feedback on products and services, they know everything can’t be totally ideal.
Negative reviews also provide valuable feedback about your products or services. Use them to make some improvements. You did well by making an angry customer happy again, but you will do even better when you find out the reason why he was angry in the first place to prevent future problems.
8. Delight Your Customer Instead of Delivering Value
According to this study about customer service and loyalty, excellent customer service can actually do little to increase loyalty. But a bad one can destroy it. To a customer, what is more important than a representatives smile, a quick refund, or gift-giving? Meeting their needs and delivering what was promised – quickly. Reducing their effort to get their problem solved.
Customers hate contacting the company repeatedly because their issue has not been resolved. Or talking to five agents and repeating over and over what was wrong. Reduce the number of occurring problems and improve your product or service instead of gift- wrapping.
9. Valuing One Customer More Than the Other
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to value one customer over the other. This is a big no-no. The minute one customer senses that they are seen as less important, it is very likely you’ll lose them. Leaving one customer to wait in line, while making another (that arrived later) a priority with two sales reps helping him will cause frustration.
You need every customer. They buy your product, but they also talk to their friends, so in order to get recommended, you need to value each and every consumer.
10. Be Hard to Track Down When There is a Problem
The importance of support after a sale cannot be ignored. If your business representatives are hard to track down in case of a problem, you are not going to keep your customer’s loyalty for long.
- Provide as much contact information on your website as possible
- Information must be easy to navigate and to comprehend
- Make it as personal as possible. Nobody likes to talk to an autoresponder or to write a message to an unknown receiver.
11. Berating Your Customer
Even in the worst of kind of situations, never berate your customer. Make sure that you always treat your customer in a respectable manner. Berating your customer will not only leave a bad impression, but all those who are within hearing distance will probably feel offended.
To avoid situations like these you can:
- Create a customer service manual and set penalties for serious violations
- Train role-playing scenarios portraying various types of customers
- Regularly review performance of customer support employees
- Gather feedback from customer support staff frequently to address situations notmentioned in your manual
12. Trying to Prove You’re Right All the Time
The customer isn’t always right. But that doesn’t mean that you have a right to rub their error in their face. There is no point in making your customer admit his/her fault to win them (and their money) back. They buy your product to solve a problem or fulfill a need or desire. If the problem remains and the desire is not fulfilled, your job is to fix it. No matter where the pain point is. Some tips how to be better at dealing with such sticky situations:
- Listen carefully and identify whether it is really your customer’s fault
- Politely propose a solution and make sure everything you said is understandable
- If the issue is more complicated, promise a prompt action
- Make sure your customer knows what is going to happen after each step of the problemsolving process
- After solving a problem ask if further assistance is required
- Let your customer end the conversation. It’s the common courtesy
If you keep your eyes closed to the 12 mistakes mentioned above, your customers will not come back. It’s not always possible to identify problems right away or to prevent them from happening at all. However it takes skill with prompt and proactive approach from you and your staff to minimize the damage. Most customers will appreciate this.
Share with us in the comments below if you have ever made any mistakes and how you overcame them. Maybe you know of some other mistakes that marketers should watch out for?
Michal Kouril is the head of customer success at Liveagent live chat software & helpdesk. He takes care of the customer onboarding process.