Although customer service has always played an important role in the success (or failure) of small businesses, it’s become more vital than ever in the age of instant feedback. These days, patrons who are unhappy with the services your business provides are liable to make their displeasure known on consumer feedback websites, social media platforms, and various other corners of the web.
As such, it behooves every small business owner to be extra vigilant about providing top-tier customer service and avoiding the following blunders.
Being Unresponsive to Customer Communications
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoys being kept waiting – especially in customer service situations. Reaching out to a business and having your email, text message, or phone call ignored can be a deeply frustrating experience that serves to cement one’s impression of that business.
Needless to say, if you and your team develop a reputation for being unresponsive to customer communique, you’re liable to see a steady decline in consumer interest. With this in mind, make a point of answering all customer communique in a timely and courteous manner. For best results, make a point of responding to every communique received during normal business hours before the end of the workday.
Additionally, should you ever accidentally keep a customer waiting for a response, take care to apologize for the inconvenience and do everything in your power to make things right. If you lack the staff and/or bandwidth to respond to every customer communication in an expedient manner, it may be in your best interest to recruit a dedicated customer care specialist. Per the title, this individual will take point on all things customer service-related and be well-versed in effectively communicating with patrons.
Failing to Keep Customer Data Safe
Given how much trust your customers place in your business when they share their financial information with you, it is imperative that you reward that trust. So, if your data security leaves something to be desired, you’ll need to get on top of this posthaste.
Refusing to Accept Responsibility for Mistakes
It’s not hard to see why so many businesses are so opposed to admitting their mistakes. After all, pushing back and going on the defensive when presented with a mistake you’ve made is basic human nature.
Still, adopting this type of mindset when dealing with customer grievances is unlikely to do your business any favors. If a customer comes to you with a mistake and your response is total denial and/or deflection, there’s very little chance this person will ever again grace you with their patronage.
Not every customer complaint in your field is going to be fully valid, and it’s true that some patrons simply cannot be placated, no matter how much effort is put forth. However, the vast majority of grievances that are brought your way are likely to reflect some level of an error on the part of your business.
And rather than push back against customer complaints with all your might, you should make an effort to view the situation from their perspective and be willing to own up to any mistakes you or your staff have made. Even the most discerning consumers can be surprisingly forgiving when businesses openly admit to their mistakes and make genuine efforts at setting things right.
Not Considering the Needs of Your Customers
In addition to owning up to your business’s mistakes, it’s important that you learn from them and apply those lessons to your customer service. Nearly every complaint you receive is likely to contain some grain of truth, and taking note of common grievances and requests can help shape certain policies, as well as your business’s overall approach to customer care. Furthermore, customers should always be encouraged to submit feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.
If customer service isn’t currently among your top priorities, that needs to change. With modern consumers having more options spread out before them than ever before, it is incumbent upon every small business owner to treat customer service with due importance.
Fortunately, providing first-rate customer service isn’t nearly as challenging as some businesses make it look, especially when concerted efforts are made to avoid the mistakes outlined above.