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Walking on broken glass: customer service pitfalls to avoid

16th Nov 2015
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It’s amazing how much money companies invest in attracting new customers through sales, marketing and product development. And yet it’s surprising how uninterested some companies can be in providing great customer service, even to those hard won customers.

Of course, a company can very likely lose the business of any ill-treated customer, and can certainly lose the potential business of the dozens of people the irate customer talks to.

What’s most surprising is that customer service pitfalls can be avoided in a very straightforward way.

1. Good quality people

The first, and most important pitfall to avoid is thinking that a customer service role can require the cheapest and least talented people. With such people representing your business, it doesn’t matter what processes you have or policies in place, your customer will always receive a depressing service.

Turn this thinking on its head. Pay the top rate for the role and get the very best customer services people you can. Your customers (and your reputation) are worth it.

2. Training

Once you’ve employed great people, you need to train them in your business, your products and your services. Unless they are experts in these areas, it won’t matter how willing they are, they won’t be able to help your customers effectively or efficiently.

You want your customers to experience a slick and competent service and they’ll associate this service with your entire company. This has the added benefit of making your products and services seem of even higher value, which means your customers will stay loyal to you, or be happy to pay a premium to keep you as their supplier.

3. Reporting

Whilst many companies invest in market research or consultancy to tell them what the public want, many don’t think to review or analyse the data that their customers give them frequently and willingly. Invest in creating methods for collecting this invaluable data methodically from your customer service people. Then, use it to drive product development and improved messaging.

It’s not difficult to get your customer service team up to scratch.  With a few straight-forward moves, you’ll have a gifted, confident team to face even your toughest customers.  And if you have any further doubts about this investment, take the advice of consultant and speaker, Rick Tate: “merely satisfying customers will not be enough to earn their loyalty. Instead, they must experience exceptional service worthy of their repeat business and referral. Understand the factors that drive this customer revolution”.

Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com

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