Your business is really your customers’ and when you stop to think about that, it puts things in perspective. You need paying customers to stay in business and when you pay them respect, you invest in your company’s future. We’ve all dealt with bad customer service and have shared horrific stories about our experiences. In fact, studies show that customers who are satisfied with a company will share their enthusiasm with two to three people. However, dissatisfied customers will share their negative experiences with eight to ten people, even as many as twenty.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but too many business owners focus on the bottom line in ways other than customer service. They think about how to increase exposure, new opportunities, upping sales figures, and the like. It’s usually only when a problem arises, brought to attention by a particular person, that customer service is put front-and-center. By then, it could well be too late and that shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
Costly Startup Customer Service Mistakes
Whether you’re building your book of business or have several clients, you need to make customer service a top priority, and, one that is ingrained into everyday practice. Being proactive is essential to success in pleasing your customers, and, they will assuredly take notice. After all, we as consumers continue to patronize the same places where we are made to feel important, even if the product or service isn’t necessarily the best of the best.
No matter how great your company’s product or service is, if your customer service skills are lacking, it won’t make much difference. This is especially true in today’s economy, as struggling business owners need every possible advantage over their competition. Unfortunately, far too many business owners make the same customer service mistakes over and over again, sending their customers into the arms of their competitors. —All Business.com
That’s how important good customer service really is, it removes or displaces many objections, and, can be the single most powerful thing that beats out your competition. You ought to take advantage of anything and everything you can and this area is where your company can excel. What you shouldn’t do is to make one of these startup customer service mistakes:
- Not responding in a timely manner. Forgo those auto email replies because they deliver a message that you don’t want to send: you’re too busy to be bothered to personally respond. A simple reply shows there’s someone who cares and values the sender as a business partner.
- Taking on projects that aren’t within your core competency. When startups take on everything that’s asked of them, even things which aren’t part of their core competencies, they make a huge mistake. The results are highly likely to be disappointing and that can mean losing future business.
- Limiting your connections to your customers. Complicated phone trees and canned online forms only serve as a frustration point for your customers and send a message that you don’t want direct contact. Be willing and open to connect with your customers and they’ll feel important.
- You don’t follow-up with past and present customers. It’s absolutely imperative that you check-in and follow-up with past and present customers. It lets them know you value them and is a great way to build-up your networking skills.
- Not having a set customer service protocol. Everyone in your organization should be in-the-know about customer service protocol and follow it when needed. If you don’t establish a set of practices, you’re leaving too much to chance.
Two other big no-nos are being too accommodating and being too defensive of constructive criticism. Taking on everything that’s requested to look bigger than you are is a one-way ticket to mediocrity, or even to failure. While not being able to accept and learn from constructive criticism will make you appear obtuse and/or egotistical. Be grateful for your customers and show it and that alone will do wonders.