This simple concept is the first key to a customer-centric strategy. This is the base of a customer service-oriented business. Every decision made in the company is centered around the customer experience. Everything else comes second which is why having a customer service culture is so hard. Most businesses are concerned with making money and saving money and the needs of the customer come after that. I am aware that making money is the only way a business survives but this is about priorities. You can have good customer service and have making a profit the first decision or you can have a customer service culter and making a profit is secondary.
Training your team on customer service and creating a customer service culture are completely different things. A few hours of training and most teams can learn the basics of customer service and do quite well at it. Building a customer service culture goes to the core of the business. Unless you are prepared to go all in on customer service you are better off with periodic training. Even for the most basic customer service skills, one-time training isn’t enough, your team needs practice and refresher training. If you decide to go all out and build it into your culture it will become a daily thing and your team will be thinking about it at all times. It’s not a bad thing to just train customer service but the legendary service comes from a culture of customer service. If you need help with either just let me know. In the meantime here is an infographic talking about customer service culture.
Out of all the advice I can give about Customer Service, the number one thing I encourage people to remember is to be grateful. Only a small percentage of customers will complain and want you to make things right, the rest just leave and you won’t know why. A customer making a complaint is giving you the chance to fix something and win back their loyalty. Even if you don’t manage to make things right it is a huge learning opportunity that points out a trouble spot where you could be losing customers and not even know it. Don’t waste this golden moment being mad at a customer, or upset with how they are reacting, be humble they took the time to help your business go further.
Bad customer service will ruin a business faster than almost any other factor. It is easy to say you have good customer service but proving it and having a good word of mouth reputation is much harder. As a good example I see ads for auto-mechanics all the time on social media and I hear a bunch on the radio. My mechanic doesn’t advertise at all. Absolutely none and he is almost busier than he can handle. He is my only mechanic for 20 years, I send him all of my friends when they get upset about a mechanic, I send him strangers if I can help it. On top of all that I have never heard a bad word about him. Why? Quality work and good customer service. Here are some statistics to show why customer service is so important and I will be giving tips and advice for creating a customer service culture. If you need one on one help I am a phone call away (435) 554-8209 .
Returns policies can make or break an online business. So what do you need to do to make sure your return policy doesn’t sink you before you get started? Here is a quick guide to help you craft the perfect policy for your business.
The numbers look grim if you are an online retailer. Around 30% of the products retailers ship out will come back as returns. The downside is that 65% of those returns were the retailers’ fault resulting in money they didn’t have to spend and decreasing the bottom line. A good return policy is crucial in the ultra-competitive online world so examine yours carefully. There are other things you can be doing to prevent returns and save yourself headaches and money. Let’s look at the statistics and what they mean to you.
23% of returns are because the wrong item was shipped out. This is an amateur league mistake that even the pros seem to be making. It’s simple, have a redundant system of double check to make sure the right item is shipped every time. A few more minutes to make sure the item is the right one or hours of headaches dealing with an irate customer and refunds or more shipping charges. The choice is clear, get it right every time.
22% of returns are because the product looks different. Not 100% fixable but mostly avoidable. Make sure your product is shot in multiple angles and in different light settings. A video will also help with hands or other objects to give a sense of scale.
20% of returns are due to damage. Sure you can have insurance on the product and send the customer a new one, but is that excellent customer service? Not all damage can be avoided but taking extra precautions and making sure the product arrives intact will pay for itself in happy customers. “The box was damaged but the item was fine” = WIN!
92% of customers will buy again if the returns are easy. So you messed up and sent the wrong thing, but the right one was shipped quick and the customer is happy. You will still likely get more business from them in the future. Customers understand mix-ups, your or theirs, and will forgive retailers who make it right without a ton of hassle.
There you have it, some stats to help guide your policies and give you something to think about.
You can have good customer service by teaching your team a few skills and a short overview on problem-solving, but then you will be giving business to your competitors. There are few competitive advantages as powerful as Customer Service and few that are harder to maintain. In the world where everyone thinks that competitive advantage means lowering your price, you can stand out by providing stellar customer service. I currently don’t know any physical location in my area that does this so I know the field is open. Here is an infographic to get you started on the path to excellent Customer Service. Let me know if you need any help getting going.
Don’t think of Customer Sevice as something you do, it needs to be the core of your company if you want to make loyal customers. True customer loyalty is hard to get so every part of the business has to be focused on it if you are going to find more than one or two.
It’s a well-known statistic that a happy customer tells 9 people on average and an unhappy customer tells 16. Unfortunately, if you provide poor customer service to a marketer they are likely to turn it into a lesson for thousands. Every company I know is constantly looking for new customers but it is always cheaper to retain the ones you have. On average it is 6-7 times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an old one. How do you keep them? Most cases it is all about the customer experience. Today is a lesson on flexibility during the customer experience.
The short version of the story is that a popular fast food chain had an advertisement on the menu board showing the price of an Italian sub. The main menu board had a different price. The manager was already at the register due to an issue with the computer freezing while taking my groups order. The discrepancy was pointed out, he said there was no difference in the sub so a member of my group ordered the cheaper version. Of course, the more expensive version was what was in the computer. No problem, punch in the discount, change the difference, reduce the price down to the advertised price right? Wrong, apparently corporate sets the prices in the computer and the manager can’t do anything about it. Let me repeat that, the manager has no control to give customers the price they are advertising on the menu board. He absolutely refused to give the reduced price. It was a matter of $0.30. Lost a loyal customer for $0.30 due to inflexibility. Not to mention the company, famous for its social media work, has ignored the post pointing it out all day. Granted, it’s a big company, but when your business is tagged in the same post as #customerservicefail, you might want to be paying attention. Now there’s a couple tweets, a blog post, two Facebook posts and a spot in an upcoming lecture. All this fuss for $.030? Well, yes, it’s my $0.30. If I spent $0.30 more on every transaction through a year when I wasn’t supposed to I would lose a couple hundred dollars. It eventually adds up so I tend to be aware when I am not paying the advertised price. Plus I feel such tactics are underhanded and it makes me feel unappreciated when a company thinks it’s ok to overcharge their customers.
The lesson is about flexibility. The customer doesn’t want to hear what corporate policy is. The customer doesn’t want to hear what you can’t do. Tell them what you can do, what the solution is. In simple cases like a price screw up, get them the advertised price. If it is truly against policy and there is no way you can change something, tell them what solutions you can provide, not what you can’t. Don’t hide behind policy and procedures, it’s bad customer service.
Customer service is the lifeblood of a business. No matter what business you are in there is some element of customer service involved. Here is an infographic giving some of the Do’s and Don’ts of customer service to use as a baseline.