It can take years to build a reputable and trustworthy reputation for your business – yet it can take minutes to lose a loyal customer. Customer service is a vital component of any business and should always be the top priority with your sales & customer service team. In order for any business to succeed you need to be able to retain your customers and reinforce your relationships, so they keep coming back for more. There may be many reasons why a customer is turned away from your product or service – some may not be “controllable”. For example, a customer may be sensitive to a skincare product you offer due to an allergy or something similar. You can not control that and therefore you may not retain the customer. That is OK. However, you can still make their experience pleasant by possibly offering a refund. In fact – by creating and offering stellar customer service – there is a possibility that even those customers may come back in the future – whether its to shop for a loved one or because you launched a new product they are not sensitive to – because they will always appreciate how you handled their situation and they trust you.
Today – we are going over 5 reasons customers may turn away from your business – luckily, these are things you can fix and boost sales & customer retention!
Website & IT Issues
If you read our blogs often, you will notice we mention this often. When a visitor to your website wants to buy something but finds out your website is down, what do you think will happen? While there is a small chance they may try again (very small chance) the truth is that unless you are available online at all times, your customers are likely to go elsewhere (your competitor). Even worse, you could end up losing them for life if they feel that your competitor offers a better service and is on top of their game. Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, responsive, and running smoothly. Don’t ignore website speeds and try to keep downtime to a minimum.
Customer Service Training
Your team can make or break you! You may be the best at customer service, but unless your team is the same, it can cause a lot of damage. Training is critical, of course, and you need to make sure you are hiring individuals who envision customer service as the most important aspect when dealing with any customer. Someone who is willing to go out of their way for your customers. Nothing turns a customer away more than a rude staff member, and people soon go elsewhere if they don’t get the service they need. Put together a customer service training program to make sure everyone is on the same page. Also, meet with your staff weekly to discuss how you can improve as a team and make sure to listen to their concerns as well. They may feel helpless at times – especially if there is a persistent complaint from customers and your staff has their hands tied in regards to what actions they can take to make it better for the customer. Ask your staff for their input and come up with ideas collectively as a team.
You Are Not Listening
It’s normal – at some point your customers may encounter a problem with your business. When they do, your response and reaction is key to keeping them onboard. Your ability to listen to the customer will determine your success. Ignoring a customer’s concerns can get ugly quickly – especially now that people will go straight to social media to rant about their horrible experience. Make sure you hear what they are saying, and respond appropriately. And don’t be afraid to make a decision you normally wouldn’t make – to fix the situation – like offering a full or partial refund – when you normally would not. Actively listening to your customers will also tell you about where your business is going wrong, and where you may need to make improvements. Also, never rely on just emails and phone calls – your customers are talking about you online (good or bad). Make sure you are searching for your business name, related hashtags etc on sites like Twitter and Facebook and that you are responding to them! This will also show potential customers that you care!
Mind Your Manners
Yes, we know – there are customers who can be very demanding and want to be treated like a star walking a red carpet. However, the vast majority of people really just want the basic “sorry” “please” and “thank you”. Basic manners and some empathy towards their situation can still go a long way! Oddly enough, many businesses fail at these simple phrases. Sometimes, keeping a customer happy is as simple as, being, friendly and helpful. Also – the long lost art of mailing out a thank you card (thank you for your loyalty, purchase etc) can be super impactful. Invest in a few thank you cards or postcards and ask your customer service team to hand-write a message. Including a personal statement from a recent phone call or email (like: “We are so glad that little Johnny is feeling better”, “Congrats on your recent graduation” or if they mentioned they were recently sick – send them a get well soon card) will build a strong relationship – because your customer will be amazed that you were actually listening and you cared about their story or situation.
Be Honest & Never Make False Promises
Never make promises you can’t keep when you run a business. A customer will usually be very understanding if you can’t get hold of a product (maybe it is on backorder) or if you can’t deliver a service at a particular time. The problem is when you make a promise and don’t deliver! Especially if you had doubts to begin with. This can be catastrophic! Always be truthful and honest about what you can do for them. If you have doubts, it is okay to say “I can’t promise you – however I will try and I will get back to you by [“x” amount of time] to let you know, is that OK?”. No one likes to be given a guarantee only to find out that they trusted you (instead of taking the time to look elsewhere for what they need) only to have you let them down. Honesty (especially when in doubt) can keep the trust and relationship with your customers strong.
If you have not yet implemented customer service training or regular staff meetings to focus on service – now is the time to start. Listen to your staff and listen to your customers – pay attention to both what they love and what they hate. If you can make positive changes in the way you service customers – this can boost your business and customer retention.
Do you have something special you do for your customers/clients that keeps them happy and running back to you? Let us know in the comments below.