Failing at Customer Service 101

How companies are failing at customer service

Today's customers are more demanding than ever.

They want what they want when they want it, and how they want it. If you don't meet their demands, they'll bolt—without giving it a second thought.

Businesses lose $1.6 trillion per year when customers make a change. That’s an awful lot of money to lose in a year.  Much of it is the result of poor customer service.

In fact, poor customer service costs U.S. businesses $75+ billion last year, says NewMediaVoice in a recent report.  That’s a $13 billion increase from their last report in 2016.

Put simply, businesses can’t afford poor customer service. It’s just too costly. Below are ten signs you're failing at customer service and what to do instead.

Hiring the wrong people

The average cost for every bad hire can run as much as 30% of the individual’s annual earnings, says the U.S. Department of Labor. It can cost you just as much if not more because of that person’s poor customer service. Hire for skills, competence, experience, the ability to learn, AND an aptitude for customer service.

Not defining customer service vision

Not defining your customer service vision is a foolproof way to fail at customer service in clear terms. You want your people to remember it. Make it one sentence or less, and simple. You want something everyone can remember it—especially your customers.

Failing to train people properly

Many businesses fail to train employees to deliver epic customer service. Training employees in customer service boosts profitability through improved customer experiences and retention. After having a positive experience, 77% would recommend the company to a friend.

Don’t provide a role model to emulate

Leaders set examples for others to follow. Not providing one for your employees can cost you when it comes to customer service. Show employees the right way to do things in customer service. Then exhibit that behavior and those values internally. It pays off in better customer service.

Tell customers to take business elsewhere

Some managers will do this when they get difficult customers. Sure, your time is valuable, but you can't afford to be turning away customers. It damages your reputation. Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.

Thinking customer service is better than it is

Research says many managers think their level of customer service is better than it is. Survey customers to get a clear reading on customer service. Talk with customers about your service to see if you’re meeting customer expectations. It doesn’t take much to lose a customer, which can impact your customer retention rate.

Coming down hard on angry callers

Fighting fire with fire when handling an angry caller is a sure-fire way to lose customers. Train your customer service people not to take these calls personally. Also, teach them how to practice active listening and make conflict resolution a center of focus in your training program. After one negative experience, 51% of customers won’t do business with that company again.

Respond negatively to online customer reviews

It turns out that that angry caller you just told off has a blog. She also has a Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. And big followings to boot. Registering at one of these accounts and unleashing your CSR fury isn’t the wisest decision.

Failing to recognize that customer service is critical for everyone

Some managers see customer service as just a strategy—one that doesn’t have real consequences. You need to get all your employees to embrace customers service from CEO to recent hires. Do the same with customer experience. Seven out of 10 U.S. customers say they spent more money with companies that deliver epic service.

Micro-managing customer service people

Not allowing your customer service people to make their own decisions can hamper customer service experience. Customers just want their problems solved. If an employee can do that, your customers will be happy. Build guidelines into the process allows for a better customer experience.

Avoid these ten foolproof ways to fail at customer service, and you'll enhance your customer experience, boost customer retention, and increase profitability.

Today’s customers are more than demanding than ever.  The won’t hesitate to bolt if they don’t get what they want.

In fact, 74% of people are likely to switch if they find the purchasing process too difficult. Don’t lose customers—and profits— just because your service is lacking.