Are your customer service skills up to par or are you making fatal mistakes that turn your customers away? Few customer service organizations will admit that they’re the cause of customer churn, but chances are, if your customers are decamping at a faster rate than you’d like them to, your customer service could use a few improvements. Good customer service is the backbone to every business, so it is important that you make it a priority in yours.
1. Don’t Ignore Customer Support
It is easier to get new business from established customers than it is to gain new customers. Established customers are good prospects for repeat business and for customer referrals. However, we often overlook person-to-person customer support in favor of automated support technology. One of the biggest factors that results in customer churn is a lack of customer service support. The prevalence of online services, such as websites, blogs and social media, have made it easier for us to communicate. But when it comes to customer support, websites and social networks are not personal enough for many customers. Online services cannot replace the satisfaction that is achieved with more personal support methods. Good forms of customer service support include:
- Live customer service phone lines
- Real-time online chat
- In-person follow-up meetings
Don’t ignore your customers needs for real-time interactions. If you do, you may find that your renewal rates drop when your customers decide to take their business elsewhere.
2. Don’t Go In Blind
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Don’t go in blind when trying to up-sell or cross-sell business. Do your your customer intelligence and sales intelligence homework first so that you can gain a thorough understanding of your customer’s needs and fully understand how your products or services can benefit a new team within your organization. Just because the social marketing team bought your products doesn’t mean the product marketing team will get the same benefits. If you don’t do your homework, it will be obvious to your customers and will likely result in a lost opportunity. However, if you do your homework, you will either make the sale, or in the very least leave a positive impression that may result in a future sale or positive customer referral.
3. Don’t be Inflexible
Most companies have set guidelines in place for marketing or servicing customers. But you have to remember that guidelines are just guides, they are not set in stone rules. Guidelines need to be even more flexible for existing customers than for new customers. Customers make it easier for you to secure additional business from within their organizations, so you need to make it as easy as possible for them to give you that business. To increase sales productivity, you need to be flexible. For example, if your company’s guideline is to pitch products or services at a personal meeting, but your customer does not have the time to meet, try having a phone conference instead.
4. Don’t Break Promises
Never promise your customers something that you cannot deliver, even if a failure to make a false promise results in a lost sale. In the long run, that lost sale is better than the customer dissatisfaction and bad press you will get when you break a promise. That being said, people break promises. There’s no foolproof way to avoid it. When promises do wound up in pieces because of poor judgement or communication or whatever cause, you need to go into recovery mode to repair your relationship with your customer. Recover tactics that can save your reputation and customer relationship include:
- Admitting your mistake
- Offering a real solution to fix the problem created by the broken promise
- Refunding the customer’s money
- Offering free or discounted services
5. Don’t Let Your Personal Life Interfere with Your Customer Interactions
We all have personal lives and sometimes personal problems arise. However, these personal problems should never interfere with your customer interactions. The saying, “leave your personal life at home,” especially rings true in the customer service industry. No matter what is going on in your life, you must remain polite, professional and reliable. A failure to do so can result in a lost customer and bad press.