Most times small businesses are focused on customer retention, but the reasons for losing a customer can be just as valuable. With so many online tools and the popularity of social media, customer competition is more aggressive than ever before. Customers want you to go above and beyond their expectations because, if you don’t, they’ll just go on to the next business.
So, ask yourself: Are there things your business is doing to drive customers away?
Here are 10 things you shouldn’t be doing in regard to customer service. If you recognize a few that sound familiar, it’s not just enough to stop doing them. As a business owner, you need to be proactive about developing a company culture that puts the customer first and strives to keep them for the lifetime of your business.
Not respecting your customers’ finances — You might think customers only want to find the lowest price, but what they actually want is the best value. Don’t price yourself out of the market by starting out too low. Your customers will just be more upset when you have to raise prices later on. It’s your job to communicate the value they’re receiving through your advertising and marketing and then make sure they receive the best customer service around.
Underestimating your competition — You can do what you do best as a business, but you also need to be aware of who your competitors are and what they’re up to. Being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the competition’s, can help you make decisions, develop new products and strengthen relationships with your customers.
Not responding to social media reviews — Your customers are online these days, and they’re probably talking about you on social media. Make it a priority to keep Facebook and other accounts current and either designate or hire someone to respond to questions, comments and criticism. Quickly addressing a customer concern could result in you keeping his business and having him tell friends about your responsive customer service, rather than complaining about you.
Failing to deliver — Are you promising things in your marketing, advertising or social media that you can’t deliver on? If so, this might bring in customers, but it won’t keep them for long. If you say your business can do something, then you’d better be ready to do it and be the best at it.
Not making a personal connection — Your customer service might be fine and it might even be good, but if your employees and salespeople aren’t making personal connections with customers — by doing things like learning their names and asking them questions about themselves — then that’s not enough. Cultivating a relationship takes time, but it will also keep the customer coming back.
Placing blame on other employees/owners — As a business owner, it’s your name on the door, so to speak, and it’s your responsibility to own up to problems with customers. Don’t try to blame someone else; instead, apologize and quickly move toward making things right.
Disregarding opportunities for feedback — If you have no idea why you’re losing customers, then it might be time to create a channel for feedback. Some businesses don’t want to hear complaints or concerns, but it’s through this process that you’ll learn some valuable information about what customers want and what they expect. You can bet if one customer has a certain complaint, then another one does too.
Failing to keep in touch — Sure, you might have some loyal, longtime customers, but if you don’t remind them that you’re there, they’ll just be snatched up by another business. Out of sight, out of mind. Make it a practice to regularly keep in touch with customers both old and new and ask them what you can do for them this week, this month, this year, etc.
Making your website too complicated — Like we said, customers are online and they’re searching for your website. If it’s too difficult to navigate, doesn’t clearly include your contact information or detail what it is that your business does, then they’re not going to stay — and won’t come back.
Being unavailable — Whether it be online, by phone, email or in person, a representative of your business needs to be available at least during business hours. It’s a best practice to respond to inquiries and complaints within 24 hours so that customers get their needs taken care of quickly and efficiently.
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