We all know that customer service is not just important, but probably the cornerstone of a business. Everyone knows that bad customer service will cost you lost customers, but what really is the cost? And why is it that Australian businesses still don’t get it?
Even if you have a great product, bad customer service will kill your business.
Statistics tell us that if you give great customer service, the customer will tell 2 people. Give bad customer service and they will tell 10. With social media now in the equation, it is easier than ever for bad service to be plastered everywhere. And that could make the difference between someone making a sale call to you or not. It does not matter if you have an awesome product. It will not save you.
The thing is, what upsets a customer most is the little things. And they hate it if it is only a ‘win’ for them.
This week a client of mine (let’s call her Helen), had a meeting with a potential joint venture partner who sold essential oils (let’s call them Company A). The idea was that Helen would stock some of their products and they would hold an information session, at her cost, for her clients.
Helen ordered some products, but Company A decided that they wanted an exclusive information session only. This did not work for Helen and she cancelled the order. She told them that because she liked the product she was happy to stock a small quantity and see how they sold. Company A decided that Helen must pay for the order and that she would have to pay 25% restocking fee of $50. Helen was not happy. Eventually the fee was waived, but even though she passionately believes in the product, she will not stock it and wants nothing to do with Company A.
In effect, Company A was so concerned about the $50 that they did not realise the long term implications and potential sales going forward.
So the questions you might want to ask is:
- What stupid rules do you have that could be costing you thousands in lost income in the future?
- How exactly are we treating customers that are unhappy?
- Do we ignore them and make life as hard as we can or do we really deal with it so the customer feels they have ‘won’ too?
- What guarantees can we put in place when things go wrong?
It takes a lot of effort to deal with customer complaints. It's not nice. I have yet to meet a person who loves to deal with them. Sometimes you just will not win – that’s just business. But generally, losing a few dollars now and letting the customer feel they were treated respectfully during the process is a small price to pay if it keeps your name off Google reviews and Facebook!