Does Your Customer Service Stink?

You have great expectations for your business. Your product is super and you’ve sold a few but customers aren’t returning like they should and what’s more, they aren’t giving you feedback. You’ve already checked to see if adjustments need to be made to the sales page, price, emails and promotions but they aren’t the problem. What on earth is wrong? I can hear you groaning now. Here’s a question for you. Does your customer service stink?

Let’s face it; you probably get more feedback from customers when there is a problem than when everything is going smoothly. If you really want repeat buyers, you better make sure your customer support is head and shoulders above the competition. This is the point when you can change a customer’s poor opinion into a glowing recommendation.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of things. What do you want your customers to feel after they’ve contacted customer service? If you simply said you want them to feel good, you aren’t putting enough thought into it. I’ll help you out a little with a few ideas.

Customers should feel:

  • Relieved that you have helped them solve a problem.
  • Reassured that they’ve done the right thing in contacting you and that you will “fix” things.
  • Satisfied with the product, the customer service, solution, and the attention they receive.
  • Valued and what they think matters. If they feel that they are just a sale or a problem, you’ve lost them. Customers should feel that their choice to buy from you is appreciated.
  • Enlightened by your answers and explanations. Customers should leave knowing more than when they initially contacted your support center.
  • Encouraged that they did something right concerning the problem and that they can get results simply by asking for help.
  • Safe that their personal information and customer service conversations will be kept private.

The more of these feelings that your customers have, the greater the chance that they will be loyal to your brand, repeat buyers, and supporters. So how can you make sure they have the maximum “feel good” thoughts? It begins with your policies and shines through your customer service representatives. If you have an unfair or unrealistic policy, there is almost no way to come out smelling like a rose.

Everyone is not cut out to handle customer service. Many solo entrepreneurs discover this the hard way. Just like everything else, you need to do what you do best! If you don’t have exceptional people and problem solving skills, you are not doing yourself any favors by handling customer support yourself.

Yes, I know. Sometimes you have to make do with what you have until you can do better. This is when you ask a friend with the appropriate characteristics and skills to handle support. If this isn’t an option, you may be able to trade services/products with someone who can take over your customer support duties. The key is to get someone in there who can get the results you need.

No matter who is taking care of your customer support, there are several qualities and skills they should have. If they already work well with people, have good problem solving skills, plus possess a majority of these skills, qualities, and attitudes, customer service is almost second nature to them. So what should you look for in customer service reps? Here are just a few things to look for and why.

Customer Service Reps should be:

  • Cheerful – When reps have a cheerful outlook, they aren’t easily rattled by angry customers. In fact, like a smile, the upbeat attitude often rubs off on the customers.
  • Communication experts – Since most small business customer service centers communicate through email or support tickets, support representatives should have a superior command of the written word. You should also have at least one person on staff who is willing to do phone support when it’s needed.
  • Consistent and fair – Nothing confuses customers more than change. Your customer service team should be aware of the rules and stick to them. For example, if you say that a coupon expires at a certain time, every team member should adhere to that time. Not only does this keep your customers from procrastinating and on the ball but when exceptions are made, the customer appreciates them more. After all, would Macy’s honor an expired sale price because the customer forgot to come in? I think not.
  • Courteous – Being polite can take you a long way in life and business. As many southern women know, it’s possible to insult someone and have them thank you for your comment. Ok, that’s not quite what you want to do but you get the picture. The fact is that your support team should know how to deliver bad news so that it doesn’t anger the customer. They should also be the first to say “thank you.”
  • Empathetic – Are your team members able to relate to your customers’ feelings? If not, your customer may often get the impression that the rep and your business just doesn’t care. That’s the wrong impression to convey!
  • Firm – Unfortunately, there are customers who try to intimidate your representative in order to get what they want. These bulldozers need a firm hand. When reps are being intimidated, they need to know that you will back their decisions. If they don’t feel that you support them, they can’t take the firm approach needed to deal with these pushy customers. What’s more, they feel that they don’t matter to you as much as a sale does. Just as you expect your customer support team to be polite, you should expect the same from your customers.
  • Helpful – You’d think this is a given but I’ve seen some support people give “I don’t know,” answers and nothing else. Customers should always be given a real answer. If your reps can’t answer a question, they should always suggest a place where the customer can find the answer.
  • Knowledgeable – The people on your support team should know about your products and services, as well as any changes that may affect customers. Keep them in the loop! They can’t do their job effectively if you don’t do yours.
  • Timely – Customers should receive answers or responses in a timely manner. Business owners who are ill-suited for customer support often drop the ball here and just ignore questions. New support team members may be slow to respond due to poor training. Either instance can cause customers to abandon ship and go to your competition. Optimally, customers should receive a reply within 2 days but sooner if at all possible.
  • Patient – Above all, the people who handle your customer support should be patient. When customers feel that they are being hurried along, it leads them to believe that your company was just after the sale and you don’t really care about their needs.

So, does your customer support stink? Finding out is not always a quick process. However, now that you know what customers should feel and what qualities your support representatives should have, you know where to start sniffing out the answer. If you do find a few things that need to change, make the changes as soon as possible so your business and reputation will wind up smelling like a rose.

Can you already identify areas you need to check? Which ones? Have you implemented some of these suggestions? Did it work out for you? We’d love to know what you think. Share your experiences below.

Get The Complete Step-by-Step Process

To Cultivate A Responsive List eBook (FREE)

Subscribe to download this guide for FREE and work through the steps at your own pace.

Launch A Profitable Podcast

Discover how to start your own podcast business, leverage it to grow an existing business, grow your influence, and more.

There's No Better Time To Start Your Store

Have Your Own Store By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Launch Your Own Profitable Store Online.

The Time To Start Your Service Business Is Now

Launch Your Own Service Business By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Starting A Service Business Online.

Today Is The Day To Kickstart An Affiliate Business

Have Your Own Store By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Launch Your Own Profitable Store Online.