How to Handle Customer Complaints in 5 Quick & Easy Steps

Handling Customer ComplaintsAll businesses have to deal with customer complaints, it goes with the territory! It’s not the most pleasant of situations but it is something that we all have to face at some point. The important thing is to have a good customer complaints procedure in place so that you can turn potentially negative situations into positive ones.

How many times have you been faced with an angry customer, upset with the service received and demanding an explanation, an apology or, god forbid, some form of compensation! I’ve worked in hospitality for most of my life and have had my fair share of customer complaints to deal with. Luckily for me, one of my first bosses was a great believer in staff training and introduced us to a very simple but effective 5 step procedure to deal with customer complaints. [Read more…]

7 Simple Ways to Retain Your Best Employees and Continue Providing Excellent Service to Your Customers

7 Simple Ways to Retain Employees

Why should you worry about employee retention? Does it really make a difference to the customer service you provide to your clients and customers? The short answer to that last question is YES!

Companies that retain their best employees – and are known for their exceptional customer service – will find that they also retain their customers as well. Why? Because your customers want the value and reliability they’re used to getting from you and your team. They do not want to have to deal with new employees they are unfamiliar with. All trust you’ve worked so hard to build up with them would need to be earned again!

Perhaps the most important reason is that replacing employees is going to cost you a hell of a lot more than some simple training to get your new recruits up to speed. Think of all the knowledge the ‘outgoing’ employee is taking with them and the time, effort and monetary investment it’s going to cost you to replace that know how. [Read more…]

Why Am I Losing Clients?

losing clientsIn today’s tough economic climate, many small business owners and entrepreneurs face an uphill struggle trying to keep their business afloat. It’s all too easy to blame the loss of clients or declining sales figures on the state of the economy; however, there are often other more basic reasons which we tend to overlook in these situations.

Yes, it’s difficult to find clients and even harder to keep existing ones; you’re faced with competitors who slash their prices and desperate businesses who are willing to resort to all types of sleazy tactics to keep afloat. Sometimes, you have to look beyond this mayhem and go back to basics by reviewing the core essence of what your business is about. Let’s take a look at a couple of areas which may be to blame for the loss of clients and business:

Don’t Ignore Customer Complaints

When you’re bogged down in paperwork it’s easy to lose track of basic everyday issues such as dealing with customer complaints.

It’s possible that some clients who receive poor service will simply “defect” and go elsewhere; however, most will try to bring their issues to your attention in the form of a complaint. This is where things start to go wrong as these complaints are ignored or often badly handled; guess what? You’ve just lost a customer!

Use these “opportunities” to analyse your internal systems for handling customer complaints. You need to listen to complaints and determine whether they are justified or not; if it’s the former, you’ll have to analyse the situation and introduce changes to ensure that such complaints are avoided – or at least reduced – in the future.

Don’t forget that a big part of successful customer complaint handling is to make sure your employees are adequately trained in how to handle customer complaints. It’s not rocket science and if you follow 5 basic tips (see link), you and your team will be able to handle the most difficult of customer complaints.

Make Sure Service Levels Live Up to Customer Expectations

This relates closely to the above point on customer complaint handling; if you’ve set certain expectations – through marketing, branding, advertising, PR – but your customer experience is not aligned with these expectations, you’ve got a problem.

Before spending money on expensive marketing, make sure you understand your target market and you’re company’s limitations. It’s much better to offer less services or product features and be able to deliver excellent service than to promise the world and only deliver on part of that promise; all that will lead to is negative word of mouth, customer complaints and ultimately, loss of customers and business.

These two tips may seem simple and obvious to many; however, when was the last time you took a good look at the customer complaints you receive? Have you made sure your customer expectations are being met by aligning your products and services to these expectations?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…feel free to comment below 🙂

Photo Credit: Latente

I’m Taking My Business Elsewhere!

Customer ServiceI’ve just got back from a rather disappointing shopping trip. My task today was to find a new adaptor for my laptop – should have been simple enough – however, another less than satisfactory Customer Service Experience left me realising how easy it is for a business to lose a customer.

Let me explain: I live in Spain – a country which is not known for excelling in Customer Care! – I decided to go to a well know store which specialises in electrical appliances; usually good value for money and OK service. I went straight to the computer department and decided to ask a young guy – who I thought was an attendant – where I could find the adaptors.  It turns out that he actually worked in the warehouse and was just replacing some items. Now, he could easily have told me that he couldn’t help me and that I should find a customer service representative; however, I was pleasantly surprised when he proceeded to escort me and find someone who could help me. [Read more…]

Engage Every Customer – One Touchpoint at a Time

 

 

Engage Every Customer – One Touchpoint at a Time
By Bryan K Williams

Engaging your customers is not rocket science. With all of the articles, books, blogs, videos and conferences that are available, it can seem that creating an engaging service experience requires a lifetime worth of training. Not true. If you asked me, “how can we improve our service tomorrow?”, I would advise you to begin with your touchpoints. I’m sure that you have heard this word before, but I’ll go ahead and define it anyway. [Read more…]

The importance of a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)

The general focal point of business has been the product itself and the belief that a good product would always sell.  That is now changing and business is taking a new approach – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – switching the main focus from the product to the customer.  If you have the product a customer wants and offer the service they require at the correct price then they will buy from you. [Read more…]

Four Steps To Help You Cope With a Difficult Client

It happens to every business owner at some point in time and chances are, it’ll happen more than once. You have to cope with a difficult client. It can be an extremely frustrating and upsetting experience. It can also be a positive experience – really! Here’s how to take charge of the situation and cope with a difficult client.

Step One. Determine why your client is unhappy or what is causing them to be difficult. [Read more…]

Why your Hiring Policy is Vital in Providing Excellent Customer Service

Few would argue at the statement that “the key to exceptional customer service is in your staff”. Obviously, your front-line staff — those that have direct contact with your clients — are of vital importance, however, you musn’t forget the rest of the team that provide support and backup to the front-line. Administration, Accounts, HR — these teams are often behind the scenes but play a large role in ensuring that your customers receive world class service. [Read more…]

How To Keep Your Customers By Providing a Superior Customer Experience

It’s a tough old world out there and starting a business or simply staying in business is getting more and more difficult every day. There is a lot of competition and businesses are having a hard time trying to differentiate themselves from the competition. There is, however, one thing which will keep your customers coming back again and again – a valuable customer experience.  The customer experience you provide begins and ends with spectacular customer service. [Read more…]