3 consequences of bad customer service (and how to fix them)
There’s a lot at risk when you let your service standards slide
All businesses need to treat their customers well. Small businesses, especially, rely on repeat customers and positive word of mouth, so providing great customer service is essential. Everyone has an off-day, but when companies start to let their service standards slide, they should expect trouble — 78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience (source: American Express Survey, 2011).
Companies who allow their service standards to slip often face negative consequences, with serious repercussions on their overall business. Poor customer service can affect not only existing relationships, but it can also cause harm to potential future opportunities, not to mention damage your bottom line.
You’ll lose existing customers
You may have a product that can’t easily be found elsewhere, but poor service can turn off even the most forgiving customer. Evolving consumer demands mean that your level of care has to be top-notch, every time. Your customers will forgo the habit or convenience of shopping with you, if you treat them badly enough.
Top customer complaints include long wait times and response times, poor attention to detail, and employees that demonstrate a lack of experience and knowledge. According to a recent consumer survey, customer service agents failed to answer their questions 50% of the time (source: Harris Interactive). People are also put off by unprofessional and impersonal interactions with company representatives.
If you’re hard to get hold of, and then your response is not worth waiting for, your customers will be tempted to look elsewhere — to companies that they perceive will value their business more.
You’ll miss out on new customers
If a potential customer comes to your website, visits your location or calls you, and they’re not impressed with the treatment they receive, they may quickly make the decision not to do business with you. Poorly trained or unknowledgable staff on web chat, in store or on the phone will put off those lucrative new customers.
Consumers trust the opinions of others. If a potential customer hears bad things about you via word of mouth or sees bad reviews on Google and social media, they may look elsewhere. By this point, they will already have a negative opinion of you and so you will have to work extra hard to turn things around.
Your reputation will be damaged
Your brand’s reputation is incredibly valuable, and it’s a very hard thing to repair. Customers can be quick to share bad experiences, especially online, and often use social media to vent frustrations. A lot of vocal unhappy customers makes for a track record of bad customer service, something that’s hard to shake off.
A tarnished reputation can have far-reaching consequences. As well as deterring potential customers, you might miss out on valuable business partnerships with those who research you online. Your reputation may also impact the quality of the candidates who apply to work for you.
That’s not all. Poor customer service can also lead to the loss of employees — even motivated, productive staff can become demoralized when they see standards are slipping and nothing is being done about it. This can mean high staff turnover. It’s costly and time-consuming to advertise for, hire and train new staff.
Bad service will ultimately lead to loss of profits. With fewer new customers coming in, you’ll see a decline in sales which will undoubtedly affect your bottom line.
So how can you improve? The good news there’s plenty you can do to turn things around. Start with comprehensive training for all customer-facing staff, with frequent refreshers. Put quality control measures in place: monitor calls often and observe customer service practices to ensure your standards are being upheld in all areas of your business.
Take customer feedback very seriously — for every customer who takes the time to complain, 26 other customers remain silent (source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs). If you respond publicly to negative reviews, accept responsibility and show your making efforts to permanently resolve the issue, you can do a lot to turn around negative perceptions of your brand. Within your company, allow staff to voice their concerns — an engaged team will work harder, treat customers well and be more productive.
If you are looking to serve your customers better, Voxtell can help. We provide everything you need to stay connected to your customers. Make them feel like a valued part of your business and give the best in customer service — our customized business phone solutions have all the features you need to provide the best in customer care. Contact us today to get started on your perfect communication solution.