“Poor customer service can have a ripple effect that harms your business in many ways.
BY JONAH NYONI
“The blemish of negative service reaches beyond a single customer or employee to include your full staff as well as existing and potential customers.
“Limiting negative customer experiences through ongoing customer service training can help minimise the impact of isolated instances of poor service,” wrote John Tschohl in an article The Battle for Customers)
Research shows that poor customer service has a greater effect than great service.
It’s said that when you offer great service, the person tells three people and if it’s a bad service, 11 people get to know.
In my years of training and authoring, the hardest thing in the journey was to build a great personal brand. It took time, effort and rigorous steps.
Building a good brand is a process, but crashing it could happen overnight. Warren Buffett once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
When Samsung introduced its Galaxy Note 7, the battery had serious problems.
They did not try to defend it. The news was all over the media. The best they could do was to recall call the faulty phones. They acknowledged their problem and that worked for them.
They had offered a poor product and as a means to retain their market dominance and trust, they promised to resolve the issue. That was great customer service.
Recently, I lodged a complaint with a retail shop via social media. It was all in good faith. It is unfortunate that no one attended to my message.
This is one mistake many companies make; they think silence is golden. By keeping quiet, they were merely saying I did not matter.
I am talking of a trusted brand that I loved so much and I have invested my money in over the years. Silently, I have withdrawn myself and they are no longer receiving my money. They have lost one customer.
Unconcerned about customer needs
The easiest way to losing a customer is turning a blind eye to them. Customers have needs, which need to be met. Listen to them, engage them, talk to them, show empathy, be interested and seek feedback.
Thinking everyone is that same
It’s dangerous to deal with customers as “mass consumers”. That’s why advertising does not work with the same effect on different people.
Advertising assumes that people are gullible and are ready to consume what is on offer.
That is not true with the current crop of consumers, some hate adverts to an extent they change to another channel the moment they see one, while others have installed advert blocking software on their personal computers.
Treat your customers as individuals, with different needs, feelings, attitudes, tastes and personality types.
In some shops, you walk in and you are followed around everywhere, which means a customer is being treated as a suspect.
With others, you feel harassed even though you are paying your hard-earned cash. In some places, you feel unwanted and disrespected.
In the beginning, that might seem small, but later on you will lose customers to other businesses that make their customers feel important.
Thinking you are indispensable
Some businesses behave as though they are indispensable. These are service providers such as municipals or parastatals, registry offices, the electricity supply company and banks (especially now in view of cash shortages).
Their attitude is sometimes negative and uncouth. But this has untold effects on their brands and images.
Thinking you are there to bring a product
Some people think getting money is only about selling a product. They think smiling, is not their duty. They can’t even offer extra help.
In life, we learn it the hard way for example, two different companies (for example airlines or bus companies) offering the same product and at the same cost, but one gets more customers.
It’s all about that extra experience that the customer gets. Not caring about the small things
Small things do matter, but they are neglected at most times. When you neglect the small things, you lose the big ones too.
Learn to do small things in a great way.