Why Customer Service Continues to Deteriorate
A Customer's first Contact is the most Important
Customer service refers to all contact that a customer may have with the business. It can be via email, telephonic, fax, the Internet, social media or even in person and with different sections of the business. A customer’s first contact with a business is the most important. The first impression of the business can influence the customer’s perception of the business and future purchases. The customer has become more powerful because of social media where they can complain about a business and its products and service which can be read by thousands of people within minutes.
But sadly good customer service seems to be deteriorating at a very fast pace. Why does it happen? Why do business owners not seem to care about how they are being perceived by the public and by their customers? Or do they actually care but do not know how to ensure better customer service? This article explores the possible reasons for the continuous lack of good customer service.
Three reasons for the lack of good customer service are poor internal communication, lack of training and lack of knowledge about customers' needs.
Poor internal communication: Some businesses put more effort into communicating with external clients than with its own employees. Employees need to know what the mission and vision of the business are and how they all contribute to the long-term goals of the business. Many employees do not feel motivated because they are unaware of their own contribution in the business. Proper communication channels should be used to convey the right messages to employees.
Lack of training: Especially employees who deal with customers directly need to be properly trained. Training should include the latest information and developments about products and services and how to deal with customers. For example, training can be in areas such as telephone skills, topics of quality assurance, how to deal with complaints, how to do follow-ups and how to provide an after-sales service and even how to greet customers to find out what their needs are, to name but a few. Proper training also allows employees to become more empowered and to take ownership of all their tasks. Lack of skills is one of the main reasons why a business does not deliver a good service to its customers.
Lack of knowledge about customers: Many businesses do not know their customers, what their needs are or even what they think of the business. By not knowing the customers, and their needs, the business will not be able to fulfill their particular needs.
But what more can the business owner or manager do to improve customer service apart from providing more training, communicating more effectively or to getting to know the customers’ needs better? The following could be considered:
- Feedback by the customer should always be respected. Make channels available to the customer to provide feedback about his or her experience of the business, its products and services. The most important aspect is to act upon the feedback and make all employees aware of it.
- Develop an internal communication strategy to ensure that a consistent message is conveyed to the customer. A customer should never be confused about what the business stands for.
- A customer service strategy will also be a good idea but this strategy should form part of the business’ internal communication strategy.
When the business owner or manager can get the basic things right for good customer service, customer loyalty will automatically follow.
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