If there is one thing that annoys me it is poor customer service. I go absolutely crazy when it comes to being badly treated as customer, paying or not. We all have stories about bad customer services and usually the outcome is that we no longer go to that particular store or person.
The other day I went to the supermarket, as I was standing in line waiting for my turn the cashier closed the checkout! And when I asked her about it she said ”oh I’ll open it just for you” Well I was standing in line I replied, as to which she mumbled something about the time.
That is just one example. Once I went to our local bookstore, I live in a small town and we only have one ”real” bookstore. There was a German couple there asking for something, in Swedish. Their Swedish was actually quite good. They asked if the assistant helping them did not speak German as they weren’t able to explain exactly what they wanted. She didn’t so she called another assistant who was talking to a retailer visiting their shop. Now before I continue let me say that we have a lot of Germans visiting our town in the summer and German is one of the three main languages taught in Sweden so their request was not ”weird”. The assistant talking to the retailer came up to the couple and continued to speak Swedish with them, they asked again if she spoke German. She didn’t reply, just continued to talk in Swedish. The wife got annoyed and left the shop and her husband followed along quietly saying he thought it was strange they didn’t speak German.
All the time I stood quietly a few meters away trying to choose a notebook so I heard everything. After the couple had left the second assistant went back to the retailed and said ”I speak fluent German, but I didn’t tell him” ”Yes, I’ve lived in Berlin for seven years” the retailed replied. When I heard that I honestly did not know how to react. I took my notebook, paid and left. It was afterwards that I got angry. Because when I heard the couple asking for help, I thought to myself that if I knew German I would have helped them. Because I know how difficult language barriers can be.
After that incident I promised myself never to go back to that shop again. And I haven’t. I thought about calling in and telling the manager or writing a letter but honestly I can’t be bothered. Had I really understood what was happening at the time I would have told the assistant about her bad manners. But I was so chocked I just couldn’t think straight.
Customer treatment is extremely important. It is what will make people come back. It is what will make people tell others about you. And just the opposite, if you treat them badly they surely will tell others about it. Don’t worry about that!
People are more prone to tell others about the bad customer service they’ve received than how well they were treated.
How your customers really want to be treated
Well really, think about how you want to be treated. How would you like the company you are working with to treat you? What can they do different? What are you doing that can be improved? Sometimes it hurts to take a look at your own business and see what you are doing wrong, but it is necessary.
Your customers most probably want you to;
- greet them with a smile
- be friendly
- answer their emails in a timely manner
- resolve their problems quickly
- make an effort to solve or help solve a problem
Email communication can be tricky sometimes, even if you think you are friendly the other person may read it differently. So it’s always good to re-read your emails to make sure there are no misunderstandings.
One thing to remember is that there is always someone else out there who is ready to take on the customers you aren’t treating well… you don’t want that to happen!
So what happens if you give bad customer service and they tell about it?
Suck it up. Yep. You did bad, admit it, apologize and move on. It happens to all of us sometimes. But if you repeatedly give bad customer service then you better start thinking about what is causing that. If you don’t like to interact with your customers then get someone else to do it for you.
It doesn’t matter if you work online or in a brick and mortar store, how you treat your customers still matters. You may not be able to smile to them in person, but let your emails and correspondence be nice and warm. And when you talk to them, smile. It is true that we can hear if someone smiles when we talk to them.
It is also important to thank for nice customer service. You may not think so but we all get happy hearing we did something nice or that someone liked what we did. When i went back to the supermarket the day after I received bad service I was greeted by the most friendly girl. She was lovely and I told her so and she got very happy. She honestly saved the supermarket in my opinion.
If you want to grow your business giving good customer service is not an option, it’s essential.
What are you opinion on customer service? Have a good (or bad) story to share? Is it something you need to get better at? Share your story in the comments below.