How Poor Customer Service Can Hurt Your Brand
Updated: Jul 3, 2021
Poor customer service may leave clients feeling unimportant or not valued. Customer service is the heart of any branding or marketing strategy.
It doesn't matter if you have the best marketing in the world OR the most amazing branding OR killer viral content IF your customer service SUCKS! People are just not going to stick around!
Apologies for the lack of creativity with describing customer services as "SUCKS" but I really want to drive home this point... Customer service can make or break your brand and your business.
Ok, I may be over dramatizing this a little but let's put it into perspective...
I believe businesses don't intentionally provide poor service, but their lack of empathy, lack of realization, and lack of focus on their customers DRIVE poor customer service experiences.
Providing great service IS NOT HARD!!! But it does require effort, intention, and purpose. A smile, a joke, being attentive to their needs, can take you from providing a mundane experience to providing a memorable one with your client.
One of my mentors once said to me "It's not the big things in business that will kill you, it's the little things".
This could not be more true! People are more willing to forgive a big mistake, and you are more likely to go to the end of the earth to make it better. Whereas with small ones, you are likely to overlook them, sweep them under the rug, and they are less likely to bring it to your attention. They will simply just move on and take their business with them.
As businesses we often fail to walk in the shoes of our customer and this puts our brand and our business at risk. So what can we do to help mitigate and prevent poor customer experiences? This is how we work to provide excellent service to each and every client.
5 TIPS YOU CAN IMPLEMENT TODAY TO IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND SERVICE
1. Don't overpromise and underdeliver
Sounds simple and intuitive right? I have had my share of businesses promise me the moon only to deliver - or even worse not deliver - something that left me feeling like I was not important or valued as a customer. You need to be realistic with your sales promises. If you think there is a chance you cannot deliver something - DON'T PROMISE IT!
Be authentic, be realistic, and be true to your word. Don't bite off more than you can chew. If you do, your customers will feel like they are not important. They are not a priority. And will likely start looking elsewhere.
2. Do what you say you are going to do
Again - this sounds simple. BUT in reality almost all businesses are guilty of breaking this rule. How many times have you as a customer been promised something only to be left hanging? Some of the common ones are:
I'll get that to you today
I'll call you about this
Let me send you...
Remember this applies to everything from big projects to small little promises like returning a phone call or sending an email. It's the little things done over and over again that break trust with your clients. That trust is what helps keep them happy, delighted, and loyal. Like anything, once someone doesn't trust you, they will start looking elsewhere.
3. Communication is Key
Let's say you did break rule 1 or 2 above... Sometimes it happens, and you will stand a better chance of weathering the storm if you quickly and proactively communicate with your customers. Delayed shipment? Missed deadline? Timeline extension? Acknowledge the issue, explain the situation, and offer a remedy or new course of action.
Your customers will appreciate your being upfront and taking control of the situation. Leaving it to the customer to constantly follow up or be the one driving the communication is going to leave them feeling stressed, overwhelmed, unimportant, and break the trust and confidence they have in you as a business and a brand.
Take control and be in the driver's seat with your brand - this means being in full control of your communication with your customers. Do not give your competitors an advantage because your clients think you just don't care enough to be upfront, honest, and transparent in your communication.
4. Own it
Let's say you did over promise or forgot to send something or realized that a deadline was going to be missed... lying, making excuses, or pretending to not notice ONLY MAKES IT WORSE! People are understanding, if you own up to the mistake and make it better.
You can quickly fix a mistake, a broken promise by acknowledging it, communicating where the breakdown happened, how you are fixing it, and offering something as a good show of faith to make amends. Credit, thank you email, gift, can all help smooth a bad situation over.
Stuff happens, people understand that, but it's how you deal with it that makes all the difference.
5. Set Clear Expectations
The best way to avoid any customer service mishap is to make sure you and your customers are on the same page. Set the tone for your customers and let them know what to expect, when to expect it, and how to connect with you if they have questions. Let them know you are open to having a chat, conversation, or discussion if they need to.
Help them feel comfortable to talk to you if they are feeling upset, undervalued, or just confused about something related to your business or brand. This helps to resolve a lot of the issues before they become issues.
We hope this rant provides you and your brand and your business with some helpful insights to improve your customer service with your clients.
At Sweet P we pride ourselves on our service - but even we need a reminder once in a while... so even though these past few weeks have been stressful for us as the "client" with our own experiences, we are grateful for the reminder to make sure we are always going above and beyond for our clients.