Some companies thrive, oddly enough, even though they provide horrible customer service. Just think how much more successful they could be with quality, caring customer support systems.
I just hung up on a customer service / sales rep from Life Alert for my elderly parents. They have no pricing on their website. That was frustrating. But what was more aggravating was the fact that the agent on the phone wouldn’t give me the price for the system until, as he put it, I understood everything about the product and service. I had already listened to a good five minutes of him telling me how awesome his company is – how many awards they’ve won and how they rank first in every conceivable area. I had already learned stuff on my own about the company and its products online.
But he wouldn’t give me the price. That’s why I hung up. He must have had caller ID because a few minutes later he called me back and said that now he could give me the price. When did these big companies forget about the personalized customer service that made them successful in the first place? Why do companies that frustrate us seem to far outnumber those that delight us? Here are some tips to help keep your customers happy.
Don’t focus so much on gaining new customers that you forget about your current customers.
Chances are you paid a lot of money to get your customers. You might want to think about spending some money to keep them. Giving them discounts for their birthdays, holding customer appreciation events, and overdelivering when there are service issues are simple, inexpensive ways you can keep your customers happy.
I had a flat tire this morning. After using a can of Fix-A-Flat, I drove it over to my neighborhood Les Schwab Tire Center. Those guys are awesome! The worker ran out to meet me and drove my truck over to where it needed to go. Stacy, the customer service/receptionist called me and gave me two options: getting a new tire of the same brand with a discount for $75 or getting a used one of a different brand, but with the same amount of tread wear for free. I like options – I think everyone does. That’s one of the reasons I will never use anyone but Les Schwab for my tires. It’s also why I tell everyone about how awesome they are!
Try to keep your employees happy by paying them what they’re worth.
One of Walmart’s biggest problems is that it hires people who either aren’t prepared or who aren’t trained to take care of customers or who feel like they don’t get paid enough to handle customer complaints. It is difficult for Walmart to keep growing and to keep employees happy because their wages are so low. This means that while profits are high, so are customer complaints.
I’ve heard rumblings that Walmart is working on improving the amount they pay their employees. Hopefully that will help with their huge turnover so that their employees can be better trained and provide better customer service.
Make it easy and painless for customers to contact you – but give them as much information as possible online so that most of them won’t have to.
It seems that contacting a live person at T-Mobile is next to impossible. Although contact information is usually easy to find, solving your problem usually is not. You can find hundreds of complaints each month online about long wait times and poor customer service. The other aspect that stands out about T-Mobile is the unusual rate of complaints about billing problems. There are two to three times more billing issues reported with T-Mobile than any other wireless network.
But that doesn’t mean that AT&T couldn’t make some improvements of their own. Customer complaints about AT&T are typical and include support, monthly billing and dropped calls. Sure, they should be given a little slack because, like Walmart, AT&T is another corporate giant with 365,000,000+ customers worldwide. However, unlike T-Mobile, feedback from AT&T customers tends to fall across a very wide spectrum in terms of their behavior.
Rather than attempting to silence your upset customers, embrace negative feedback as a chance to improve.
Samsung is a 70-year-old company with deep roots. But today’s customers are more mobile than ever. And that means the ability for them to complain about poor service using their mobile phone has never been easier. Most everyone has heard about the problems they’ve had with phone batteries catching on fire. Samsung has spent millions of dollars recalling the phones to make them safer. This is definitely an area where they can improve – not just to gain more customers, but to keep current customers – and keep them safe.
Samsung does have a decent support website but it is painful to use. The majority of customer service complaints about Samsung relate to simple billing and technical problems that support should be able to solve in minutes, and should not drag out for days and weeks.
J.C. Penney just brought back its print catalog. How can they compete as a retailer when customers increasingly demand faster, better, and more convenient options? Sometimes the people at the corporate level just aren’t in touch with their customers. This could be an issue, no matter how big your company is or how long it has been in business.
These tips can help business owners stay in business longer and gain the happy, loyal customers they seek year after year. Remember, no matter how good you are at servicing your customers, there is always room for improvement.