How To Recover From Bad Customer Service
You’re striving for a flawless customer experience. You want them to love your business and what you do, so you make sure that employees are well trained and great systems are in place.
And despite your best efforts, stuff happens. Your customer is upset.
I’ll let you in on a secret: People aren’t that surprised. It’s not because the standard for customer care has dropped so much – it has – but because life is imperfect. It’s just the human condition.
But it’s when things don’t go perfectly that people have insight into your character. And your company’s character. People appreciate that.
When things haven’t gone well for a customer, here’s how to demonstrate great character:
1. Acknowledge the bad experience your customer just had. Hint: It sounds like, “I’m really sorry.”
2. Admit fault. Sure, I know that you’re also frustrated that the package didn’t arrive on time, but it’s cowardly to blame the delivery company. Better to admit that you ideally would have found a way to meet your promises, and take ownership.
3. Find a way to address the immediate pain. It’s broken? Replace it as quickly as possible, or repair it for free.
4. Work on rebuilding the damaged relationship. Maybe a gift certificate for the next purchase, or even a handwritten “I’m sorry” card in the mail. A relationship is personal, so make it FEEL personal.
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Of course, behind the scenes you’ll be scrambling to fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again. That’s great and necessary, but mostly invisible to this particular upset customer. You have to show that you’re personal, caring, and attentive. Whether it’s a simple cup of coffee, or a $10,000 purchase.
Will people take advantage of you? Perhaps. But it’s best to strive to create a trusting and generous relationship, like you’d have with your best friend. If people want to treat your business as a friend, they’re not going to want to rip you off. Don’t let the dishonest few destroy the character of YOUR company.
The Smell of Desperation Around Small Business Marketing
Phwooaaarr what is that smell? Oh, I know! It is the stench of desperation around a lot of Small Business marketing.
Businesses that don’t have a stable, consistent and well thought out marketing strategy often fall into the trap of desperation marketing. It is highly reactive and often based on a lack of “kerching” at the cash register. We have all experienced it; your inbox fills up with special offers and enticements to spend our cash and to spend it today. I personally love businesses throwing me sweet deals on a regular basis but my business brain says… “This is bad, very bad."
Want to avoid being stinky? Plan ahead! Understand your marketing goals, plan timelines (based around seasonal shifts) and know your conversion rates in regards to your advertising. Invest time in planning to avoid having to throw out quick tricks or lures to win business. If you keep throwing them out there it will only be a matter of time until your customer base no longer wants to purchase anything you offer without some type of enticement. This is not good for your business and is definitely not good for your bottom line.
Want to read my thoughts on why you shouldn’t discount? Click here
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Using Social Media In Your Business (A Business Coach Tries To Make Sense Of It)
It’s OK, I know I’m a business coach and not a social media expert but we’ve been learning a little lately and I thought you might find it interesting. I’ll defer to the experts and I acknowledge the input of a few experts in this field. Mark Barrett from CI Marketing (our Internet marketing adviser and website custodian), Natalie Alaimo, coaching client of Melanie Miller and Social Media specialist, Seth Godin (who I’ve never met but who writes and speaks with considerable authority), that guy who wrote “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and Michael Stovin-Bradford of Tactical Resources.
No-one knows all the answers, everything is changing so quickly that there are no answers in the way we used to think of them – that there’s a right way to do things that will give you guaranteed results. There’s not and it’s likely that that old certainty is gone forever, at least where the Internet is concerned.
This article tries to share what we’re doing when it comes to social media and how it meshes with our online strategies. I’ve been thinking about why people use social media (it’s not because they want to hear how good you are or why they should buy your stuff); the social (media) contract; relationships and the mesh (thanks
The Social (Media) Contract
Why do we use social media and the Internet (I’ve lumped them together here). As I said, it’s not so that we can be advertised to, we use it when we want to find things out or when we want to find out about things (including where we can buy them and how much they cost; we use it to be entertained, interested, informed – in a sort of lazy, passive way.
I’m not sure where this assertion came from but it rings true – we use the web (Google mostly) to look for things. We expect to find them quickly and, if we don’t, we’re back to the search results looking for a more useful site before you can say “click here to find out more”.
We use social media like
Facebook and Google+ (watch for this one – it promises to be huge) to be mindlessly entertained, to see what our friends ate for lunch and to see what they’ve shared – because we’ll probably be interested in some of the stuff they’re interested in.
I know from my own habits that overt sales messages or someone talking about themselves too much gets boring. I’ll read posts or articles or click through tweets or subscribe for emails if I think they’ll be interesting.
And our tolerance is low, too. I only read about 10% of the regular emails that come my way (and I know that only about 20% of the people who receive our Fish Tales open it to read it). We scan the heading and make a very quick decision about whether we read on or not – there’s so much stuff out there, we’re not interested in checking to make sure we don’t miss something interesting. If it’s really god, someone will share it again, anyway.
So, the social media contract – be interesting, useful, entertaining. Reveal something of yourself, share what you’ve learnt recently, pass on interesting and useful titbits (but not too many, that’s boring, too). It’s ephemeral – what you share or write is soon lost.
If people like what you say or share, when they go looking to buy what you’re selling, they will (probably) go and look for you – via whatever social media or web channel they’ve been.
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