Eventually, you will have an unhappy customer who calls to complain. Sometimes it is a misunderstanding that can be explained quickly and sometimes the customer has resisted complaining for quite some time and has finally reached the limit of their patience.
In all cases, listening to the full explanation is critical before responding.
Recently, I called the local newspaper to complain about my delivery service. The delivery had been unacceptable for three months and I finally reached the limit of my patience.
The customer service representative was CLEARLY reading responses to me, starting with “I’m sorry you are having this problem” followed by a scripted response.
I asked two questions: Does your newspaper still promise delivery before 7 a.m.? Do I have a new delivery person? The response was complete silence, presumably while the representative was searching for the answer to read to me.
I was offered the digital version of the newspaper for the day that I called, but I CLEARLY explained my complaint was not just about TODAY, but about the LAST THREE MONTHS.
Perhaps this was not in the handbook of canned responses because I got silence again.
Finally, I said “please note my file that I have complained about my service” and ended the call.
I left the experience with more aggravation than I began. Now I am considering cancelling my service entirely.
Hopefully your front line customer service team is sincerely devoted to customer retention.
If you have an unhappy customer:
First, listen carefully.
Second, apologize and repeat back what you understand the problem to be.
Third, if the solution is not obvious, it’s OK to ask the customer what outcomes they would like to see. In my example, I wanted two things – a note on the file that delivery was not acceptable, and moving forward, delivery daily by 7 a.m.
Fourth, offer to touch base in the near future to make sure that the problem is solved.
Show you actually care and are not just hiring people to read scripted answers. Make sure that your website has a place where your customers can write to you and then make sure the emails are monitored and a response sent in a timely manner.
At Mind Your Own Business, we can help with solutions to help you mind your own business better.
Recently, an IT service provider confidently declared his expertise in handling a task. Trust was given and the results were disastrous. This service provider ruined operating systems and deleted software, gave inaccurate advice and left the customer with a lost contract, three days of downtime, huge frustration and a lesson learned. The original task was ultimately completed.
The lesson? Take the time to check track records, testimonials and whether expertise claims are coming from someone skilled in self promotion or whether they are earned through experience and success.
At Mind Your Own Business, we urge new clients to have a meet and great, no charge meeting with us first with a full discussion to avoid surprises. Our goal is to be worthy of your trust, so that we can work together to help you mind your own business better.
Does your company have a Customer Service policy? Or does your company respond to what the Customer would like? At Mind Your Own Business, we spend time with our customers during the “Meet and Greet” at the beginning of our relationship, to find out what communication and processes will serve them best – you could say a custom approach to Customer service. After all, it’s about the customer!
We have been experiencing huge growth in the bookkeeping area of our business services and when we ask the new customer what was lacking in their previous service, the answers are becoming familiar. We hear that some other companies don’t answer the phone, are slow to return calls, accept the questions and don’t respond with clear answers and are unclear about billing.
Some customers want each email acknowledged, while others would go crazy with this additional activity in their inbox. Therefore, a customer’s expectation and expressed wishes become the foundation for being able to provide superior “customer service”.
Are your customers feeling like they are getting the best customer service? If not, they might be our next new client.
“Never mistake motion for action” Ernest Hemingway
We have realized that action in moving our businesses forward creates momentum. Conversely, falling in a rut can result in a standstill.
Many business owners look forward to a slower pace in the summer, some stolen time away to the cottage or even the great outdoors at home. However, this does not mean that action has to stop in moving your business forward. In fact, a slower pace is a fantastic time to consider refreshing branding, renewing your website, focusing on business development and developing creative strategies. These actions are time well invested.
Last year, a colleague at a networking group warned us all to make sure that our networking efforts were more than “not working” ! We can run around being busy without advancing business goals. Summer is an excellent opportunity to reflect and focus on business development.
At Mind Your Own Business, we love to brainstorm with business owners and help them move forward and grow. Check out our Services page and realize that having Virtual Administrators on your team can lighten your load all year!
Actual Excuses received for not paying an overdue invoice for work completed:
- Business has been slow but picking up
- Kids have needs
- Ailing parents
- Recovering from surgeries
- Settling my divorce finally and freeing up monies that have been locked up
- Avoiding bankruptcy
- I need more time
My favourite excuses received include an email that was sent to me from a delinquent client who claimed that his computer crashed and he lost my contact information. What? You’re emailing me! This IS my contact information………
This excuse is almost award winning for creativity:
I sent an etransfer last week but you didn’t accept it.
I even received an email early one Saturday morning saying that the etransfer was sent yesterday and the password I need to use “will be” [insert password here]. Half an hour later, the etransfer came along. This client was 7 months overdue with a deadline of yesterday – I suppose he woke up the next day and jumped on email to “rectify”?
Non-payment will always be a challenge in business, for every business. This is such a common topic of discussion between small business owners because non-payment is really tough on a small business or new business. It’s wonderful to have compassion and give each situation careful consideration. However, the time spent chasing, reminding, waiting and feeling frustrated and disrespected is time wasted.
Make sure your business is always moving forward and evolving. It’s OK to revise policies and start new ones, such as requiring a deposit from new customers, discussing payment requirements up front, having a contract with clear payment policy and scope of work outlined.
All reminders, emails and phone call dates should be documented.
For the really sticky, overdue accounts, pass the file to a good Collection Agency. This will cost you money, and save you time. But Time is Money after all. Clear the file off your desk and out of your mind. Focus on business development and on the other valued clients – a better place to invest your time and energy.