Bad Customer Service

“Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.” – Michael LeBoeuf

Customer Service as a modus operandi is aimed at building and maintaining solidarity and bonding with its customers. Customers must experience a feeling of satisfaction and happiness from the service rendered in order to provide repeat business. Such customers also recommend highly the company’s brand and services to their associates and friends. Bad Customer Service has the complete reverse effect. Customers get highly irritated and vexed enough to damage the reputation of the company that treated them shabbily. Most irate customers will stop doing business with the company and also ensure that their contacts know the details of the bad customer service they received goading them to stay away from the company. As communicating via social media becomes more widespread, the threat of irreparable damage, to the company’s reputation, becomes more potent. Airing displeasure and ire over these media does not only influence other current customers but also potential ones.

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Companies need to wake up to this truth now – there is no waiting period any longer. They must have started thinking on their feet to ensure that there are no bad customer service experiences. You will save time, money and reputation by being pro-active in preventing this rather than reacting after it happens. For even loyal customers, just one instance of bad customer service is enough to ditch your company and seek out a new one even if they must pay more. Pricing does not seem to be the only differentiator any more. Simple acts of courteousness and politesse seems to work well with customers.

It would be bad customer service if:

– The staff fails to smile and greet the customer (even over the phone). Customers need to feel important and not acknowledging their presence has quite the opposite effect

– Disconnecting the call of an angry customer calls undoubtedly is one of the worst kind of customer service. It may not be easy dealing with a customer who is yelling at you, but all it takes is a few moments of allowing the customer to vent. It must be clearly understood that the customer is so enraged because of something your company did.

– The problem is not acknowledged. Failing to apologize for the error and thanking the customer for providing the opportunity for improvement amounts to poor business sense. These common niceties emanate a high professional company and customer service attitude and customers love it.

– You use technical terms that amounts to jargon for your customer. When a customer is angry and has vent his feelings, he or she expects to hear words that provide solutions. Trying to explain to them with technical words they can’t understand just amounts to gibberish, which they won’t thank you for.

– Not only ignoring the problem but also putting the customer on hold without informing and asking permission to do so. The customer would most likely disconnect, walk away and you will never know why.

– Customer service representatives are eating or drinking while interacting with a customer. That is just plain rude

– You are distracted and avoiding eye contact. One of the ways a person knows that the other person is listening is when there is a discreet amount of eye contact. Shifty eyes just say rude, disinterested and dishonest!

– Bad mouthing the company you work for. How could you possibly expect a customer to have faith in your company when they can clearly perceive that the employees of the company are unhappy? The customer will surely seek out your competitor!

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– Creating a social gathering like atmosphere while servicing customers will not go down well with customers. They don’t have time to waste and are most certainly not interested in your social life. You are there for a purpose – serving them. If you are doing anything else on their time, you are undoubtedly dishing out bad customer service.
These are some of the most prevalent and noticeable signs of bad customer service which seem to be all-pervading. Getting a hold of these signs will help you to attack these bad behaviours and overcome them. Bad customer service does and will adversely impact business since you will be creating a divide between you and your customer enough to estrange them for good. Additionally, they will carry these ‘horror stories’ wherever they go. As word of your customer service ineptitude spreads you will notice:

• Decrease in sales due to the fact that your customers are not giving you repeat business and also preventing others from doing so. This will directly impact the root of your company and its prospects of growth and success.

• Your good reputation turning bad almost overnight. Word of mouth of irate customers plays the major role in causing this failure. You would do it too if you were treated shabbily as a customer.

• Prospective and hopeful customers that approach you would be sorely disappointed if they were treated poorly. Customers seek to invest time and money in your company and if the overall impression of your company is one of disregard, rudeness and callousness they would rather invest their resources where they would be valued. No potential customers mean a loss of future business. Bad customer service leads to current customers running away, potential customers turning away – translating to ‘TIME TO CLOSE BUSINESS FOR GOOD.’

• An elevated number of complaints. If customer service is incompetent, high level managers and leadership will find themselves having to deal with customer complaints. This escalation is bound to take time and would always be more time than a customer perceives as ideal creating the vicious cycle of unresolved complaints leading to increased number of complaints.

• High employee attrition. Irrespective of whose fault it is no ones like being insulted or shouted at. Customers who are unhappy will continue this abrasive behaviour and employees will be increasingly dissatisfied and will seek other companies that respect them. Recruiting new employees and bringing them up to speed to service customers takes time, money and energy. Newer employees take time to adjust and will unlikely to be able to provide good service to the customers.

• Loss and decrease in your investors. As word of your shaky company health spreads, business partners and investors may decide not to continue partnering with you. This could lead to serious loss in liquid funds and operating budgets. With no new business and loss of current monetary inflow, the situation will worsen and reach a point of no return.

“Good service is good business.” – Siebel Ad

As customer service representatives and as a company as a whole, it must be understood that customers are probably going to turn abusive and abrasive. Being able to deal with this objectively will help to keep your customer service at acceptable levels. Proper, applicable and relevant training is a must to empower and motivate your customer service staff. Bad customer service cannot and does not have an excuse and a customer is unlikely to sit around trying to understand why you served him or her shabbily on a given day. Why should they? Employees and companies need to make the constant effort to ensure that customers never have to experience poor and bad service. Company’s need to understand that customer service is a challenging and very often thankless job and so must have robust reward and incentives programs to keep the morale boosted.

Customer Service seems to have beaten pricing to gain the number one spot as the decider between success and failure, customer loyalty and customer attrition. Pleasing and gratifying customers is not easy and is unlikely to get easy in the future. The easiest route to remain successful, have high profits, happy employees and a long standing reputation is to create memorable customer service. Do everything possible to ensure that customers never experience bad customer service and will be always happy and ready to be your brand ambassadors.

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways

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