It should be the easiest thing to do, yet many people and companies fail to put the customer first.
Communication is at the heart of any good relationship. But, as we all know, communication is what most relationships lack in order to be great. From life to work, our relationships fail mainly because we don’t communicate as well as we should. Businesses that don’t communicate well suffer reputationally and, eventually, on the bottom line. Being out of touch with your customers not only creates higher levels of dissatisfaction, it means you miss out on those opportunities to connect with customers on new revenue opportunities.
We’ve been going through some recent website migrations that demonstrate how poor customer service, and not following through with promises, affects reputations, new sales opportunities, and word of mouth. In our case, we were given specific services and promises on those services that never materialized. The deadlines went from 24-72 hours to 10 days then three and four weeks. The sales team for the vendor made promises that the technology team didn’t or couldn’t keep. Then, upon pointing out the multiple delays and the promises to return funds for failed services, the sales team disappeared, and the technology team seemed unaware of the promised deadlines we were given. Like some large companies today, these teams for the vendor don’t have direct lines, so not only is it impossible for the customer to communicate back to the vendor except through email, the vendor teams themselves can’t connect internally. The only option for the customer is to call and get a new rep every time or email the team member responsible for the file. What makes it worse is the internal teams for the vendor can’t even pick up the phone to call each other. They, too, need to trade emails among themselves. The entire process becomes a game of telephone, where no one really knows what’s been promised or what’s happening. Sure, they take notes, but what good are the notes when you get a new team member to talk to every time? You must re-explain the entire situation to someone new, which takes the patience of a Saint to deal with.
For anyone who might have processes that aren’t customer-centric or user friendly, it might be time to re-look at your customer service and re-imagine yourself as the customer. It’s a worthwhile exercise to try your systems yourself, as the customer, and see what level of satisfaction you feel. Then, apply that understanding to re-imagining your customer service model. It’s not enough to make it efficient for you internally. It’s most important to take the perspective of the customer and eliminate their pain points and frustration. In finding better ways to communicate with your customers, you might find many more of them picking up the phone and buying what you sell. Without your customer, you have no business. Your customer tells you what they want or need, which allows you as the organization to innovate to satisfy their needs equating to a sale. It doesn’t always take a lot to go from GOOD to GREAT, communication and an excellent customer experience can take you to great. Otherwise, you might be waiting by the phone wondering why it’s not ringing.
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