“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” ~Bill Gates
If you tell a myth over and over again, you eventually believe that myth to be true. It doesn’t matter what subject: history (the lost continent of Atlantis), sports (remember Sidd Finch?), or animals (Loch Ness monster, anyone?), the more you say it, the more you believe it.
So with that in mind, let’s go over five customer service myths you need to stop believing right now. (There’s a lot more than five, but it’s a good place to start.)
- The customer is always right. Let’s get to this one right away. No, no, a thousand times no, the customer is not always right. But I can guarantee you the customers always think they are right. And that is where the delicate problem arises. No matter how wrong they might be, it is very important to make sure that throughout the encounter they are treated with dignity and respect. The goal is to make it a win-win situation where everyone walks away happy and stress-free. And that is where proper training and education comes in for all employees. Communication is key where the employee is willing to listen to the customer (face-to-face, by phone, email, chat, etc.) in order to show the customer is valued. Creating an open dialogue helps build a relationship. It’s important to remember, while the customer is not always right, the customer is always the customer.
- Great customer service means putting the customers first. While this may make sense on the surface, I might put it another way. Great customer service means putting your employees first. Because if your employees are motivated, encouraged and engaged in a positive work culture than they will put your customers first. Everyone wins in that scenario. Companies that create a positive work environment that empowers employees and supports them with personal development programs have less turnover and higher rates of employee and customer satisfaction.
- If you’re not getting many complaints then your customers must be happy. Actually, the opposite may be true. According to Salesforce, 74% of consumers who have a bad buying experience will just walk away without telling you, so it’s imperative that you listen to customers who do complain. They are giving you a gift and helping you improve your product or service. The least you can do is listen to them. It’s important that customers have multiple channels to get in touch with you, and equally important you respond in a timely manner, depending on the channel. And just for the fun of it, make sure you reach out to a few customers you haven’t heard from, just to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase.
- Low price equals happy customers. It could be that your customers are happy because you have the lowest price in town. But if a competitor suddenly offers lower prices than you, kiss them goodbye. Consumers who shop on price alone are always looking for the next lower price and are not loyal to anyone. That is why your customer service and the overall customer experience must be the deciding factor. According to the 2017 American Express Customer Service Barometer, 70% of Americans are willing to spend more money with a company that delivers great service.
- If you met your customer’s needs, your job is done. If you really want to stand out in a crowd, you cannot just meet the expectations of your customers; you have to exceed them in order to build a loyal following. I was raised in the travel and cruise industry, where every week we wanted to deliver an “exceptional experience that exceeds expectations,” in order to keep our customers coming back. We wanted to create little “wow” moments that created lasting memories. It’s those memories that will ensure repeat business. It could be as simple as a handwritten thank you card or a personal phone call. Use your imagination.
- Bonus Myth! Since you’ve made it this far, here’s a bonus myth to stop believing right now: Customer satisfaction equals customer loyalty. It’s all in the title of Jeffrey Gitomer’s book: Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. They may be satisfied for the moment, but if they don’t come back, it doesn’t matter how good the product or service might be. Loyalty comes from the sum total of all their experiences with your company
There are many more myths out there that you need to stop believing. Maybe for another post. These six are a good place to start.