In the first post of this series, Your Customer is Your Business, we had a good discussion on customer satisfaction and gave three qualities you need as a business owner to handle those ‘customers from hell, when, not if, you come in contact with them. We concluded that post by listing the disastrous 9 and in this post we’ll discuss the disastrous 9 and what to do to get rid of them in your businesses.
The disastrous 9:
- Rude service providers
- No apologies, refund or any form of compensation for wrong products or services
- Slow services
- Lack of availability of preferred products
- No customer loyalty rewards whatsoever
- Lack of organization in their giving information, providing service, businesses processes, etc
- Lack of information from front line staff – always checking with “Manager” for even the littlest bit of information
- Websites are outdated
- Lack of proper information on websites
We will divide the disastrous 9 into two groups: The first group will be called the intimate service group while the second group will be called the touchpoint service group.
The intimate service group consists of the first to fifth of the disastrous 9. I call this group the intimate service group because of the lack of intimacy between business and customer found in this group of disastrous 9. In our ‘How to keep your customers’ post series, we talked about customer loyalty and customer retention; that your business is in a relationship with its customers. A business that understands this concept should not have the intimate service group problems mentioned in the disastrous 9! You would not be rude to your intimate partners; you would apologies and try to compensate when you wrong them; you will make them priority; you would be there or have what they need when they need it and finally you would appreciate them for who they are to you!
I would like to identify the root causes of these problems and maybe by identifying the root causes for you, you can tackle the problems head on from the source of it.
Rude service providers
What’s the root cause of this issue? Management! As simple as that. Management is the root cause of rude service providers. What I mean by management is this: that the management staff are most of the times as rude as the front line staff or even worse. Why I say the management is the root cause of this issue is because I cannot imagine a business where a customer complains of being treated poorly by one of their staff and the management does nothing about it. The complaints will always get to the management and if the complaints don’t get to the management then that is still as a result of poor management. When management does nothing about this, the staff deems it ok!
How do you get rid of this?
The management needs to put their foot down and make it extremely clear to the staff that being rude to the customers is not an option. The management must make this very clear and also make very clear the consequences of not abiding to it. Whatever the line staff see the manager do, they also will do. I’ve witnessed a situation where a customer makes a complaint to the management, in person, about being treated poorly and the management responds in an even worse manner to the customer. Another situation is when the management tells the customer that they are sorry and that it will never happen again but behind the customer’s back, both the manager and the staff laugh over it. I’ll tell you something, that business has no depth in it! The depth of intimacy you have with your customers will determine the depth of success your business can achieve! So when you laugh over customer service issues, you’re directly laughing at your business success, laughing with your failure.
The depth of intimacy you have with your customers will determine the depth of success your business can achieve! So when you laugh over customer service issues, you’re directly laughing at your business success, laughing with your failure.
No apologies, refund or any form of compensation for wrong products or services
The root cause for this is company policies. No staff can do anything if refunds and/or compensations are not included in company policies. Most businesses in Nigeria are guilty as charged of this issue. We almost always hear these words or see them written in the receipts “no refund policy” when we purchase their products. Businesses should come up with fair refund and/or compensation policies because this is a key part to customer satisfaction. Customers want to trust you enough that when they return faulty goods that you will be reasonable enough.
Slow services and Lack of availability of preferred products
These two issues are birds of the same feather and you know what they say about birds of the same feather, they flock together! I say they are birds of the same feather because they both have the same root cause, which is poor business processes.
Effective processes that cuts across all of your business functionalities and shares information easily with all your staff will solve the slow service issue while a good supply chain management software and making decisions based on your business data will solve the issue of lack of availability of preferred products. By this you will know what your customers’ preferred products are and make them available at all times.
No customer loyalty rewards whatsoever
This issue, on the other hand, has its root cause in the understanding of being in a relationship with your customers. Read our post on Customer loyalty and customer retention if your business is having this issue. You need to appreciate your loyal customers. Sacrifice one product for a customer. A customer is worth many products; a customer is worth your business. Don’t give me that ‘I’m not big enough to give discounts’ nonsense! Yes, it is nonsense no matter how small your business is presently. You want to grow don’t you? What can make your business grow? Customers! Your customers are your business! Investing in them is investing in your business. Give discounts to loyal customers. Give them reward cards, birthday discounts, whatever you can come up with. Show them that they are appreciated.
A customer is worth many products; a customer is worth your business. Show them that they are appreciated.
That’s about it for the intimate service group problems. The touchpoint service group of the disastrous 9, on the other hand, should be a lot simpler to discuss but in reality a lot more complex to fix compared to the intimate service group.
Why is it called the touchpoint service group? It is called touchpoint service group because they all represent service touchpoints between the customer and the business. There’s a whole methodology on service touchpoints that can do your business good if implemented correctly. In this group, the businesses have failed to impress at the service touchpoints. Touchpoints are where a consumer and a business interacts in any form of communication.
The remaining four issues of the disastrous 9 all have one root cause; and it is poor communication. There is no communication between the staff and this results to a messy touchpoint with the customers. Because of this root cause, there is no organization in your business, your front line staff has no clue about your products or services, your websites remain outdated and when they are updated, they are filled with inaccurate information.
To solve these four issues is simple in theory but complex in practice. 3 things you can do
- Management communicate with their staff on business products and services; your employees are your businesses’ internal customers and you also need to be intimate with them.
- Your staff should share the vision of your business and should be able to give good information about your business to customers.
- When something goes wrong, communicate this with your customers in all transparency and honesty. Do not give in to the ‘Nigerian-tailor syndrome’. Be honest in your communications and have a little trust in your customers.
Let me share this image again with you on the impact of good communication and impressive touchpoints with your customers.
I know the way I’ve come across these issues seem a little bit too simple, but in practice it can remain simple or it can get complex depending on certain factors, change resistance inclusive, surrounding your organization. Customer satisfaction will not happen overnight I can assure you that, but taking the first step brings it a lot closer than you could ever imagine.
If you’re wondering why I have a very ashamed statue and a hopeful sponge bob image side by side as the feature image of this post, you guessed it right! Your business might be in a customer service mess right now but there is hope!
Customer satisfaction can be achieved and we can help you achieve it!
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We are Ya’ats Advisory Services and we’re here to bring customer satisfaction your way.