7 crucial lessons from an embarrassing customer service train-wreck

stress in the workplace

We are all aware of the adage that “reputations are not built in a day” but it will be utterly foolish of us to believe that it is not broken in a day either.

Building up a secure customer base lies at the foundation of a credible business enterprise. In this regard, the quality of service provided to the customers speaks volumes about the company’s commitment towards delivering quality goods and services to its customers.

It is an acknowledged fact that however world-class a product may be, there is a myriad of things related to the delivery process of the product and at any given point of time one or several of those related processes can malfunction. Hence, the best way for a company to avoid embarrassment is to accept that there has been a fault on their side, apologize to the customer for the inconvenience caused and try and give the best customer service possible.

When such guidelines are not followed by the customer service providers, resentment builds up among the customer. This often leads to the kind of backlash which is harmful to the company’s overall reputation.

A few of the guidelines are listed below which pretty much sums up the entire agenda here.

1. Address the smoke before it turns into a wildfire

When a customer has a certain complaint about a product, however small it might be, he/she expects a speedy and proper resolution of the problem. The customer wants his problem to be heard and resolved. After all, the customer’s money is invested in the product and he/she has every right to be redressed. It is absolutely necessary for the company to acknowledge the issue and assure the customer of a speedy and efficient resolution.

If the customer’s complaint is neglected and worse, if the customer service team is  disrespectful towards him/her, then it won’t be much longer before the company starts losing its old customers as well as new.

2. All Publicity is not Good Publicity

If gathering eye-balls is the only goal of your company then probably this guideline is not for you. But if it isn’t then you have got to be cautious about the publicity that your company garners. Bad media attention can be damaging to a brand’s goodwill among its customers, both past and future. It can affect the way a brand is perceived and if the brand in question is a new and relatively smaller one then bad publicity can sink the brand itself.

3. All Customers Deserve to be Respected

Being treated disrespectfully is the last thing a customer wants from a company. Customers are the real assets of a company and they should be dealt with respectfully. When a customer comes to the customer service department with a complaint and is shrugged off by them, it leaves a bitter taste in the customer’s mouth. No one wants to be treated like second-class citizens. Period.

4. It’s not just the Customer Service team but the Whole Company that is accountable

The customer service team is the face of the company who convey the company’s intent to its customers. However, if the intent of the company is not right then sooner or later, it would reflect in their dealings with the customers. The responsibility towards dealing with the customers in a just and fair manner has to be diffused throughout the organization and every employee should know the right way of dealing with the customers.

5. A Positive Attitude is a Deal Maker

Customers mainly look for speedy resolution of their problems in a respectful manner. It doesn’t take huge expenditures to ensure goodwill among the customers. All it takes is a friendly attitude and intent of the customer service provider towards solving the issue at hand.

A positive and respectful behaviour shown toward customers builds up their trust and goodwill for the company. It also helps the company to retain the old customers. Being polite and courteous should be at the top of the customer service skills to be learned by the customer service providers. They should also be open to learn about ticketing tools that help business.

6. Customers can tolerate longer waiting time but not harassment

Customers want to get their problems resolved competently and in a timely manner. They don’t mind waiting if they are assured of efficient redress. Not listening to the customers carefully or shrugging them off is inappropriate behaviour which creates resentment and dissatisfaction among the customers. A friendly tone, professional behaviour, usage of respectful words and most importantly, giving due importance to the customer’s problem are few of the ways of developing a long-lasting relationship with the customers.

7. A Bad Reputation can Cost a Small Business very dearly

It is easier for big business houses to get away with faulty customer service due to their clout in the market. In the case of small business houses, crappy after sales service can create a bad reputation for the company which could be hard to overcome. A good reputation ensures a stable customer base which is essential for creating a positive brand image in the market. The opposite is true in equal measure as a bad reputation alienates the customers from the company creating a bad taste in everybody’s mouths.