Want to win your customers’ hearts? This is what not to do.

Hands up if you have ever received customer service that was so bad that it left a nasty taste in your mouth.

If you have your hand up, I feel your pain!

It happened to me a while back. As someone who has been in customer service training for like a hundred years (ok, I know that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture), I was able to recognize the store’s lack of empathy.

As you can imagine, I do not ever want to go back.

Sometimes it’s not the major issues that disappoint your customers. Sometimes it’s the subtle underlying indifference. The lack of empathy. The things that make a customer feel like he/she is just a cash cow.

My experience was not so bad. I know people who have experienced worse.

But it still highlighted a few areas that anyone who is interested in building long-lasting relationships with customers and making evangelists out of them should be aware of.

This is what happened….

The store in question is a leading brand in sportswear.

My husband and I desperately needed a good quality T-shirt so we were pleasantly surprised to find a T-shirt that was within our budget. And it was the last piece!

So like a kid in a candy store, I grabbed the T-shirt and took it to the check out counter.

But alas, when we got to the there, the manager checked the price on the T-shirt and UNAPOLOGETICALLY told us that the price was wrong. That we were expected to pay an extra six dollars as per the price at their point of sale.

Now please stay with me. It’s not about the 6 dollars. I’m heading somewhere with this….

When delivering the message, he (the manager), committed some customer service cardinal sins as follows;

1. His Tone:

The manager was unapologetic and his tone, as well as his expression pretty much said, “Six dollars more. Take it or leave it! You are wasting my time…”

2. Lack of Empathy:

There was no apology for the fact that we needed the t-shirt the next day and the price on the t-shirt was misleading.

3. Passing the Blame:

When we asked him why the price on the tag was different from the price at the point of sale, he pointed at his staff and blamed him for the error. My jaw dropped! The staff who had been blamed (who was probably new from the look of things) looked like he was about to pass out with embarrassment!

That passing of the blame was the straw that broke the camel’s back for us. As you might have guessed, we were out of there faster than a speeding bullet. And off we went to a competitor’s store.

When we narrated our story to the competitor, they quickly jumped on board and gave us the best service ever!

Now compare the service that we got from the first store to the service at the online shoe store Zappos.

Zappos customer service team is known for going the extra mile come hell or high water.

They are renowned for putting themselves in their customers’ shoes. (No pun intended).

In this instance, the customer reported premature wear and tear to his Zappos shoes after only two years. He felt that the shoes should have lasted longer given Zappos commitment to quality.

Zappos’s customer service team apologized and did not stop there. They sent the customer a brand new pair of the same product and asked him to keep the old! (Somebody say WOW!)

Take another example of an online clothing store that I had ordered from a few years back.

Due to some mix-up, the store sent me two of the same item. When I contacted them, they apologized and said that I could keep both.

Since I did not need two of the same item, I offered to send one back. They asked me to attach the shipping receipt to the item, and they were going to refund the shipping cost to my credit card. (Double WOW!!)

I was so impressed by their service that I shipped the item back but did not include the shipping receipt.

Today, I am a big fan of their store and continue to recommend them to my friends and family.

Now back to the manager who was hung up on the six dollars. What could he have done?

It’s simple;

o Not pass errors to the customer: As per the consumer act, if the price on the tag is lower that than the price at the point of sale, the buyer pays the price on the tag. That notwithstanding, the manager should have written off the 6 dollars or given a 6-dollar store credit. Something to make up for the misleading information.

o Not blame a member of staff — especially not in earshot of the customers: If indeed the employee had made an error, he should have been corrected in private. Praise should always be done in public and reprimands in private. Neutral language like, “there is an error in the price tag” would have been better than pointing a finger at one person. Embarrassing the staff member was completely unnecessary.

o Not focus on the 6 dollars: Customer service is not about sales numbers: Whilst sales targets are important, building relationships with customers is just as key. And by customers, I’m talking about both external customers and internal customers. Happy employees make customers happy.

The above are just but a few tips and tricks that can win your customer’s hearts. Remember, customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but when you are not, they would like you to make it right and not pass the blame.

Customers who are made to feel appreciated are;

· Three times more likely to recommend your product or service

· Three times more likely to repurchase

· Less likely to shop around

· Much less price sensitive

Final Thoughts

If you are a business owner, freelancer or work in a capacity where you interact with customers on a daily basis, always remember how you felt when you received bad service and strive to never make your customers feel the same way.

In this day and age when everyone and his cousins are lacking around the corner waiting to start the same business as yours, it only takes the blink of an eye for them to seize an opportunity to jump in and swoop your unhappy customers off their feet…

Did you find this helpful? Share with a friend and don’t forget to drop me a comment down below…:)