Thursday, 11 October 2018 17:26

Crucial Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid

Every business has customers who can be overly demanding or difficult to work with. Successful companies, customer service expert Nausheen Popat notes, “know that following the spirit, rather than the letter, of the law when dealing with complaints can make a world of difference to a customer’s experience while having little impact on the company’s bottom line.”

At Baillie Lumber, we have a long history of honoring our customers and doing everything in our power to fulfill their needs. We also recognize that the “art” of customer service continuously changes, and that it’s vitally important to check (and double-check) the processes by which we provide customer service. DSC3378

Here are common customer service mistakes we watch out for and strive to avoid at all times:

  1. Not listening to what customers have to say. Sometimes companies fail to pay close attention to what customers have to tell them. They assume they understand the issue being raised, while actually missing out on the circumstances behind a complaint—or, in some cases, a customer’s genuine desire to simply be heard. Customer service staff should be trained in the art of active listening, in order to drill down when necessary.
  1. Overly automated responses. Technology makes it easy to automate your customer service response lines, but it’s not always a good idea to rely upon automation. “Don’t automate just because you can,” cautions business writer Stephanie Post. The less direct contact you have with customers, the greater the likelihood they’ll be dissatisfied with your business. As much as possible, “provide a variety of different communication modes, as some customers prefer online chat while others want to talk to a person over the phone.”
  1. Poorly trained or motivated staff. Businesses can do better about training employees in the proper type of customer service skills they need. This can include encouraging a certain degree of autonomy among customer-facing staff, enabling them to make “exceptions” to company policy if circumstances demand it. Another key element of quality service is honing the ability to offer solutions to problems the customer faces, rather than emphasizing any errors the customer may have made in the use of your product or service.
  1. Getting embroiled in online disputes. Customers have a powerful tool for voicing their displeasure in the form of social media. Of course, a business will feel tempted to quarrel with these complaints in the same online forum. But that can prove to be a serious customer service mistake.“Even if you are right, people watching the drama unfold, can turn against you or be repulsed by the unprofessional handling of what should be a private conversation,” says entrepreneur Karen Repoli. Instead, take the opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism. 

At Baillie Hardwood Lumber, this means everyone from the hardwood forester speaking to a landowner about some Red Oak, White Oak or Cherry on their land, to the lumber buyer, the forklift driver, all the way through to the office receptionist, is committed to customer service. They all share a role in helping our customers realize the greatest value they can when using our products and services.

What customer service tips do you have that have made a difference for you? Let us know!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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