Interestingly recently I had a very bad experience booking some accommodation. Out of anything that bad, can come some good. It seems that sometimes we are just loosing sight of the fact that customer (experience) service is in many cases more important than the products we are selling. So I have put together this quick list of what went wrong and how any business can learn from these mistakes:
If you offer a method of communication with your customer, be that email, phone, fax, sms, online chat, whatever, ensure that you do in fact communicate with them and reply to any correspondence. Use an answering machine or voice mail for your phone would be a very good starting point. Also review your recorded messages and auto response emails from time to time.
Keep information up to date.
Ensure that the information you provide is current be that on your web site, or with a reseller or the like. There is nothing worse than promoting services that you no longer provide. You do all the work selling then just can’t deliver. It just leaves bad feelings all around.
Computer illiteracy is not an excuse
It is nearly 2010, saying that you don’t know how to use your website, or even your computer to check for emails is not an excuse. If you are in business you need to get your head around this technology. If you or your staff can’t then you really have to seriously look at why you should remain in business.
Appearance and business currency
It is very important to ensure that you don’t give the appearance that you are no longer in business. This is essential in an online world. The web is littered with sites that are dead, abandoned businesses, that are no longer in operation. Still they appear in search engines. Usually the average Joe determines if the site is active or not based completely on the currency of the content and professional appearance of the web site. Having not updated your site in six or even twelve months and having the same design as it had in 1998 isn’t really going to help you much. Customers will just assume you are no longer in business.
Sell the Service
To often people forget to be able to present your best customer experience you have to forget about the products you are selling, and instead focus on the service that you provide in selling those products. As people really like to interact with other people, so it’s often the service that makes the difference in relation to customer loyalty, not the product, but how you delivery it. In an online world this can be little things in the design of the website or your delivery process that provides for that perfect service.
Relate to your customers
Your customers are people. Yes I know it’s hard to remember this sometimes, but they are. Often it pays to just stop for a moment and think about what your customers are seeing. What does your business look like from their initial contact with you. Be that from your website, phone or reseller to the final service (even product) provision. Try and relate and understand their feelings, concerns and rectify any nagging doubts they may have. They will love you for it.
Regardless there will be some items that I have missed, feel free to add them below.