Good customer service is critical for any entrepreneur who wants to build a successful startup.
Generally, a customer who gets treated well tends to spend more money. However, getting customer service right is more complex than it sounds.
Mistakes will always happen and are a constant source of improvement, but sometimes errors can be hard to identify. Therefore, to succeed, you will want to identify and anticipate pitfalls before making them.
To that end, here are six customer service mistakes you cannot afford to make:
1. Focusing Too Much on the Big Picture
The big picture of your customer service plan is essential, but you can’t skimp on the little things. For example, promotions and incentives will not compensate for poor tone of voice or lack of consistency in message and language. On the other hand, even a tiny pop-up asking them for feedback can make your customer service seem warmer.
2. Focusing Entirely on First Impressions
First impressions are fantastic and critical to the success of a startup. Making sure that your customers immediately get help and service the moment they find friction can significantly improve their experience and can quickly create a return customer. Unfortunately, however, many entrepreneurs focus too much on the first impressions, often at the cost of aftercare.
Your post-sale customer support matters. Check your buyer journey and see if your startup pays attention to customers, whether asking for feedback or offering deals. Even an automated “thank you” message can make your startup memorable.
3. Not Focusing on the Customer
There is nothing wrong with focusing on your startup. However, your first focus should be on the customer. Putting your customer first is critical to your success, as they will form the foundation of your future. A business whose brand is maligned or has poor customer service will not last long.
To determine if you are appropriately focused on your customers, put yourself in their shoes. Try to act as they would as they encounter your brand. Then, find out how easy or difficult it is to get what they want. The more difficulty or friction there is, the less customer-focused you are.
4. Overcomplicating the Sales Funnel
Customer service minimizes the need for direct intervention from your staff. Every step of the sales process must be frictionless. Every difficulty is a point when consumers can throw their hands up and go elsewhere.
Never make a customer work to buy your product. Every part of the process should be as easy and intuitive as possible. Not only does that maximize what you get out of your sales funnel, but the ease of purchase also makes customers happy.
5. Not Accepting Responsibility
Everyone makes mistakes. What is important is what you do afterward. If your startup or its customer service team trips, they must accept responsibility. At no point should anyone try to blame the user. Even if it is a mistake that your manufacturer made, the negative experience your customer experienced is still with your company. Accept that responsibility and be accountable.
Aside from taking responsibility for mistakes being an ethical move, there are many benefits to being accountable. Accountable companies tend to get return business from customers, for example, even if they had negative experiences with that business. In addition, even a quick apology can soothe someone’s temper, so don’t hesitate to apologize whenever necessary.
6. Having Too Many Customer Support Channels
On paper, having multiple ways to reach your customer service team seems like a good idea. However, having too many methods can work against your startup. The foremost problem is workforce and cost. More channels mean more people are required to efficiently monitor them all, as well as potential expenses in software. Failure to assign enough people can lead to complaints being missed, which leads to negative reviews.
You do not need to be available on every platform out there – you just need to cover your bases. For example, a phone number is critical. Many people still prefer doing business by phone, and there are situations where a phone call is the only option or when it’s more appropriate than trying to find a solution online. You should also have email and a website or instant messaging options.
If you find yourself unable to handle your customer service needs, consider outsourcing to a third party or utilizing an answering service. Companies like Absent Answer can provide a professional telephone customer service team and handle your calls 24/7 for a fraction of what it costs to hire additional staff.
While those are far from the only mistakes you need to avoid, knowing about them can get you off to a good start. Your future as an entrepreneur will lie heavily on how well you treat your customers. Give them the time and respect they deserve, and you will be rewarded.
Need help with your telephone customer service? Absent Answer can deliver professional support on your behalf 24 hours a day. Click here for plans and pricing.