Bad Habits Your Customers Can’t Stand

Bad Habits Your Customers Can’t Stand

When you’ve been walking around the office with a drop of mustard on your shirt and someone hands you a Tide To Go pen, or when a coworker points out your tie peeking out from under your collar before your presentation, there’s a sense of appreciation for being made aware of something that may have escaped your notice. All too often people are equally unaware of the bad habits they’ve developed or fallen into when it comes to the daily grind of doing business. Whether its filling people’s inboxes up with tiresome emails or how you handle your customer service, there are some huge turn offs for customers that being made aware of may just help you avoid the type of behavior that turns people away.

Inaccessibility

Accessibility comes in many forms. It may be something as simple as an easy-to-find phone number on your Chinese take-out menu or website rather than having to click two or three links before getting to the contact info. Other times it’s about keeping hours that may not fall in the classic nine-to-five time frame but suit your clientele better. At any rate, it’s essential to maintain that open-for-business sense of availability to your customers. People don’t even like playing phone tag with close friends and family, let alone with a business or service provider. By keeping the lights on and the lines open you reassure customers that when they need you, you’ll be there. Few things do more damage to a professional relationship that a missed cry for help with a big project or emergency service call. On the flip side, customers remember when you keep the shop open an extra twenty minutes for them to swing by after work or go the extra mile to get what they need done.

Not Taking Customer Feedback Seriously

One thing customers hate more than their issues being mishandled is when their feedback isn’t taken seriously, or worse, ignored. People want to be made to feel important and set apart from the great unwashed. By acknowledging the reviews and comments of the people you do business with, whether they’re good or bad – even more importantly when they’re bad – you’re displaying that you recognize the importance of their input. Even outside the worlds of business and commerce people need and want to know that their opinion matters. Don’t neglect this need in your organization’s day to day operations. Taking immediate action isn’t even the point to bear in mind here; simply realizing where your customers are coming from and what they’re trying to say on a personal level without just trying to end the phone call can make all the difference. Small business owners believe their products and services improve the lives of their customers and clients. Listen attentively to those very people you do the work for.

Being Bounced Around

As discussed, people value being taken and treated seriously with their issues. Nothing does more to undermine this feeling than being handed off from one associate or employee to the next, patience quickly disappearing with each recounting of the original problem. Why take someone’s information when they’re just going to have to provide those identical details to another office or operator? And with each contact people are less likely to give it. Retelling your situation sucks. It also presents an image of disarray in your outfit, evidently incapable of operating smoothly behind the scenes or maintaining clear lines of communication.

Personalize the interaction you have with your customers. Going off script and recalling details of other conversations or transactions helps create a better connection. Lastly, don’t forget about folks once their problem has been solved. Courtesy calls and check-ins help maintain relationships. And be sure not to be a stranger in the good times as well as the bad.

Not Having the Answers

Businesspeople and service providers get paid because they know what they’re doing. Or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. A great way to lose a potential client or ignite the fury of a customer or someone making an inquiry is simply not knowing the answers to their questions. People gravitate naturally to knowledgeable organizations and have no patience for a halfhearted I don’t know. You can look up anything on Google. Customers pay you to know better and have the answer or the information that suits their specific needs.

Give Your Business Relationships Personal Attention

Just like any personal relationship, the connection between your organization and your customers requires a little give and take. Be willing to take no for an answer. Don’t flood someone’s inbox or voicemail with desperate pleas or invitations. Don’t blow off the important people in your professional life. Show up on time and keep the excuses to a minimum. Nobody anywhere is attracted to bragging or being interrupted. In keeping these pretty simple maxims and habits in mind and at the forefront of your interactions and customers and clients will appreciate it.

About author

Philip Barry
Philip Barry 18 posts

Philip Barry is a featured contributor to AgeOfTheSmallBusiness.com. After graduating from Fairfield University with a B.A. in French and International Studies he lived in Bordeaux, France for four years before serving with the U.S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia.

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