The silent exit of poor customer service

Kelli's editMost customers who feel they have been the recipients of poor customer service will never vocalize their feelings to a particular organization. According to First Financial Training Services and the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, only four percent of dissatisfied customers ever complain making the other 96 percent essentially ripe for the picking when another company offering similar services or products appear in the horizon.

Typically an unhappy customer who perceives that attitude of indifference will tell eight to ten of their friends, coworkers or family members about their bad experiences, and one in five people will tell 20 others. As the story spreads, it can become similar to the kitten over-breeding-epidemic – way out of control.

So what are some of the more obvious signs of poor customer service that silently drive customers away?  Here are a few observations:

  • There are no employees at the store’s front service desk.
  • Floor personnel are talking on their cell phones.
  • Managers ignore customers.
  • No direct eye-contact with personnel and customers.
  • Employees who are not familiar with the entire store – only one department.
  • Rude employees.
  • The attitude of indifference as perceived by a customer.

All is not lost however, since seven out of ten customers will continue to do business with an organization if their complaint is resolved, and 95 percent of consumers will be even happier if the problem is resolved immediately. While statistics also show that the average business spends six times more money to attract new customers and clients, loyalty from the current customers is also very important. Business comes from all over, and a growing client base is what grows a business.

As business owners do we necessarily recognize the signs of bad customer service? The answers actually depend on the owner or managers who first must demonstrate their interest in providing the best experience for every customer or client who interacts with their organizations. The CEO and upper management have to like what they do, because that attitude directly reflects on every employee and customer alike.

For some specific suggestions as to how to keep customers from walking out the door never to return – develop a rapport, call them by name, show that you are genuinely interested in their lives and how your organization can make a positive difference. And when a problem does occur, don’t read into it as the day the world fell apart. Instead step back for a moment and consider the viewpoint of the unhappy customer. Be reliable and credible, apologize when mess-ups occur, and resolve the conflict.

Exceptional customer service where representatives step way out of the box as they do in such luxury organizations as the Ritz Carlton or Mercedes Benz invite all businesses to take a few hints. Of course these organizations have huge budgets to spread the word, however companies like Zappos, Nordstrom, and even Amazon worked their way up the customer satisfaction ladder by careful training, attitude and that all inspiring will to please.

As someone with an infinite knowledge of pleasing customers and resolving conflicts the moment a problem is brought to his attention, his advice still rings in my mind – “you always want to dance with your clients.”

photo credit: Debs (ò‿ó)♪

One Response to “The silent exit of poor customer service”

  1. Evan Hamilton said:

    Feb 07, 12 at 10:07 pm

    Where’d you find this White House Office of Consumer Affairs info? I can’t find it on the web and you don’t seem to link to it.