Ouch! This isn’t a very nice title for an article at all. What’s even more biting is that many owners and managers in our industry really seem to be missing the top signs that our service quality quite possibly isn’t all that. “But Bob,” they say, “we provide the best service in the industry! We don’t need any training!”
The fact of the matter is that no matter how good we are, we should always get better at the service we provide. Many people in positions of power throughout our industry today suffer from a massive disconnect with reality when it comes to how their service is being perceived by customers and employees alike. It’s as if we run our business like a horse with blinders on. Those of you who see past the blinders and into the peripheral know you have some issues but for some reason consciously elect to procrastinate on fixing them. Usually this is either because you don’t recognize exactly where the troubles lay, or because you are unwilling to spend any money to repair it.
Let’s take a look at just these six signs and consider whether the money we save by doing nothing is really causing us to leave much more on the table than dollars and sense. This is all especially true with today’s economic situation. What are you doing to light a fire under your team to create passion and specifically empower them to better deal with customers, the economy, and each other? How well do they foster customer loyalty, save accounts, garner more profitable revenue and not compete on price? I see a crystal clear pattern of people missing the red flags. When you’re truly ready to take hefty advantage of today’s economically challenging business arena by handing some exceptional tools to your team and lighting that fire under everyone in your company, I’ll be looking forward to your phone call. For now, here are six key signs that your service may be in need of some immediate attention and/or training to really raise the bar and become as good as you tell everyone you already are.
#1: Customer Complaints (even only a few)
Did you know that on average, only about six out of 100 unsatisfied customers actually take the time to complain? In other words, 94% percent of your customer base will never say a word if they think your service stinks. Even worse, when these unsatisfied customers do call up to complain, many front line employees don’t want to deal with complaints and prefer to pass them up the ladder or simply agree to a price reduction to make the problem go away.
Just because you are not receiving many complaints, it is in no way any indication that you’re providing good service. If your employees have not nurtured any kind of relationship with your customers, many of them will simply dump you for a competitor the first time something goes wrong. When complaints are brought forth to your front line team, do you really think this information is getting back to you? Complaints should be deeply treasured, well documented, and shared with management so as to learn as much as you can from this rare and precious feedback. If your team is anything less than enthusiastic to deal with complaints, the first warning sign has just been missed.
#2: Employees not empowered to handle problems
Unless you empower front line employees to resolve customer complaints and challenges, your service is definitely being perceived as poor. Customer issues should be handled from start to finish by the people you have in place to do just that. Your customers do not want to wait, or even worse be transferred to multiple people to have their problems resolved. With very few exceptions, there is nothing worse than having to repeat the problem over and over again to different people.