In a post that moves away from our traditional focus on SEO and content marketing, today we want to talk about the importance of customer service and how a negative customer service experience can derail all your efforts across a wide range of areas including content marketing, SEO, product design and development and more.
OK. So, this sounds pretty doom and gloomy, however, the truth is, that you can quickly lose a customer that you have fought hard to acquire if you don’t deliver when it comes to customer service. And that doesn’t just apply to your customer service representatives. It applies to everyone that works within your business.
How can poor customer service make such a difference?
A few years ago, I attended the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, USA. It was a fantastic conference with many amazing speakers from around the world, however, one of my absolute favourites from that conference was Andrew Davis.
According to his bio, “Andrew Davis wrote for Charles Kuralt and produced for NBC. He’s worked for the Muppets and MTV. He co-founded, built, and sold a marketing agency. You might have seen him on The Today Show or in The New York Times. He’s a best-selling author and one of the most influential marketers in the world.”
The thing I loved about Andrew was that he was not only extremely intelligent, but he had a way of presenting information in a way I had never seen before. He was funny, engaging, challenging and above all, he made content marketing exciting. That’s not to say that others didn’t inspire me at that conference – it’s just that Andrew did it in a way that I have never seen at a conference before and, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I haven’t had the chance to see again.
I have, however, continued to follow Andrew online and last year came across a fascinating short post on the Content Marketing Institute website that grabbed my attention. It was a very typical piece of content from Andrew. Short, sharp and extremely engaging. More so, it presented a fairly complicated topic in a way that really hit home a strong message – poor customer service is really damaging businesses.
You can check out the full article in the link above, however, the basic summary of the post was that Andrew uses a complaint letter to highlight the issues of bad customer service. This is the letter:
Dear Mr. Fois,
Your customer experience is appalling. And for a company that sells a customer relationship management platform, that’s shocking.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed using your SaaS product for four years – so much so that I’ve spent $10,240 with you. Your tool is fast, integrates nicely with our workflow, and has helped my company close $2 million worth of business.
But instead of upgrading my account with Copper, I’m canceling my subscription.
Why? Because it’s clear you don’t honestly believe in cultivating enduring relationships – even though that’s what your about page claims you want to help customers do.
A few weeks ago, I reached out to your customer success team with a few straightforward questions about functionality found only in your premium-tier software subscription.
Obviously, I was interested in upgrading. All I needed were a few encouraging words, a demo of the enhanced functionality, and someone to take my money.
Instead, I interacted with team members who were slow to respond, curt, and unhelpful. Sadly, not one of your team members offered to assist with the upgrade. No one even pointed me to an existing demo.
Mr. Fois, today everyone is in marketing and sales – even your customer service team.
If you’re not offering content that enables self-service, then you’d better work on your human-to-human service.
On that same about page, you claim, “(W)ith Copper, your business will grow the right way: with loyal customers for life.” Clearly, you don’t eat your own dog food.
Here’s the deal. I’m not coming back.
But if you rethink the experience you provide the customers you serve today, you might stop someone just like me from leaving tomorrow.
Whether you wanted it or not,
Host and author, The Loyalty Loop
You see what I mean.
Why good customer service is essential
To expand on Andrew’s well crafted letter, this is a situation that could have been completely avoided and instead of losing a valuable customer, Copper CRM could have easily upgraded Andrew to their premium package and not only retained an extremely loyal customer but increased their revenue at the same time.
Instead, and purely down to a lack of customer service, they lost at least one customer and who is to know how many others had a similar experience and chose not to write in.
Whether you manage the social media accounts, work in sales, or accounts or you’re one of the cleaners, every person in the business has a responsibility to deliver good customer service.
A big part of this is ensuring that everyone that works for you is an advocate for the brand. You want people to work for you that are passionate about your business and the products and services you sell.
Getting staff buy-in is about sharing your own passion and knowledge for the business and getting others to feel the same way. Treat your staff how you would want to be treated yourself and you will get their loyalty and their advocacy.
You will also get a team that is willing to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service.
Every single time a member of your staff meets with a customer or a prospective customer, in or out of work, is an opportunity to deliver outstanding customer service.
These daily interactions, no matter how small, all contribute to the overall brand message and help to build trust in your brand. Your products and services are nothing without the people that are selling them, marketing them, or ensuring all the bills get paid on time.
Good customer service is not rocket science.
Think of all the positive interactions you have had and all the negative ones you have had and try to remember the difference between them.
For me, it’s usually the person I am speaking to. As soon as that person sounds empathetic with my problem and acts in a positive way to resolve the issue, I am usually sold.
On the flip side, if I detect a resentful attitude to my call or message and a lack of willingness to help, it gets my back up.
Good customer service should be an integral part of your business. If it isn’t, all that hard work and money spent acquiring a new customer could be down the drain if you lose them quicker than you acquire them.