The concept of customer service gets thrown around in most companies and businesses. However, in many cases it’s just lip service. Customer service is of critical importance to your business. It’s key to retaining customers and extracting more value from them. It helps to build a loyal customer base that will refer friends and family and provide testimonials. Satisfied customers are more understanding when things go wrong and less sensitive to price increases.

Sometimes it’s not about what you should do, but what you shouldn’t do. Here are 10 common mistakes that make businesses lose customers.

  1. Apathy and detachment

Customers want to know that they are valued and important. Complacency makes customers feel that they are just a number. If you make them feel dispensable, they will dispense of you.

  1. Over-complicating processes

If dealing with your business is not simple, easy and straight forward, your customers will go where it’s less complicated.

  1. Arrogant attitude

If you want to lose a customer really quickly, treat them as if you are doing them a favour. No one wants to do business with a supplier who makes them feel inferior or stupid.

  1. Ignorance / lack of training

With increased access to information, your customers are often armed with more knowledge about your products and services – and how they compare to your competitors – than your team might be.

  1. Inaccessibility

Your customers need you to be accessible at a time convenient to them. In particular, in business-to-consumer markets, that is pretty much 24/7. If they can’t get hold of you, they will keep trying other suppliers who are available.

  1. Hiding behind a rule book

Policies, standards, processes and systems provide structure and controls. But never to the detriment of customer service. Your team needs to know when it’s okay to bend the rules, and when to make exceptions to ensure customers are serviced appropriately.

  1. Robotism

Automation and scripting can help increase productivity and eases the burden of routine tasks. However, there is a danger of losing the human touch that is so important for customer service.

  1. Overpromise and underdeliver

Many businesses feel they need to promise their customers the world. But if you can’t deliver on this promise, you can do more damage than good. Often customer service is about meeting and exceeding expectations. Be sure not to set yourself up for failure.

  1. Avoiding feedback

Customer feedback is the best possible way to learn and grow as a business. Businesses that avoid complaints and feedback miss out on an opportunity to find out what they should be doing more of and what they need to fix.

  1. Openly disciplining staff

This is a new pet peeve of mine. I have recently been in a couple of awkward situations where staff are publicly chastised by the boss, supervisor or manager within earshot of customers. Not only does this cause discomfort and ruin the shopping experience, but it does not instil confidence in the business.

The economy is tough at the moment. Now, more than ever, customers need to be nurtured and retained. Have you analysed how and why you lose customers? You could be missing out on a great opportunity to learn and grow. Need help? I can facilitate a company workshop to unpack your customer service blind spots. Give me a call…


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