3 things customers and staff hate


I’m so pleased you chose to read this article as it means you care about your employees and your customers. Let’s get straight to the 3 things so you can either breathe a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back, or you can do a little business housekeeping and tidy up the problems.

1. Customers are waiting

Yes, this seems obvious but it’s not only relevant to customers waiting in a queue for service, it’s just as relevant to customers who are waiting for an email or telephone response. Staff hate it too because guess who the customers share their frustration with? Them.

Solution: Set a standard for returning emails and telephone messages within 24 hours. For emails, have an auto response in place. For the telephone, consider using a personal message that tells the caller what you are doing today and when you will call back. That extra 3 mins in the morning to personalise phone messages is evidence your team cares and is also a great little marketing tactic to share with your customers what great stuff you are doing e.g. “Hi, thanks for calling. I’m currently working on some exciting new products but will return all calls after 1pm today”

Aim to exceed the 24 hours every time. Customers love having their expectations exceeded and it lowers the amount of difficult customers staff have to engage with.

2. Your website or social media links don’t work

It would be great if customers would let us know of these issues, but they are busy too and your business will not be at the top of their list of people to help. When links don’t work, it sows a seed of doubt in a customer's mind as to whether the team pay attention to details, provide great quality products and services or really care about the customer experience.

Solution: If you don’t have web support services to do this for you, ask an employee or someone in your network (who you value for their eye for detail), to do some link checks. Remember to reward them for their time i.e: shout them a coffee, box of choccies or something that confirms you value them as much as your customers.

3. Over servicing

Sure, connecting regularly with customers is highly recommended and using technology is a time effective way to reach many customers BUT, be mindful of not saturating your existing customers with too much information and expecting your team to do it all without your support and feedback. If you know your customers well enough, you and your team should know what they need, when they need it and how best to get it to them. It doesn't take much for customers to start to feel like a number and nobody wants to feel like a number.

Solution: Excellent customer service is not a one size fits all process so when you engage a new customer, build into your new customer process a question that confirms their preferred method for updates and ongoing contact. It may take a little more time at the start but the outcome is you build a tribe of customers who will speak highly of your business for its attention to detail and personal touch. It also encourages staff to engage personally with customers rather than fall in to the trap of providing the same service to every customer which eventually sees them look and sound bored (the customers and the staff).

If you would like to know the 10 most common irritations of today’s customers, Chapter N in my book “The A – Z of Service Excellence” covers Non-Negotiable – What customers hate. You can download the first Chapter for free.

By Cate Schreck