Think back over this last weekend, where you went and what you did. Unless you are a virtual hermit (and I have those weekends occasionally!) you probably went into a few businesses, even if it was just the local coffee shop.
If you had a terrible experience were you likely to go back again? Probably not. Which means, at the end of the day, bad customer service is lost business and lost revenue. Let me give you an example of how one business lost thousands of dollars in revenue recently due to poor customer service.
A few weeks back I changed gyms in town and for the most part I enjoy the new facility. As part of the new member benefits I was to receive two free sessions with a personal trainer.
Now think about this for a minute: the entire goal of the complementary training session is to convince me that I can meet my goals quicker with a trainer and thereby agree to spend thousand of dollars on this specialized service.
The first communication was with a trainer via phone who called from the middle of the gym which was both loud and ineffective. It took 10 frustrating minutes to determine a time as the trainer only wanted early morning (before 7am when I can’t even tie my shoelaces) or in the middle of the work day (noon-5pm).
We finally settled on 4:30pm and on the appointed day I stopped working early and went to the gym, ready for the session. I already had the impression that if I wanted to work with this trainer I would have to plan sessions around her schedule, not mine.
I arrived at the gym early and waited near the front desk until 4:30p when another gym employee asked if I was waiting for a training session. Yes, because people dressed to workout don’t typically sit and watch other people workout just for fun. He handed me a pen and form and I had it completed within a minute.
After filling out the intake form I waited for another 15 minutes before I had enough. I returned the pen to the front desk and asked them to inform the trainer that I was cancelling the session.
Why is customer service so important?
When you have a poor customer experience it taints your perception of the company, the owner and it takes a whole lot of effort to rebuild that trust.
After I cancelled my training appointment, I grabbed my ipod and hit the treadmill. Not 10 minutes into my workout the trainer came over and asked if I still wanted the session. And honestly, no I wasn’t willing, because I am a professional and I choose to work with other professionals. Apologies and excuses have no use to me because it took just 25 minutes to show me that the training sessions at this gym are not worth my investment, at least not with that particular trainer.
Overall it was a horrible customer service experience and it will only hurt the reputation of the business and professionals in that business.
How do clients feel when they encounter your business?
Is your team warm and engaging, encouraging and supportive? Are questions answered quickly and thoroughly, without the client feeling stupid or bothersome? Do you take constructive criticism or do you have a ‘screw them’ attitude? Do you consistently provide an experience that adds value to your clients or do you fail to fulfill promises?
What do your peers, clients and leads think about your business operations? If you’ve never asked, how will you know how well you’re doing?
Customer Service is a large task that encompasses a lot of different aspects of your business. If you’re up to it, try a survey to your list asking them for feedback on how you can continue to improve as a professional business.
You can sign up for a free plan at Survey Monkey and get 100 free responses per survey and it’s a great way to begin requesting feedback. Responses can be anonymous and, in my experience, it’s the best way to get honest opinions.
I do know the manager at my new gym and will provide feedback on my consultation training session the next time we cross paths. I would hope he would want to correct this customer service problem in his business just as I would in mine.