Losing Sales: 3 Bad Customer Service Stories
21 Nov 2011
Getting leads isn’t easy. Unfortunately, losing leads is incredibly simple. After connecting with a potential customer, you have to ‘serve’ their needs quickly and efficiently or you lose the sale, especially online.
Canopy Media works hard to provide great service, but sometimes we’re on the other side of the transaction. In the last couple of months we’ve come across some bad customer service.
So we thought we’d write a post about it.
Encounters With Bad Customer Service
Here’s what we’ve been dealing with as a customer, and some helpful tips to not make the same mistakes with your leads.
Make sure your rules actually work: Canopy Media recently moved offices. We moved from the town of Thornbury to downtown Collingwood, Ontario. Of course a rental truck was needed to get the entire move completed. We returned the truck on time with a full tank of gas and went about our business.
Later that same day we received a message that the truck wasn’t returned on time. We were going to be charged for an extra day. Panic set in as our imaginations wondered what had gone wrong. We called the dispatch office to correct the matter. Everything was fine, but there was a significant glitch in their process of vehicle check-in.
Their head office required a daily accounting of all vehicles at 9am. The local branch doesn’t open until 10am meaning they couldn’t report a successful drop-off in time… ever. Head office’s computers, not receiving confirmation of the drop-off at 9am, automatically messages the customer. We mentioned the problem to the local staff and were told not to worry about it, we wouldn’t be charged, but the faulty procedure remained intact.
As a business, when you provide a product or service it usually comes with some fine print. Services terms, included features, due dates, etc, are all pretty common, but make sure those rules work in the real world or any repeat business you hoped for is gone for good. And that ex-customer is now carrying a bad opinion around to boot.
Canopy Media can guarantee we won’t be using that particular rental service ever again.
TIP: Do a test run through your sales and customer service processes. If there’s any glaring holes they should turn up pretty easily. Small problems will pop up from time to time. Take these opportunities as a chance to wow your customer and to improve your in-house procedures so it doesn’t happen again.
Make the sale on their schedule, not yours: Once we moved in to our new space we needed some new stuff. Specifically a new sign for our front door and some furniture to fill out the office. We contacted some local suppliers and manufacturers and got the ball rolling.
That was six weeks ago. We still don’t have either a sign or any new furniture.
Some businesses just aren’t organized well and others look at smaller contracts as a nuisance, perpetually pushing back those smaller jobs in lieu of newer, larger work orders. This destroys your reputation and kills future sales. Who knows what a new customer will buy in the future, especially if their business continues to grow.
Canopy Media has first-hand experience where a small job turns into a great client. Simply doing a good job, every time, has earned us more business, no advertising required.
TIP: You got into your business for a reason. Remember that reason each and every time you make a sale or connect to a lead. Consistency and high standards show over time, making you a leader in your industry. Your best leads are people you’ve already sold to. Do good work and it’s easy to convince them, and others, to come back.
Follow up, Follow Through and Be Professional: Even Canopy Media needs services. We’re a business like any other and we pay for some of those needs rather than hiring in house for every job. Recently we hired a subcontractor to do some work for us when we were too busy to handle the load.
The work turned out to be of such low quality that it was detrimental to the project. When we terminated the service we ran into even more problems, although organizational in nature. They continued to produce work. We discovered that subcontractor had outsourced our work to an inferior service, without telling us. And when we cancelled the contract, nobody told the inferior service. Lack of follow-through nearly cost us a project.
Each one of us that starts our own business has big dreams in the beginning. We see our ventures with unlimited potential, but you’ll never realize that potential or professionalism unless you act the part. Hard work goes in before reputation and profits come out.
A lead is only a lead. If you treat a lead like a guaranteed sale by taking it for granted you’ll lose more than you close. Parting with money isn’t fun, even if it’s for something you really need or want. Make it easy on your customer.
Treating your customer like a human being and following through on what you promised to deliver builds trust. Its hard to find these days in the world of business. So hard in fact that when people find it they cling to it like the rare commodity that it is. And they’ll tell others.
Everybody goes to a mechanic they trust so they won’t get ripped off. Your business is no different.
TIP: Promote trust. Take into perspective what a customer is and treat them with respect. We use loud words and advertising to get their attention. But actions speak louder than words so show them they’ve made the right choice. Execute every sale like it will make or break your business. You have no idea how close to the truth this actually is.
We’re just saying that everyone is a customer and just because your Internet business doesn’t do sales face to face doesn’t mean those customers can’t smell a dud.
We know we aren’t the only ones to run into bad customer service. We’d like to hear how and why someone lost a sale from you. Tell us your stories and we’ll use them in our next customer service tips post. Place your customer service story below in the comments box or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org .
Now you know how to treat your customers right how about a little love for your website? Take a look at the helpful links below and optimize your website today for more traffic, more leads and more sales.
Don’t Smoke, Optimize!
Make More Money With Lead Generation Services
WPO: Optimize Your Web Presence
Website Conversion is the Ultimate Goal
Keyword Density In Your Content
Using Social Medias Consistently
Keyword Selection: Five tips for choosing keywords
Off Page SEO Tips