Dear Unprofessional Business Owner
by Summer Alexander on September 13,2012
First of all let me say I am writing this with love because I truly do want you to succeed. I have such a heart for small business and there is just something about entrepreneurs with their passion, big ideas and unyielding will that I absolutely love!
Heck even when I lost access to my website and email for the majority of the day on Monday because apparently major provider GoDaddy was hacked, I couldn’t help but smile at the owners of other web hosting sites who took the opportunity to blast 30% off specials for those who would switch over from the downed host.
Ahhh the sweet smell of a little business competition….
Anywho, it has been on my mind to share some ways you can gain new and keep current customers for the long haul. I must admit I am a bit persnickety when it comes to customer service. So much so that in my early 20’s I planned to change the face of customer service by launching a customer service training center geared toward major corporations who seemed to take no concern over who they let represent their companies.
While that dream never came to pass, I have made it a point to ensure my company is known for quality customer service and professionalism. If you plan on your buisness being around for any amount of time I highly suggest you do the same.
1. THE GUM SMACKING, EYE-ROLLING, GIRL YOU KNOW WHAT I DID THIS WEEKEND REPRESENTATIVE…..
You know the one who never bothers to speak to you or offer you any assistance with your purchase. They slide your purchases across the scanner never stopping their conversation with the cashier across the aisle to say hello.
This offensive employee can be found behind cashier counters, answering telephones or (gasp!) greeting customers as they walk in the door. This employee has no vested interest in your business and is there for one reason and one reason only: their paycheck.
The worst part about this employee is that they have the ability to single-handedly drive business away yet they are often left as the first point of contact for your brand.
2. THE I AM SO HIGH UP ON THE TOTEM POLE YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT I WOULD GRACE YOU WITH MY PRESENCE BUSINESS OWNER…..
Oh yes, you know exactly who I mean. Just a few weeks ago before school started, I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for my daughter who needed updated shots to enter high school.
Our appointment was at 4:30 pm. The office was pretty crowded which was to be expected because school registration was happening in all of the local districts. So I expected a little bit of a wait.
However, when the doctor strolled into the room at 7:30pm — yes 3 hours later—to say I was livid was an understatement. I maintained my cool in front of my daughters but I was outdone when the doctor didn’t so much as apologize for the totally unacceptable wait time. Needless to say we changed doctors the very next day.
3. THE SORRY I DIDN’T RETURN ANY OF YOUR CALLS OR EMAILS BUT I WAS TOO BUSY UPDATING MY FACEBOOK STATUS OWNER…..
Imagine this: You need to hire someone to do some work for your company. A web designer, a copywriting expert, a virtual assistant, etc.
So you contact (via phone or email) someone who was recommended by a colleague and ask to schedule a time to chat about your project. They respond right away and the time is set.
Only when that scheduled time arrives that someone is a no-show. You allow what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time to pass before moving on to other tasks you need to accomplish for the day.
While updating your Facebook page you notice that very same business owner has been posting status updates for the last hour! Even if you were to give them a second chance (perhaps they forgot to add to their calendar??) do you really want to take a chance that they will meet a deadline if you were to hire them?
HOW I ALMOST LOST A CUSTOMER AND WHAT I DID TO RECOVER….
Listen we are all capable of being less than our brilliant selves in business. However, the key to long lasting success is acknowledging errors, apologizing for them and doing whatever is within your means (and reasonable) to make amends.
I was recently contacted by someone who attempted to purchase The Effortless Business Plan not once but twice and received an error code each time. First of all, what a red flag! I am so grateful that she even bothered to contact me to let me know. I called my merchant provider right away and found out the problem was that the payment form was requiring a phone number even though the form itself said the phone number was optional.
To make a long story short we resolved the problem immediately, the customer was never charged on either of the attempted purchases and I contacted her with an apology, a discount code, and an alternate payment method. She was grateful, made the purchase and my reputation was intact.
This week’s free download is a Customer Service Plan Template. No opt-in required simply click here: Free Customer Service Plan Template The plan is in PDF format and you can complete it right on your computer screen or print it out, whichever you prefer.
If you missed the previous free download click here: Free Resources for Conducting Market Research
Have you ever had a time when your professional image was at stake? How did you solve it? Tell us about it below.