'Walk in your customers shoes'
Have you tried to contact your own company recently?
May sound a bit daft, but we are all guilty of becoming complacent sometimes. We set ourselves up – website; telecoms; auto responders; chatbots; staff training…and then carry on, business as usual.
But those systems you put in place; those contact forms… may be out of date.
You may assume that your customer-facing staff, once they’re trained are all responding as they should – either by phone or email/social media or even being greeted face to face.
But have you checked?
Phone your company. Check to see how quickly your call is answered; how many hoops you have to jump through (personally I hate the press 2 for that 3 for that…); make sure you’re not accidently disconnected (another pet hate, especially if you’ve had all those hoops to jump through first); and listen to the response you get when you do get to speak to someone. Can you hear the smile in their voice, or do they sound downtrodden and bored? Do they give you the information you need? If there is an automated message, is it correct? is the music awful (we’ve all been there!)?
If you leave a message is the contact returned?
Fill in a Contact us or subscribe to the newsletter on the website. Is the form helpful and easy or is it painful? What are the automated messages like? Do you even get one? Check the website whilst you’re at it – are your products and services clear and easy for the customer to find information, place an order or make an enquiry?
Send an email, is it responded to? Politely and correctly?
Try being a mystery shopper (or get someone else to if you don’t fancy donning a disguise!) are you welcomed? Helped? Served with a smile?
A lot of firms are now creaking under the added pressure that COVID has brought, with many facing severe staff shortages, but that should not be allowed to affect the service you deliver, think like a customer – how would you feel? Too many companies are using it as an excuse and hiding behind it.
It may all sound basic and corny, but it really is that simple. If you make it hard to connect or your customers don’t feel valued, they will take their business elsewhere.
To coin a phrase: ‘walk in your customers shoes’. But I read another phrase I liked which adds to that: ‘walk in your customers shoes but take your own shoes off first’. In other words, take off the rose-tinted specs and really look at what the customer sees or hears, and then make change.