5 Common Missteps that Impact the Heart of your Customer Service

//5 Common Missteps that Impact the Heart of your Customer Service
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5 Common Missteps that Impact the Heart of your Customer Service

By | 2017-04-18T18:43:18+00:00 August 16th, 2016|Customer Success|0 Comments

When I was in high school I dated a boy scout.  The relationship was exactly as you’d imagine.  He treated me well.  He followed the gentleman’s handbook to the letter.  Opened doors for me, carried my books, he bought me gifts and showered me with attention, but that wasn’t what I was after.  He wasn’t focused on what I really wanted, only on what he thought he needed to do to win and maintain my affection.

This is what we often do with our customers.  Of course we are well intentioned and want to provide our customers with the best experience possible but we sometimes go overboard by losing focus on what really matters during customer engagement.  Let’s take a look at common mistakes we make in our customer engagements.

Too much focus on securing the renewal or selling more
We can start to look too far down the road and focus on securing the renewal or up selling.  By putting our focus on OUR goal we can miss the customer’s needs or pains they could be having.  We are focused on our agenda and not theirs.  While customer retention and up selling are important we still need to make sure that we are actively listening to our customer’s needs.  Otherwise we will never get to the renewal or secure an additional sale. Customers who don’t feel heard or understood and just rushed to a transaction aren’t going to feel valued.  We all have objectives or quotas we need to meet, but when we pursue these at the expense of the customer, we are selling everyone short.

“He’s just not that in to you”
Have you ever had someone pursue you and you couldn’t care less?  Perhaps you were totally in to someone and that person just blew you off?   Customer engagement is like a relationship, it takes both parties to make it work.  If one party is putting in more effort than the other, the relationship can struggle.  When people aren’t available at important points in the relationship it begins to suffer. Customer engagements need to be looked at as a group or team effort for one common goal; a partnership.  This will yield great rewards for both parties involved.  

If your customer is not engaged and you don’t know why – ask! There might be other priorities that keep them from giving you the attention needed for the project or task you are working on with them. Communication is key. Understand what barriers are keeping them from committing to your project.Maybe you can help remove those barriers.

People often talk about “defining the relationship” in romantic relationships.  The same concept applies to your customer.  Revisit their goals and the reasons why they started working with you in the first place.  If the goals or priorities have changed, maybe it’s time to part ways.  No sense in wasting time with a customer who is not committed. Plus they’ll appreciate you not looking at them like an ATM machine.    

Too much process that doesn’t allow the team to make decisions

It’s like a great guitar solo.  When the rest of the band creates space for the guitar player to do their thing, that’s when the magic happens.  One size doesn’t necessarily fit all.  You still need a disciplined process but that process should not be so rigid that they stifle real customer success.  You can’t anticipate every scenario so let your processes be organic and flexible enough to account for things you can’t foresee today.

Smothering your customer
My mom does this all the time with my husband.  He knows she means well, but whenever we visit she is constantly asking him “whatcha need…?”  He feels overwhelmed and smothered.  How do you think your customers feel when we’re constantly asking what we can do to help?  They know we mean well but after a while they may start to avoid us because they are tired of being asked.   

Just focus on the relationship.  Spend time with your customer and get comfortable with them and them with you.  Do your best to understand their needs but give them space.  Let them know that your door is always open and encourage them to ask questions.  Set the expectation that if you don’t hear from them after a while to not be surprised when you reach out to get a read on how things are progressing.You can also change the phrasing.   Say “may I help you”, “what questions do you have for me today?”or “what are some things that you found to be the most challenging?”  Changing up the way you say“how may I help you?” might help with the redundancy of the approach.

Creating team environments where you don’t reward expertise
How many people want to feel like they are valued or acknowledgement for things they do well?  We all do.  We all want to feel like we are good at something and can bring something to the table.  So why not do that at work? Publicly acknowledging expertise and gifts can motivate others to rise to the challenge.  Create mentoring opportunities for talented employees to share their gifts with others. Encourage and reward team members for sharing their expertise with others.  This helps your team scale and meet customer needs better instead of creating bottlenecks and stress for your employees. Happy employees make happy customers.  

Too often we seek to level the playing field and treat everyone the same.  It’s like the kids on my daughter’s soccer team when she was little.  They all got the same size participation trophies.  Let the cream rise to the top and then create an environment where your star employees extend a hand to others and pull them up with them.  

Customer relationships are like any other relationship.  They require work, communication and prioritizing.  Relationships evolve and change and require adjustment.  Develop patience and trust and as your relationship grows, that’s where the magic happens.

About the Author:

Tim Conder

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