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Poor Customer Service Can Kill Your Business

Jul 16, 2008
Can Poor Customer Service Lead To The Fall Of a Business?

Absolutely.

Most all marketing specialists will tell you that "The average business spends six times more to attract new customers than it does to keep old ones." That says a lot about the importance of putting the customer first.

It has become more and more common to see customer service lacking in both small and large businesses. The business either is growing faster than they can provide training to their employees, or the company is not established on the right qualities.

This has become such a problem that there are many experts and authors that try to offer paid or free advice and tips. There is an article by Jill Homer titled "Tips for Curing Bad Customer Service".

Jill describes the typical scene where a customer steps into a store and wants to know where to find a certain product. In the example, the employee is busy and does not want to be bothered, and so gives the customer a short answer and continues whatever she is doing without even giving the customer eye contact.

The customer kindly persists, and so with obvious annoyance in the voice, the employee begrudgingly turns around and points the customer in the general direction of the product's location. But instead of purchasing the product, the customer leaves the store, frustrated, vowing to never return again.

Jill goes on in her article to give some tips on how to train yourself and your employees to have a different way of thinking and acting that will put the customer first.

Art Waller, Regional Department Head for Utah State University says to "Never, never, never ignore a customer".

I can think of a lot of examples of where I was either personally given poor customer service or heard from a friend of mine about an example of poor customer service. I always check the internet reviews of any hotel before I stay there and if there are a lot of negative reviews, there is no way that I would stay there. But any business can shoot itself in the foot by providing poor customer service, especially in this day and age of the internet.

I will not point out more than a couple of examples, since I am sure we have all seen someone get burned at one time or another, but one example that I found online with a quick search online was of a customer who was cheated of their money through a company called Medtexx, where the company was unwilling to provide a refund when the customer did not like being swindled. But the company wanted to keep the money instead... which will probably lead to their eventual downfall. Apparently this person was not the only dissatisfied customer, according to the BBB reports for the past couple years. If your company or business were to be this far in the danger zone, then the best thing that you can do is to go back to those customers that you wronged and personally try to make amends and see how you can make it up to them to make them happy.

I purchased auto parts through one site on the internet where I would most definitely return, just because they bent over backwards to answer any of my questions and they even called me up to follow up with my order a month later.

One of the very most critical points of a successful business is good customer service. Utah State University showed recent findings in customer service. The average business only hears from about 4 percent of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96 percent quietly go away.

This is quite dangerous for any business because if a dissatisfied customer can not share their complaints with the business, then they will share them through other means such as friends, family and neighbors.

Statistics show that the average dissatisfied customer will tell 8 to 10 people about their problem. One in five of those will share that with 20 others. So you can see how repeated offenses of poor customer service can quickly snowball into the downfall of a business.

It does not matter if you are the owner of a large utility company, a popular soft drink company, an airline, a sports store, or of a start-up hot dog stand, customer service should be of your utmost concern. All too often, we see where an employee just decides to ignore a dissatisfied customer with the hope that it will just go away. The employee mistakenly thinks "oh well, what is the loss of one customer?" However, the problem is that poor customer service, just like good customer service, will be shared with all of their friends until the business fails or flourishes.
About the Author
Kevin Corazza is an online freelance author from California who likes to skateboard, play jazz music and study technology and business. For an example of poor customer service, see Medtexx online
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