Customer Service Excuses that Turn Customers Into Enemies
Companies come across situations when it becomes really difficult to meet the expectations of the customers. For instance, suppliers fail to deliver the products that have been ordered on time. It might be for any number of reasons that are beyond their control, and certainly yours. But whatever the reason, the impact on customer satisfaction is undeniable.
There are many other examples where someone contacts customer service the solution offered is not satisfactory to the customer. At times, it’s because the customer is unrealistic. Other times the person they speak to at your company could use training on communication skills. Just as often, it’s a silly policy you have or poor training of your customer service team that creates a negative customer experience.
A customer who has a bad experience with your company creates more buzz for you than one that has a positive experience. What’s the first thing people do when they are upset with interactions…they tell everyone they know about it. Some go as far as commenting on social media. Many will provide reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List and other sites that are a resource of information.
So before you start making excuses, let me tell you now the different excuses customers have already heard–and don’t want to hear again.
Your Customers are Tired of Hearing these Lame Excuses
“I don’t know…”
Customers don’t want to listen to this excuse unless you follow up saying that you will be happy to help them find out the answer. Finding out things, and explaining them to customers is part of customer service, right? This is basic.
Equally as bad is someone who says, “I’m new and haven’t learned this yet” or something similar. No one cares if you are there one hour, one week, or ten years. If you are answering the phone or dealing with the public you need to know, or management needs to be working with you side-by-side until you do know.
“Management doesn’t allow…” or “It’s not in our policy to…”
Yes, customers know that a business has limitations regarding what it can allow or not. But if you can’t do something for them, it’s better to just come out and say it. Then apologize. Don’t hide behind a policy. Think of this as an exercise in improving your customer service and business communication skills.
There is nothing that irritates a customer more than to hear these words. Everyone knows that exceptions are always made. I recently had a fan company (who I won’t name) tell me that they had to send me three different parts before they could replace the fan, which I had to have an electrician install each time. That was their policy. Worse yet, when I complained about the cost of the electrician they said, “it’s not our fault you can’t do this yourself and have to hire someone.” WHAT?! Someone needs to step in and teach business communication skills to these folks.
“Who were you talking to last time?”
Why do they care who you talked to last time? Do you really expect customers to remember the name of the person they dealt with? No, because they’re too busy worrying about the problem they came to you to solve!
It’s the duty of the company to go through its records to see the last communication.
“If you look at the fine print…”
Really, fine print? Who reads that? Yes, it’s probably the customer’s fault for not reading it. But guess what, it’s a mark of poor customer service on your part for not explaining it to them!
“Bob was supposed to do this…”
Don’t play the blame game with your customers. It reflects badly on your organization’s teamwork. Whether Bob did it or not, whatever happened, really, remember that your customer isn’t interested in the inside story. They just want their problems solved.
It’s human to make mistakes, and your customers know that screw ups are inevitable no matter how good your employee’s business communication skills are. Drop the excuses and get things done instead. It’s better for everyone.