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Top 10 Customer Pet Peeves and How You Can Avoid Them

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One out of three people are routinely disappointed by customer service interactions. Only 7% say their expectations are usually exceeded.1

Why does this matter? Customers are more likely to be loyal and will even pay a premium price to buy from a business with great customer service. They’re most likely to switch to another provider after being treated poorly.

Here are ten common customer pet peeves—including some from our SUCCEED: Small Business community members—and how you can avoid them in your business. Double-check this list to make sure you are staying on your customers’ good side.

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Top 10 Customer Pet Peeves and How You Can Avoid Them

  1. 1. Top 10 Customer Pet Peeves and How You Can Avoid Them
  2. 2. One out of three people are routinely disappointed by customer service interactions. Only 7% say their expectations are usually exceeded.1 Why does this matter? Customers are more likely to be loyal and will even pay a premium price to buy from a business with great customer service. They’re most likely to switch to another provider after being treated poorly. 1 http://about.americanexpress.com/news/docs/2012x/axp_2012gcsb_markets.pdf
  3. 3. one & two & three & four & five & six & seven & eight & nine & Here are 10 common customer pet peeves— including some from our SUCCEED: Small Business community members—and how you can avoid them in your business. Double- check this list to make sure you are staying on your customers’ good side.
  4. 4. 01 Lying No one likes to be treated dishonestly—and your customers are no exception. Even fudging the facts unintentionally because you are in a hurry can come back to haunt you. Take time to anticipate what customers will ask and make sure everything you say is accurate.
  5. 5. 02. Rude and Unhelpful Customer Service Reps A single interaction with an impatient and disrespectful representative can destroy a customer relationship. Here’s a real-world example that you can use to train your employees on how to make every customer interaction a positive experience:
  6. 6. For two years out of a 10-year career in customer service, I wrote down every time a customer thanked me for something specific. The top five words customers repeated in their thank you notes were help, patience, competence, niceness, and time.” Paula Kramer, Consultant Smiles Spark Success, and SUCCEED Member
  7. 7. 03. Slow Service and Shipments Do your service technicians have impaired punctuality? Does it seem like your products are shipped by pack mule? No wonder your customers feel frustrated. To avoid unnecessary delays, systemize and automate your processes with appropriate technology. Your business will be more organized and efficient. You’ll offer faster service and be able to notify customers right away if there’s an unexpected delay.
  8. 8. My pet peeve is when the person on the other end of the phone is more engrossed in what is going on in their space instead of the conversation they are supposed to be having.” Tamika Warner, Adjunct Professor Lincoln College of New England, and SUCCEED Member 04. Lack of Focused Attention
  9. 9. If you can’t take a call without being interrupted, let it go to voice mail and call back as soon as you can do so in a quiet setting.
  10. 10. 05. Poor Priorities “What I really hate is when you are at a store and the great people trying to help you are forced to answer the phones to answer a question from someone who may or may not ever come to the store.” Jeff Fox, Founder DBSA Northridge, and SUCCEED Member A customer in the store is worth two on the phone. Have someone who isn’t working the floor available to do phone duty.
  11. 11. 06. Speakerphone Faux Pas Unless your customer is expecting a conference call, he shouldn’t be on speaker. If you must use the speaker function, ask permission first. Otherwise, you can’t blame him for reacting poorly.
  12. 12. Whenever anyone puts me on speakerphone, I belt out a nice: ‘You’re listening to K E V—all Kevin, all the time. Go ahead, listener, you’re on the air!’ It usually leaves them speechless.” Kevin Hoult MBA, Business Advisor Services Manager Western Washington University’s SBDC, and SUCCEED Member
  13. 13. 07. Reading the Slides If you’re putting on a presentation—whether on behalf of your clients or to your clients—don’t do this: “My pet peeve is speakers who read the slides. I don’t mind so much that someone turns to refer to a slide as long as they don’t do it too often, but saying the exact same words for the whole dang thing bores me spitless.” Shawn Greene, Prospecting and Sales Performance Expert, SUCCEED Member To avoid using slides as a crutch, prepare your presentation without slides first.
  14. 14. 08. Mumbling & Talking Too Fast What’s the point of having an office phone number if customers can’t understand you? “Don’t mumble! Please, please, PLEASE...just slow down your speech and let the person you’re greeting absorb what you’re saying when you answer the phone!” Linda Feinholz, Business Breakthrough Expert, SUCCEED Member
  15. 15. 08. Unintelligible Speech on the PhoneIf you find yourself speeding through a phone greeting, edit it to be shorter. Take a deep breath before you answer the phone so you don’t accidentally sound rushed.
  16. 16. I hate it when they use the ‘B’ word, and no, not that one! BUSY. Never tell the client you are busy. It implies they are not important. You’re busy? OK, I’ll find someone who thinks my business is worth the time to ‘un-busy’ themselves to talk with me!” Shirley Dawson, Nursing Administrative Assistant Hampstead Hospital, and SUCCEED Member 09. Overly Busy BusinessOwners
  17. 17. Postpone a conversation more politely: “I have one more commitment to fulfill today, but I want to take care of you ASAP. Can we meet at 4 p.m.?”
  18. 18. “When I call about an issue, I hate when the people on the phone are overly apologetic. I am not looking for an apology. I am looking to rectify a problem. One apology is enough. And really, you do not know how I am feeling. So do not think you do.” David Silverman, Food and Beverages Professional, SUCCEED Member Don’t pretend to be sorry and think this will make customers happy. Fix the problem. Actions speak louder than words. 10. Fake Sincerity
  19. 19. You should spend as much energy on nurturing customer relationships as you do on making sure you have a good product. Advice InspirationAction Engage a “mystery shopper” to give you feedback and a fresh perspective on what it’s really like to interact with your company. “You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.” Jerry Fritz
  20. 20. Get more advice on how to excel at customer service on the Staples Small Business Hub.

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