10 Bad Customer Service
Habits You Need te Breai(
Follow these "spring cleaning" taaics on how you can improve your relationships with your customers.
By William Atkinson
f you're like most business owners,you probably assume your customer relationships are pretty good. After all,you have enough customers to still be in business. But Joseph
Callaway says it's possible you're merely surviving instead of thriving because you're only scratching the surface of what it means to truly put the customer first. He suggests you conduct a "spring cleaning" to identify and purge the bad habits that are gumming up this crucial area of your business.
"There's something about springtime that makes you want to get your metaphorical house in order and start fresh,"says Callaway,who,along with his wife, JoAnn.is the author of Clients First:
The Two Word Miracle (Wiley, 2012)."If you're feeling that impulse but not sure where to start, zero in on client relationships.
This is where you'll get the most bang for your buck," he says.
According to Callaway,"Most business owners are so concerned with paying the bills that they instinctively put themselves first. It's a behavior fueled by fear. But when you really put the customer first, and put your own needs second, a whole lot of other things naturally fall into place.Decisions will become easier,your business will flourish, and your relationships will be based on true transparency
Callaway shares ten bad habits (some fairly obvious, others much less so) that might be keeping you from putting your customers first—and tactics to help you start sweeping them out with winter's dust bunnies:
Bad Habit I:
Making Customer Interactions All About You
Having a healthy ego can be a blessing and a curse.Yes,you need a strong sense of self in order to avoid being taken advantage of and marginalized by competitors and by customers. But when you start to believe that winning, recognition and accolades are "the point" of what you do, you've veered off onto a destructive path.You become less likely to put the customer's best interests first if they interfere with reaching your own goals or with how others might see you. And while you may believe it'll never happen to you, this is also the path that leads to moral ambiguity, cheating and trampling others in the name of success.
Spring Cleftning Tactic: Notice how often you bring the story around to yourself.Stop doing that. Many people think building rapport is a matter of finding a common interest.
They then dominate the common interest discussion by talk-
MAY 2013 I Distributor Focus
ing about themselves.
Don't. This is a form of arrogance and it takes your focus off the customer.
Bad Habit 2:WorryingToo Much
If you're like most people,you probably feel burdened with a myriad of worries, fears and obligations.You assume that "it's all up to me,"and you might even lie awake at night fretting over what isn't right and what could go wrong. However, if you want to successfully care for your customers, you can't expend the majority of your mental energy on worries and what-ifs.
Spring Cleaning Tactic: Every time you find yourself fretting, do something for a client. Spend an hour solving a customer problem you've been avoiding. Connect one customer to another who might be able to help him. Email him a link to an article you know would interest him.Worry thrives when you procrastinate and hand-wring.Action is the antidote,so do something (anything) to back up your commitment to your customers.
Bad Habit 3: Letting Apathy Creep In
In the real world (and especially in a tough economy),you can't always follow the popular graduation day advice and "do what you love." Unfortunately, that reality often leads to apathy disengagement and an "1 just have to make it till five o'clock" mentality If that describes you, it's time for a wake-up call.
Spring Cleaning Tactic: Make