Thanks to customers a company makes a profit. Thanks to satisfied customers a company is developing. But only happy customers make any company a leader in the market.
We will give you some business advice:
- Not a client but a friend. The most important thing is that you should have an individual approach to each client. The last marketing trend is a friendship with your customer. Everyone wants to be viewed not as a purse with money and even as a client but as an old friend.
- Build relationships online. In an ordinary store, a lot depends on the sales consultants, in an online store there is an opportunity to politely communicate with the client. In social networks much depends on how you answer a buyer’s question. Demonstrate your interest in the client. The problem of communication is in the mistaken opinion of business owners that if you can communicate quickly and you do not see the client then everything can be done willy-nilly.
- Negative attitude will always be remembered, especially on the Internet. When a person is hurt, he wants to tell everyone about it. The Internet is an ideal place. If offline in order to spoil someone’s reputation you need time and resources, then on the Internet it’s easily done: blacklist on the forums or posts on Facebook or Twitter with a request to “retweet”. And the complaint is sure to involve 10 more people who used to be silent, but now they have found a like-minded person. A common enemy unites. And reputation is a decisive factor that customers trust when shopping on the Internet. Especially if we talk about B2B.
- Common ground. The company should pay attention to all areas of contact: managers who communicate with clients, delivery guys, website, advertising products and the office where customers are received. It is very important.
- The face of the company is a person. People buy not from the company but from other people. Sometimes the quality of the product or its price is not as important as the quality of the service.
- Pleasant surprises. The client must feel that he is your client forever. Congratulate him on his birthday, for example. It does not cost anything to you or it might cost a few cents. Many customers follow you in social networks. And if one of your clients has got married and is going on a long-awaited vacation – congratulate them. There is nothing wrong in this if it is done with good intentions. Remind about yourself and customers will understand that you need them.
- Learn from your mistakes. If customers leave, try to understand why this happens. Never miss this moment. Get feedback. And in communicating with a new client, you will build a business model in such a way so as to exclude the possibility of leaving.
The most important purpose of your company’s work should be the desire to make customers not just happy, but very happy!
The right way to fire an employee
There’s nothing fun about the firing process: whether you’re giving or getting the news.
“No one likes to fire people, it doesn’t matter how successful or high up they are,” said Kristi Hedges, leadership coach and author of The Power of Presence.
But having to let workers go comes with the territory of being an employer.
And while there are a host of legal issues surrounding how to properly lay off a worker, experts said there are also practical and emotional considerations to take into account when delivering the news.
Don’t surprise them
If a worker is being fired for poor performance, it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Hold regular employee reviews to go over any areas that need improvement, experts recommended. They don’t need to be super formal, but it allows workers time to improve or refocus.
Some states have what’s called at-will employment, which means workers can be fired at any time for any legal reason, but that doesn’t make it a good business practice.
“Legally you may be able to do that, but in many cases, firing an employee without having any reason — especially if it is for performance with no feedback or no indication of doing something — that is not a good way to operate a business,” said Dan Ryan, founder of Ryan Search & Consulting.
If the termination is due to a business model change, try to give affected workers as much notice as possible.
“Sometimes business necessities don’t allow [for a heads up] or for safety reasons you may not want to, each case is different,” said Paula Harvey, vice president of human resources at Schulte Building Systems in Texas. “Make a good decision on how to handle the terminations.”
Do it face to (familiar) face
Firing someone is always going to be uncomfortable. But it needs to happen in person, the experts agreed. Not over the phone, via email or blasted out on Twitter.
“We pick up a lot more information when someone is in front of us,” said Hedges. “You can see body language, feel the energy in the room and react better. It’s a sign of courtesy to let someone go face to face.
She added that it’s best to have the direct manager be the one delivering the news. “If management is having a talk with you, that is a level of intimacy and personal care,” she said. “If you are kicked over to HR to someone you don’t interact with, that sets a different tone.”
Experts also recommended having another person in the room, preferably from human resources, that can serve both as a witness or to help with any unusual reactions or questions.
Be clear and concise
Now’s not the time to wing it. What you say and how you break the news is important when letting an employee go.
Make sure you know exactly why you’re firing a worker, have specific examples and bring the proper documentation. That includes copies of performance reports, any write-ups and applicable financial forms like unemployment insurance and health insurance and 401(k) options.
Be firm and clear in the delivery of the termination and the path forward. “There is no room or need to get into a protracted discussion,” said Ryan. “It is what it is, there is no productive discussion that can take place after.”
Be prepared for emotion, but keep yours in check
Some workers take the news in stride. Others might go through a range of emotions: shock, grief and sometimes anger.
“Show empathy,” said Ryan, but be careful about any physical contact.
Harvey advised against using any harsh words or mean emotions during the termination. “You may be upset that they didn’t perform at the point you hoped, but it doesn’t do you any good. Just say, ‘This is it, we made this decision and we wish you well on your way.'”
Give them a soft landing
For workers who are being let go for non-performance issues, help make the transition as seamless as possible, Hedges recommended.
She said some companies offer employees a long lead time to give them a chance to find a new job or offer some consulting work for the company to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Be honest with employees
If there is a big round of layoffs, don’t leave employees in the dark. And if word starts spreading about people losing their jobs, move swiftly.
“That kind of rumor mill can be detrimental to those involved, especially if your name is being circulated as on the chopping block,’ said Ryan.
Try to make the cuts all at once, Hedges advised.
“Go deep the first time. It’s better to let more people go at once then to do it over three stages. It prolongs the pain. The worst thing a manger can do when answering whether more layoffs are coming is to say, ‘I don’t know, we will have to see.'”
Once the cuts have been made, be transparent and offer a sense of security to remaining workers.
“If the rest of company doesn’t know what’s going on and the only way to retrieve information is back channel rumors, that crates havoc,” said Hedges.
from money.cnn website
How To Plan A Team Building Retreat: The Complete Guide
Team building retreats can be an incredibly powerful way to increase your workforce’s camaraderie, develop more productive relationships and improve levels of communication and cooperation. However, to ensure your team building retreat is effective, it’s essential to plan it carefully – otherwise it can quickly turn into an unproductive offsite meeting. And we all know how much fun unwanted meetings are…
In this guide, we’ll explain exactly why and how to plan a successful team building retreat for your business. You will learn:
- Why you should plan a team building retreat
- How to plan and prepare a successful retreat or outing
- How to choose a venue
- The types of activities that work best for retreats
What Is A Team Building Retreat?
A team building retreat is essentially where your business organises an out of office gathering of your company’s employees. Quite often they’re hosted in rural locations, providing an environment where your team can learn to really work together through a whole host of activities.
Most of the retreat’s tasks are aimed at strengthening coworker relationships, developing levels of communication and allowing you to monitor how your team works together in some challenging but fun situations.
Why You Should Plan A Team Building Retreat
Employees are the foundation of any successful business. It’s therefore essential that your team is working effectively together. A team building retreat has a diverse range of benefits, all of which can be powerful methods of enhancing your businesses’ success and bringing your teams together:
- Improve your team’s weaknesses and build on their strengths – no matter how strong your team is, there are always certain elements you can improve. With a team building retreat you can specifically target areas for improvement, with a clear purpose, educational goals and specifically choosing certain team building activities that will develop these goals.
- Be proactive – you might be able to see potential upcoming challenges within the team, in terms of relationships or communication. A team building retreat gives you the opportunity to shut the laptops and phones down and be completely proactive about the issues you’d like to work out.
- Bring your remote team together – even if you have a team that’s working remotely, team building retreats can still be very effective. In fact, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring your long distance team together and help them bond as a team. When most of your team haven’t met each other before, they can feel a little disconnected – an annual or quarterly event helps to address this issue.
- Motivation and job satisfaction – did you know that 64% of employees say that creating trust between staff and senior management influences job satisfaction? A retreat is the perfect opportunity to develop that bond between colleagues, whilst allowing time out of the office for your teams to become familiar with each other.
- Investing in your team – most employees don’t actually believe their organisations are working together as effectively as they could be. That’s generally because most businesses aren’t investing in the right type of training and resources that will develop their teams. Organising retreats allows your business to really focus on valuable team building exercises.
How To Plan A Successful Retreat Or Outing
Creating a successful team building event requires careful planning and each stage of the process has a purpose. Here are some clear steps on how to plan and prepare a successful team building retreat…
Planning committee – First of all, assign a team to plan the event. With your planning committee, make sure there’s a crossover between the team planning the retreat and those that are participating. If the delegates attending the event feel like they’ve influenced decisions in terms of the activities to be involved in, they’re more likely to be engaged on the day of the event.
Be clear about the purpose of your event – One of the biggest reasons why team building retreats are not quite as effective as they could be is the fact that there’s no set agenda or goals for the outcome of the event. Think about what would you like to achieve with the team building retreat and be very clear when communicating this to your team. Think about the reasons why you’re bringing the team together – this could include the following:
- To increase creativity and innovation
- Work on and develop a particular deficiency within the team
- Improve coworker relationships
- Enhance communication within the team
Set educational goals – After defining the purpose of your retreat, you may want to drill down further into educational goals. Be as specific as possible, as the more detailed your goal, the easier it is to measure success.
Increasing team engagement – to ensure your team building retreat is successful, it’s important to gain support and participation from the top executives in your business. They’re highly influential and leading by example creates a stronger motivation for other employees to engage in the retreat.
A retreat where only the relatively junior colleagues participate will not feel as important and therefore the attendees may not take it as seriously. Having a couple of leadership level employees within the group and participating like any other member creates a stronger sense of importance.
Choosing A Venue
With team building retreats becoming so popular, you have a vast range of options when it comes to choosing a venue. However, there are certain ways to optimise the event to ensure it’s as successful as possible.
This includes identifying the following:
- Does the venue specifically cater for team building retreats? Ideally, you should hire a venue that’s specifically designed and experienced in hosting team building retreats. They’ll therefore be able to assist you with organising the event, advising what activities and tasks are best suited to your company’s specific requirements.
- Where is the location based? Quite often locations in remote, quiet surroundings are best. They offer the ability for your employees to focus and concentrate on the team building activities. However, if you’re not supplying transport for the team then ensure it’s in a location that’s reasonable to travel to, depending on where your staff live.
- What facilities does the venue offer? Do they offer suitable accommodation? Are there places to eat and drink? What standard of accommodation should your business book for out of office events? These are some of the key venue questions that you should analyse when searching for a location to host the retreat.
- What is your budget? Obviously some venues are more affordable than others and if you’re a small business, it’s important to be realistic with your budget. However, depending on the size of your team you might be able to negotiate with the venue for a more reasonable rate.
- What activities do you want to include? As a core element of your retreat, you should find a venue that has a wide and relevant selection of activities suitable for your business. We discuss activities in the following section but as a general rule, each task should be fun, engaging and in line with your educational objectives for the retreat.
If you’re looking for a venue specifically in the US, here are some the top leadership and team building venues rated in order of preference. If you have close contacts from other organisations, they may also have recommendations for potential venues.
Types Of Activities That Work Well At Retreats
When it comes to choosing activities for the event, there are hundreds to pick from. From ‘egg tossers’ to ‘scavenger hunts’, there are some great icebreakers and team building activities for you to select. We recommend choosing activities that are relevant to the goals you have set (ie. Improved teamwork, strengthening communication between teams, etc), as these allow you to watch your team’s behaviour and see how they perform.
Some of the top team building activities include:
- Icebreakers – icebreakers are a powerful way to remove the barriers that a formal business environment often creates. They work really well during the early stages of the retreat, to help people feel more relaxed and comfortable, whilst ensuring they’re engaged with the event. A few of our personal favourites are:Desert island – prepare your team by telling them that they’ll be flown off to a desert island and they’re only allowed to pack three items with them. Each delegate will then present their three items to the rest of the group, along with reasoning as to why they chose each one. Not only does this help your team members start to think pragmatically but it also offers a way to see their personality, how they think, and how they react to being ‘put on the spot’.
- Questions and answers – this is quite a fun concept, where team’s are provided with an answer and have to come up with as many relevant questions as possible. It’s a really useful way to warm your employees up for the retreat, as they have to start thinking creatively to solve the task.
- Getting positive – with your retreat delegates arranged in a circle so that they’re easily able to communicate to each other, ask your team members to be open and share their current worries, concerns or thoughts. You can then support each delegate that’s sharing their concerns by offering helpful questions to address each distraction. This ice breaker really helps to address any apprehensions your team may be feeling about the retreat or just in general, whilst creating a level of trust and mutual respect between each team member.
Games – games are great for team building, as you can organise activities that really bring people together with camaraderie. Try to organise games that are involving, require teamwork and most likely haven’t been played by anyone in the group. Some top team building games include the following:
- Foil fun – with two sheets of foil, teams have to sculpt the tinfoil into a shape or object that you specify. This is a creative task that’s perfect for the kinaesthetic learners in your team who are engaged by practical activities
- Bridge build – if your goals are to develop your team’s problem solving, communication and creative thinking skills, the bridge build task ticks all the boxes. Splitting your delegates into two groups, both teams have to work together to build half a bridge on either side, without being able to see each other. It’s also quite entertaining to watch!
- Big races – big races is a really fun game, involving wacky clothes, dressing up and plenty of hopping!
When selecting your choice of activities for your retreat, this resource might be useful as it has a list of over 60 free team building activities. There’s a game to suit every organisation’s team building needs on this list!
Struggling For Team Engagement?
With any business event, formal or informal, people tend to worry that it’s going to be a dry and slightly dull affair. That’s why you should try to innovate with your team outing, avoiding the monotony of most generic retreats. Make the effort to stand out as an employer who truly cares about building a team. Not only does this make your retreat more enjoyable, it helps build the culture of an innovative and forward thinking business.
With the below tips, ensure you have the foundations of your business retreat organised first – such as your goals, agenda, activities and schedule for the day. Then once you have the basics covered, think about how you can create a unique, unforgettable and truly rewarding retreat for your employees and your company. Here are some creative suggestions:
- Novelty – serve food that people love and brings interest to the table (no pun intended!) – for example, it could be exotic international cuisine or vegan food. You could even host a cooking class as part of your event, where people can work together as a team to cook a great dish!
- Guest instructors – hiring a guest instructor is a great way to test your team’s ability to learn new things, whilst it’s also new and exciting. Whether it’s a teacher specialising in kayaking, tug of war or doubles table tennis, introducing a new person really helps to engage your team members.
- Hire a motivational speaker – hiring a passionate motivational speaker is a great way to engage and inspire your employees, whilst acting as a welcome break from the activities and group tasks that can become a little intense. Motivational speeches can add a burst of energy to a retreat and you could even theme your motivational speech around the importance of teamwork, collaboration and working together. If you’re short on time, this doesn’t need to be a long session – between 15-30 minutes is enough to create an impactful message.
- Record videos and pictures from the retreat – this makes the event more memorable and it’s great for sharing via social media or on your company’s internal network. This could include a video interview after the retreat with your team, action clips from the activities or just a few high quality pictures that highlight the fun side of your company’s culture.
What You Should Avoid (And When NOT To Organise A Company Retreat)
A business retreat isn’t suitable for every organisation. Sometimes they’re simply not relevant to your objectives as a business.
Here are some common scenarios where a team building event isn’t relevant and some alternative solutions:
- Tight deadlines – if you’re running a seasonal business where clients are demanding and deadlines are likely to be tight, a team building retreat could be a little distracting. In this situation, it’s simply a case of working around the timing. Try to organise the retreat after peak season, as then you can afford to be more proactive with team building. The retreat could even be positioned as a reward for your team performing so well, highlighting the fact that you appreciate their hard work.
- Very small teams – if you run a very small business, with just 2 or 3 people in the company, a team building event isn’t really relevant. However, as an alternative you could organise a mini social event that requires less organisation such as a team meal, bowling or informal drinks. For more adventurous teams, you could arrange an exciting outdoor activity like skydiving or white water rafting.
- Limited financial resources – when budgets are limited and you’re struggling to keep afloat as a business, a team building retreat might be a relatively expensive luxury that your organisation can’t afford. You could delay the retreat and wait for your company’s financial performance to improve. Another option is to consider less expensive team building events, such as an onsite team building day, which can still be fun and effective.
There are some common pitfalls that many organisations repeatedly fall into the habit of. Whilst some of the below mistakes might seem intuitive, we recommend avoiding them as they can really hinder the progress of your team building efforts:
Poor organization – try to stick to a fairly organised time schedule and create an agenda for the day. It’s easy to stray off on a tangent with a team building retreat, which leads to you failing to achieve your retreat’s goals. Assign a dedicated facilitator for the day who’s in charge of managing the retreat.
Lack of engagement – people naturally tend to get bored and distracted if a retreat isn’t engaging enough. Make sure your activities are fun and challenging, and take regular food and beverage breaks to refresh your team’s concentration levels. If you have members who are shy or slightly introverted, try to encourage them to be involved in the group activities so that they feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Invite everyone – a team building retreat should bring everyone relevant together. Failing to invite certain people in the organisation could have a negative impact on employee morale, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Ensure it’s an inclusive event that brings your workforce together, rather than shutting particular employees out.
Failing to set goals – if you don’t set goals for the retreat, it’s going to be difficult to measure the event’s success. When financial resources are invested into the event, you should be able to prove the return on investment, even if this is a qualitative result. Goals are the foundation of any team building event, helping you to understand what activities you should select, how to organise the day and which specific skills you would like your team to develop.
Calling it a retreat – yes, this guide does commonly refer to an off site team building event as a business retreat! However, the word ‘retreat’ might have some negative connotations and imply that you’re ‘escaping’ work. Seth Godin actually recommends calling the event an ‘advance’ for this reason. Whatever you decide to call your event, make it sound fun and appealing to the people you invite.
Asking for feedback – so many organisations fail to ask for feedback after holding their retreat. This is a great opportunity to find out how you can improve your next session, if you ask the right questions. Ask for feedback after the final activity before everyone leaves. That way, the experience will still be fresh in your attendee’s minds and they’ll be able to provide clearer suggestions. Preferably collect feedback right away (avoid collecting the forms at a later date) via an individual rather than a group contribution, as your delegates can be honest and won’t have to worry what their colleagues think about their ideas.
How to Handle Negative Customer Feedback
In a perfect world everyone would like everybody else, and every business would be so well organized and service oriented, clients and customers would only ever give positive feedback. But the truth is that we don’t live in a perfect world, and people are often ultra-critical about other people and businesses, whether they offer services or sell goods. So if you’re about to launch a new business, be aware that you will get negative customer feedback as well, however hard you try to please.
The good news, though, is that there are proven ways to handle negative customer feedback, and turn things around so that your business would learn and benefit from it.
What you need to accept at the beginning is that it is clients and customers who usually make or break a business. It doesn’t matter which niche you choose to fill, without them, your business simply cannot succeed. This is exactly why customer service is such an important element of every business for entrepreneurs.
Obviously, good products and services are also needed for any business to success. It is also a fact that it doesn’t matter whether the business is online, operating off a high street or even if the business owner works from home, the principles remain the same.
In this article, we will show you that 1) negative feedback can be positive, and 2) how you can turn it into a positive engagement with the customer. We will discuss how you can assess problems and give guidance on how you should respond and give positive feedback to customers even if you were in the wrong. We will also show how you can use negative feedback to improve your business. There has been a lot of research on the 3) impact of negative customer feedback. With reference to a few of these studies, we will explain the dangers of ignoring negative feedback, and discuss the value of good customer service and show how it can help your business succeed and become more profitable.
NEGATIVE FEEDBACK CAN BE POSITIVE
It doesn’t matter whether feedback from customers is positive or negative; you can usually turn it around and make it positive. Furthermore, it’s a whole lot easier to handle when you realize that negative feedback is inevitable and can provide your business with a unique opportunity to grow.
Negative feedback isn’t always easy to deal with, while it’s much more comfortable dealing with compliments. Even if feedback is negative, customers are engaging with you. If they didn’t care, or it didn’t matter, they wouldn’t bother. Also, the fact that people leave negative feedback doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in the wrong. But if you are wrong, you’ve been handed a golden opportunity to get it right next time.
When you receive a negative feedback, the secret is to assess the problem, respond immediately in a sincere and respectful manner, and then do whatever you can to either rectify the problem within your business, or explain to the customer that their feedback wasn’t justified. If you respond straight away and show that you care about your customers and their complaints (even if they aren’t justified), you’re likely to keep those customers and continue to build a stronger business. More details on this process are below.
One thing you must never do is to ignore negative comments and reviews. It’s not only the customers who have made the negative statements who are watching you. If you are operating on a public forum – social media for instance – your audience could be huge, which could help you turn negative feedback into a positive marketing plan.
TURN NEGATIVE FEEDBACK INTO POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT
There is an old saying that the customer is always right. Of course this is nonsense, nobody is always right. But the quickest way to lose a customer is to tell vehemently that person they are wrong.
Here are six powerful ways you can turn negative feedback into positive engagement.
1) Assess the Problem
Any form of feedback is generated from something that relates to the goods or services involved with your business. There is no doubt that you as entrepreneur who maintains good human relations will be sensitive to people’s needs (in terms of both employees and customers). In turn, your employees are more likely to provide the best possible customer service to those they deal with. But this doesn’t mean they will always be in the right.
To assess whether the customer is right or wrong about a complaint, you need to understand the trigger. It is important to recognize why a customer is providing negative feedback. You need to find out what has upset that person and what they believe is wrong. Often asking the question is a good way to understand the reasons for customer unsatisfaction. Often customers will rant and rave and not spell out exactly what has occurred. For instance, negative feedback might simply state that the products sold are sub-standard, or that the company doesn’t do business in a professional manner. In this event, it’s quite acceptable first to ask for more information so that you can find out what, in fact, has happened.
Apart from anything else, if you ignore negative feedback, there’s a good chance you’ll find another customer giving similar negative feedback in future. Similarly, those who are happy with your products and/or services are much more likely to recommend the business to others, and keep using it. By assessing the feedback in a positive manner, you can do something about the source of the problem, and either prevent it happening again or know why people react negatively. Either way, by objectively assessing the problem, you can pre-empt a similar situation happening in future.
2) Respond Immediately But Don’t React
It’s human nature to react when we get negative feedback, either about ourselves, our families, people we care about or our businesses and business dealings. While it is essential to respond quickl and nowadays, it is very easy to respond immediately, it is equally important not to react defensively and to allow just a little time to respond appropriately. Think carefully about what you plan to say, and if needed, bounce your response off someone you know and trust. Don’t wait days, but do wait until you have absorbed what has been said and determined how fair the criticism is. If you are answering negative feedback telephonically or via email, your comments will be relatively private. If you are responding via social media, Facebook, for instance, then be aware that other people will see your comments and this may lead to further negative comment.
3) Respond Sincerely, Respectfully, and Thankfully
Whatever you decide to say, make sure that your response is respectful and sincere. You want your customers to know that you really do care about them. You should also thank them for the feedback, even if it is awful. Put yourself in their shoes, and remember the maxim: The customer is always right. It might be difficult, but if you respect your customers and deal with them in a polite and thankful manner, you will ultimately benefit.
While it certainly does take time for entrepreneurs and business owners (and their trusted employees) to respond to comments from customers, you will find it is worth the time and effort since you can use this as an invaluable tool to boost customer retention and support. In fact if you bother to respond to all the negative comments you get, you are going to be amazed at the results.
4) Correct Customers if Their Feedback is Wrong
Having said that customers are always right, there are some situations when they aren’t. And in this situation you have every right to correct them. But first you need to assess the situation objectively. However hard it is to swallow, negative feedback is often totally justified, whether the business is a new one or whether it has been established and operating successfully for many years. Friends, family, and colleagues can all help you decide whether the feedback is essentially right or wrong.
Sometimes it even pays to rectify a situation even when a customer is wrong. You don’t have to, but it is a known marketing benefit that can persuade potential new customers that you are the best in your business niche.
If you were in fact “wrong” and their negative feedback was justified, a good approach is to ask customers how they think you can improve their business experience.
5) Take The Opportunity to Improve Your Business
Negative feedback of your customers does, perhaps strangely, offer a unique opportunity to improve a business. While positive feedback is certainly encouraging and inspirational, negative feedback is a direct guideline that can help you improve your business. It can also have a direct result on profits. In fact, even when you don’t get feedback from customers it’s a good business strategy to look for it. You can contact customers directly, or use a social media platform to solicit feedback. The latter is an amazing tool because you can share your actions with so many people, and in this way increase your customer base, sometimes exponentially.
Another important factor to consider is that when customers aren’t satisfied, you need to give them reasons they should give you and your business another chance. You should also take the opportunity to communicate the fact that you have resolved whatever issues you had. At the end of the day, a key factor is that negative comments and reviews are less important than the way you and your company respond to the feedback.
6) Follow-Up to Show You Care
Once you have made contact with a dissatisfied customer, don’t leave it there. You need to follow-up to show that you actually do care. Contact the person – or business – to ensure that they are happy with the steps that you have taken to rectify what they thought was wrong. This will show your customers that you are committed to delivering the very best services or products.
Although it will not make you feel any better about the negative feedback you have received from customers, but it will help you to create a culture that will embrace both good and bad feedback and show that you’re in the business for the long haul.
IMPACT OF NEGATIVE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
Negative customer feedback is what will stick if nothing is done about it. More often than not, if you respond (as discussed above) then you can turn it around, and convert it into positive engagement. Research proves this. In fact, it has been shown that when customers see positive reviews next to negative ones, positivity almost always wins over negativity.
Harris, a survey company that has operated online polls internationally for more than 45 years, tracked customers who had posted negative feedback on social networks and company websites that allow comments. Of these, 68 percent said they had received a response from the company, and 18 percent of these had subsequently become loyal customers. Further, 34 percent of these people deleted their original negative review while 33 percent posted a positive review as a result of the response they got.
1) Consumers Share Bad Experiences
A survey that looked at the vital importance of good customer service found that more people share bad consumer experiences than good ones. The survey, which involved 1,046 participants, was conducted by an independent market research firm, Dimensional Research. It found that 58 percent more customers are likely to give feedback about their experiences than they were five years ago.
The survey also found that:
Quick customer service was important;
95 percent shared bad customer experiences while only 87 percent shared good experiences;
54 percent shared bad experiences with more than five people while only 33 percent shared their good experiences;
39 percent said they continued to avoid businesses for at least two years after a bad experience; only 24 percent went back to businesses to buy things for more than two years, even though their experience had been good;
72 percent said their negative experience included having to explain the problem they had with lots of different people.
Knowing that consumers will share bad experiences should drive your business to resolve problems as quickly as possible to minimize the negative impact in future.
2) How Bad Customer Service Experiences Harm Business
Bad customer service can do a lot of harm to any business, particularly smaller businesses that rely to a large extent on word-of-mouth referrals. Since a growing number of customers are known to share bad experiences, it follows that negative customer service experiences can alienate existing and prospecting customers. It can also have a substantial impact on the potential of the business to attract new customers.
If current customers find that service levels deteriorate, you are likely to lose them. If potential customers are faced with a bad customer service experience, as illustrated in the video above, you are likely to lose them before they start doing business with you. For instance, a new, potential customer is not likely to be forgiving if they are ignored or if employees cannot provide the information or service they expect. They are more likely to leave and go elsewhere. And it won’t stop there. As research shows, consumers who have unpleasant experiences will be very likely to share their negative experiences with family, friends, or with a multitude of people they don’t know by leaving negative feedback on social media and company websites.
If the staff turnover is high, the reason for poor customer service is a lack of training of new employees. Further, because bad customer service impacts customers and turns them away, this commonly has a direct impact on profits and can be costly for your company. For this reason, staff training and quality control of goods and services is paramount.
3) The Value of Good Customer Service
In general, customers hate bad service. They don’t like being ignored; forced to stand in long queues; left holding on automated phone lines waiting to be attended to; and the average person will get irritated or angry if confronted by rudeness.
Whether buying a product or utilizing a service, customers will do business with individuals and companies that provide a good service or product in their price range. They might not give positive feedback when customer service is good. But chances are you will develop their loyalty so that they come back and at very least mention your business to others.
Another proven factor is that customers who are unhappy about the service delivered to them are expensive. In addition to the possibility of them giving negative feedback, they are also more likely to return goods or need additional support if a service is poor. So ultimately, a good customer experience is going to help increase revenue and, therefore, improve profits in your business.
4) How Good Customer Service Helps Business Succeed
Good customer service can be one of the most powerful forms of marketing a business. It should also form a pivotal part of entrepreneurial philosophy. Remember that a business is nothing without customers. But by meeting their needs and keeping your customers happy, you can grow your business.
Communication is also a vital tool, and of course good communication is part of good customer service. Get customer service right, and you’ll be assured of positive feedback from customers as well as word-of-mouth recommendations – bearing in mind that this is one of the most powerful means of advertising.
People value sincerity, and they respond positively towards it. If you listen to your customers and deliver what they want, anticipating their needs and providing solutions to any problems they may have, you are providing a good customer service. If things go wrong, and you apologize and set things right, you’re providing a good customer service.
The bottom line is that those businesses that respond to negative feedback promptly and genuinely will benefit. Those who ignore negative feedback are likely to suffer.
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