Imagine walking into a restaurant that you have highly anticipated paying a visit to. You’ve done all the right things, made a booking, arrived on time, looked up the menu online, and possibly already decided what you want to eat.
You are super excited to give this place a go and you’ve heard good things. Now imagine walking in and having the host on the night ignore you completely… Frustrating...
Maybe you then move on (a little agitated) to the bar tender who completely ignores you as well whilst he shakes his cocktail shaker high in the air to mix the overpriced cocktails he’s about to serve. You say, ‘excuse me I have a booking’, and get nothing. How rude.
Rightly, you would be pretty pissed off if no one acknowledged you, smiled, waved at you or tried to seat you. You will most likely go home after the event and never go back, or maybe even write a strongly worded letter or review and tell all your friends what a terrible experience you had with this establishment.
You would struggle to find a person that wouldn’t think it’s bad customer service to ignore a customer when they walk into your place of business, but so many businesses choose to ignore their customers online.
Sometimes not intentionally, but it happens so often it makes my heart hurt. I’m talking digital communication with a business. So, anything in relation to contact with your business through your social media channels, on your webpage enquiry forms, private messages, or even email.
But news flash, for those that are still catching up to the point I’m trying to make here; every contact your business has with a customer is a customer service event.
So, when a customer leaves a lovely note on a Facebook or Instagram post about how yummy your food looks, not replying demonstrates your businesses customer service. When someone emails you asking a question and you don’t respond, again that demonstrates your businesses customer service.
In every business, each person needs to be customer service savvy. I’m talking about your company as a whole, not just one area.
So, when people take the time to comment, ask questions or send you a private message, respond in as timely a manner as possible.
Yes, we are all busy, but it is an important part of developing customer relationships and making your potential customers into repeat customers by showing them how much you care.
There are many ways to manage community engagement and questions; you can have auto messages if you don’t respond during certain hours of the day, but let them know when someone will get back to them.
You can outsource the management of accounts, or ensure that you have a marketing staff member who manages them or a rotating roster, but it needs to be part of your overall strategy and approach to managing customer service in your business.
Every touch point you have with a potential customer is customer service.
Just my two cents.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: