annoying_you_pt2We all have clients who annoy us.

You know who I’m talking about: those demanding, wish-washy or just plain irritating clients who take up a ton of our time and attention (and are the toughest to please).

Frankly, irritation can be a two-way street.

None of us is perfect, either (myself included!). In fact, we may unknowingly do things that annoy our best customers – and undermine our relationships with them.

So as a follow-up to my last shareworthy service post, I’m going to turn the tables today and examine the ways in which we might be irritating our clients:

  • Bad Attitudes. When your staff provides service, you don’t want their smiles or cheerful recitation of service policies to conjure images of evil, grinning clowns. Rude, apathetic or flippant behavior alienates clients, so make sure your staff is properly trained to deliver great service with a great attitude. Continually remind everyone in your company that you really do have your customers’ satisfaction at heart – and that attitudes are as important as solutions.
  • Employees who can’t solve customers’ problems. Does your team have the knowledge and authority to quickly and effectively resolve issues – without making customers wait or jump through hoops? Empowering your staff goes beyond merely training them to be nice.  It means giving them (or their direct supervisor) the authority, training and resources to satisfy the customer on the spot.
  • Not keeping promises. Your customers just want you to do what you say you will (you expect as much from your service providers, right?). Whether it’s a phone call that never comes, a missed quality check-in or an unresolved billing issue, an un-kept promise undermines your firm’s credibility – and can drive a good customer away.  So make promise-keeping a central part of your corporate culture. Invest in the policy development, training and automation your team needs to consistently live up to the commitments they make.

Knowledge is Power

What are you doing to irritate clients? What are you not delivering that they are expecting? How can you know for sure? Ask them! Informal conversations may uncover potential problems, but anonymous customer surveys provide a safe way for clients to give you the honest feedback you need.

If you haven’t asked for their input in the last few months, read this post on how to gather higher quality customer feedback. It will help you prevent service issues and raise the bar in service for your recruiting or staffing firm.
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