Phyllis .

The recent customer service debacle on United Airlines where a passenger was violently removed from their plane must have caused many business owners to go back to their customer service policy to make sure nothing that horrific would ever happen to them. These days you can't afford to make big mistakes. You and your business are simply one YouTube video or Facebook post away from being destroyed. 


Little Mistakes Can Turn Big

But customer service mistakes don't have to be that big to lose a client or even ruin your business. Sometimes it's the little mistakes that will get you as a small business owner.

For example, a friend of mine just started a business partnership less than a year ago, and this was her first tax filing for it. She became aware of an accounting mistake when she received a letter from the IRS saying she owed nearly $400 penalty for being late on her tax return. She immediately contacted her Accountant to find out what happened. This is where the real mistake happened - The Accountant said that she assumed my friend had filed an extension. My friend told her that she had never filed an extension before and "isn't that the responsibility of the Accountant anyway?" Then the Accountant tried to point the finger at my friend again and said that since my friend had been in a partnership business before, she figured she would know that businesses file taxes on March 15th. Ha! Really?
Buh-bye Accountant!

Honesty is the Best Policy

So what's wrong with that picture? Bottom line - when you own a business be prepared to say you're sorry. It's part of being a successful entrepreneur.  Take responsibility for what is yours and own it. All of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. A customer would prefer you make the mistake and own up to it. Then, fix it. It creates trust, which is one of the most important factors, if not THE most important factor in relationships, business and personal. When it comes to your customers, honesty is the best policy. 

Had a bad customer service experience? Tell us about it in the comments.

Show Your Customers You Care

Back to the airline industry for a moment. Recently I had to change my return flight from New York to Dallas. My young-adult daughter was having some health issues, and I just felt I needed to be home with her. Unfortunately that meant I needed to cut short my vacation with my parents, who were also having health issues. It was a difficult choice.

I called Delta to find out what the cost would be, and the customer service representative who worked with me was amazing. I think the flight would have cost over $100 to change, but she found some kind of "loop-hole" that allowed her to only charge me $50. During our conversation, she began easing my mind by asking about Dallas and told me about her experience in that city. There was a soothing quality in her voice. I felt that she really cared about my needs at that moment.  

But, here's what impressed me most. As soon as I got off the phone with her, I received an email from Delta with a survey that had one question only. "If you were to hire a customer representative, would you hire the person who just helped you?" That's it! At that moment, I not only felt the Delta rep cared about my well-being, but I truly felt that the parent company, Delta, had my best interest at heart. It was simple. If she was good enough for ME to hire, then she's good enough for them. It put me in a position of power. 

Tell us about your customer service experience either as a customer or as a business owner in the comments. 

4 Common Mistakes in Customer Service

CEO & Founder of eWomenNetwork, Sandra Yancey, has built her business of nearly 20 years with a customer-first foundation. It's all about cultivating relationships, which starts with you. Check out the video above where she describes the 4 mistakes that you can avoid when dealing with customers. Here they are in a nutshell:

Mistake #1

Not knowing who your ideal client is. 

Mistake #2

Assuming, not knowing, why people don't call you back. 

Mistake #3

Not selling the way your customer buys.

Mistake #4

Not connecting with your customer physically and emotionally. 

4 Common Mistakes in Customer Service & How to Overcome Them

Author, Phyllis Smith

Content Manager, eWomenNetwork
Program Director, eWN Podcast Network

Sign in to leave a comment

To install this Web App in your iPhone/iPad press and then Add to Home Screen.