Customer Service — Silence is Not Golden

Silence is NOT golden when working with buyers or consumers.  What do I mean?  How many times have you and I received a message or an email from a potential buyer and either put off responding or just did not respond at all?

We all do sometimes or another during our business operations, but do we really understand the implications of bad customer service!

Even though I no longer have a brick and mortar store,  I still subscribe to retail expert, Rick Segel’s, weekly newsletter.  He recently posted an article on the subject and I would like to share his thoughts:

When Silence is Not Golden in Retail

Recently, we had a new home built for our family. When we moved in, we found many “issues” that needed to be resolved – things like water leaks, paint touch-ups and floor boards messed up, etc. …

Six weeks into our new home, nothing had been done. Well, that s not exactly true; they had torn out everything, but the mess was just sitting around and we could not use the shower or sink. Since there were no responses to my phone calls, I decided to put my frustrations in writing to the owner of the company. I tried to craft an email that was fair and balanced and did not exaggerate our situation (as customers tend to do.) I included some pictures so he could see I was not exaggerating. And then, nothing.

Silence.  

No response. No, “I got your email and we are working on it.” No, apology. Nothing. (By the way, the beauty of a read receipt is that you know it did not get lost in a SPAM folder.) Two weeks pass by and we reach out again; this time explaining how the silence had made things worse. …

We can all relate to a similar story of poor customer service, but on the other hand, how many of us fall into the same trap:  Get busy and forget to follow up.  With retail buyers, this can result in having our products replaced by a competitors.  And of course, any referrals we may have gotten are gone!

Rick concludes his article with the following advice:Exceed Expectations Infographic

Silence is deadly. Communicate well with your customers. Go ahead and call them with an update on their special order, even if it is to say you have no news. The fact that you care enough to reach out to them does wonders. My employees did not like the Monday calls to our customers to update them on the status of their repair or special order or transfer from another store. Often times, they had to tell them we still did not have the order or the repair still was not done (even though promised a week ago). However, because we proactively reached out each week, our customers gave us more grace and patience.

The main point is that in today’s competitive retail environment, it is not enough to meet customer expectations – you have to exceed them. Silence will neither meet or exceed expectations. It will only show that you do not care.

My husband, Malcolm, always says:  “Under promise and over deliver”.  Good advice for anyone in business!

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