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Top 10 Customer-Service Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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6. Neglecting Customers When You’re Busy

This is a very common frustration for customer-service professionals. They get busy and can’t provide legendary service to everyone. Some may even use this as an excuse.

Everyone gets busy, so be prepared to manage the situation when it happens. There are a number of effective strategies to avoid compromising your service standards when you’re hectic:

Maintain control of the situation. Don’t take your frustrations out on your customers.

Offer to call them back. Customers will appreciate that you will call them back when you are in a better position to service their needs. Let the customer know when he can expect a return call, and better yet, exceed that expectation!

Ask for help. Find a fellow employee and let him know you need assistance.

7. Failing to Listen to Customers

We are good at talking, but not quite as good at listening. This is especially true when interacting with customers over the phone. There are distractions all over your facility, with lots of things going on at the same time. Of course, there is always the computer and cell phone that may prevent you from focusing on the customer.

Customers should have your undivided attention. When you do a good job listening, you minimize the potential for mistakes. A good listening technique is to repeat back or paraphrase what the customer is requesting. This way your customer knows you are listening, and you will get his request correct.

8. Failure to Show Sincere Appreciation

We talked about the importance of a great first impression. Now let’s focus on making a lasting impression. Approximately 50 percent of the time, employees hang up with the customer without saying “thank you.” Often the close sounds like, “OK, give us a call back when you decide.”

There are many ways you can deliver a sincere thank you that will make certain the customer knows you appreciate his business or the opportunity to earn it. Don’t miss out on the chance to leave that great lasting impression.

9. Being Too Focused on Operations

It’s easy to become focused on the operational aspect of the job. Employees too often rely on policies and procedures instead of focusing on how to truly help the customer and provide a great service impression. Research shows that employees will discuss things such as hours, access policies, deposits and restrictions before even knowing what the customer needs.

I’m not suggesting you avoid the operational aspect of the relationship, but employees should focus on building a legendary relationship with the customer by first. Once you have a good relationship and a commitment, the operations related to the sale become more relevant.

10. Failure to Follow Up

We miss a great opportunity to build relationships and close business when we fail to follow up with current or prospective customers. The follow-up sends the right message. It shows you are interested in the business and want to begin or continue to work with the customer.

Following up is an easy task to accomplish. The customer will appreciate and remember that you took the time to check back with him. It’s also helpful to let the customer know you’ll be following up with him in the near future, and be specific about when and how you will do that.

The above are 10 common mistakes that are very easy to fix. Once you do, you’re well on your way to setting the customer-service standard in your market and securing more self-storage rentals.

Barry Himmel is a senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, Ohio-based consulting company offering sales and customer-service training, marketing, and mystery-shopping services for self-storage facilities. For more information, call 800.398.0518, or visit .

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