It is frustrating when customers don't follow directions or read signs. This is a top complaint among customer service professionals. Discover why this happens and how you can prevent it. Learn how to view these situations from a customer's perspective so you know where to make adjustments. Identify tips and tricks that you can apply to help your customers avoid these difficult scenarios.
- One of the most frustrating moments in customer service is when a customer doesn't read directions or basic instructions. This often results in customers having unreasonable expectations. Let me give you an example. I used to work in the parking business, everyday a few customers would get surprised by the rates we charged at our parking garages. Now never mind that these customers drove by a sign that clearly spelled out the parking rates right as they pulled into the garage. They were still genuinely surprised when it came time to pay.
This was a real challenge for our parking cashiers who had to serve these angry customers. They were frustrated because to them it seemed like the customer shouldn't have parked in the garage if they thought the rates were too high. To better understand our customers in situations like this we need to look at the situation from their perspective. Think of some situations where your customers don't read instructions or don't understand something that should be obvious. Chances are they have some things in common with my parking customers.
They aren't experts at your product or service like you are. The parking customers were usually infrequent visitors to this part of town so they didn't realize that paying for parking was common. They're often preoccupied. The parkers were usually distracted as they arrived because they were trying to make sure they were in the right place. And they typically have other priorities. So what's important to you may not be important to them. The parkers were typically focused on getting to their destination and not paying attention to parking.
So how can we help customers in these situations? Here are a few tips. Start by using multiple forms of communication. People are more likely to remember messages that are repeated in multiple formats. Let's say your customers need to know their account number to access your online system, you can share the account number verbally and then email it to them with a reminder to keep it in a safe place. Speak slowly when sharing important information. People often get confused if you speak too quickly, especially when sharing information like account numbers, email addresses, or other types of information.
Whenever possible give your customer a visual to help them better understand expectations. Let's go back to my parking examples so you can see how this might work. You want to use multiple forms of communication so in addition to our parking sign we had an attendant greet customers entering the garage whenever possible. The attendant would ask customers if they were familiar with the parking rates or if they needed directions and in addition to the sign at the entrance, a sign to explain the rates was often posted near where customers would walk after parking their cars.
Now, these steps didn't eliminate the problem completely but it did make it better. Fewer customers were unpleasantly surprised by the parking rates when we used these techniques. Okay, now it's your turn to give it a try. Try to think of situations where customers don't read written instructions. Next, look at the situation from the customer's perspective. Try to think about why they don't see something that should be obvious. Finally, think of ways you can proactively communicate with these customers so they don't encounter an unpleasant surprise.