Do you recall the last time a customer came to you with a disastrous situation. Did you think that it all could have been avoided if they had come to you sooner? The harsh reality is that not every customer will be willing to come to you if they are having a hard time with your product. While social media has made it easier for customers to provide feedback, many are hesitant to seek out help themselves.
One would think that customers would immediately ask for help if they hit a wall with a product or service. After all, this is why customer service exists. However, there are a number of factors that may cause them to hesitate.
“We should be creating a culture of help-seeking,” says Vanessa K. Bohns, an associate professor of Organizational Behaviour at the ILR School at Cornell University, in her recent research. “But comfortably and confidently asking for help requires refuting a number of misperceptions that have been uncovered.”
Unfortunately, there are several myths floating about that often clouds a customer’s judgment when it comes to asking for help. Here are several of said myths and how to address them.
I’ll look like an idiot
Customers often feel that asking for help makes them look bad. After doing their own research and making their own purchasing decision, they feel like they don’t need further help in utilising the product. When they can’t figure something out, they will be afraid of appearing incompetent. Research proves otherwise: One study found people who asked for help were perceived as more competent, most likely due to the respect others show for recognising ones own weaknesses.
Companies can make sure customers are willing to look for help by addressing the issue early in the relationship in subtle ways. Try adding a small disclaimer that states that other customers have had small issues with X, and that giving customer service a call can help them walkthrough the problem.
They’ll say no
Customers also fear being rejected when they ask for help or any other special request. Maybe not an outright, “No, I won’t help,” but they fear something like, “We can’t do that” or “That’s not something we take care of” or “It’s not under your warranty.” As such, customers will find an excuse to try a workaround or even stop using your product altogether.
Businesses need to let the customers know that your customer service is willing to go beyond to help solve their problems. Give customers every avenue possible to troubleshoot and problem-solve. Remind customers on every communication channel, email, invoices, social media, website landing pages, FAQs, marketing materiel, etc.
I’m being a bother
It may come as a surprise to some that there are customers that think that their call for help is a nuisance, and the person who helps them resents it. They might feel they’re imposing, and the effort to help them is inconvenient or excessive for what may seem like a “small problem”. They may also have an imposing impression, left over from a previous experience when they asked for help and were treated with indifference.
Emphasise your desire to help in every contact with customers so they never feel put off by contacting you. Always make sure that the customer knows that you are happy to help. As long as the sincerity is there, customers will feel good for asking.