Silent Signals: Unintentional Customer Service Mistakes You Might Be Making



Jan Carlzon, who is an author and marketing professional admired in the industry, explains that “any time a customer comes into contact with any aspect of your business, however remote, they have an opportunity to form an impression.” This means every interaction and/or contact you have between yourself and your customers will leave an impression, which is explained by Carlzon as simply the “moment of truth.”

For an example of this, consider a plane that has a coffee stained tray. This dirty tray might indicate to passengers that the rest of the airplane is in similar disrepair. A dirty-looking produce truck parked outside a grocery store or a restaurant server with dirty fingernails might also lead to the same wrong impression. While disrepair or lack of care in one area doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of care in others, customers and/or passengers are apt to make the conclusion nonetheless.

In the same way, as a marketing or customer service professional, you can unintentionally send customers the wrong message, silently leading them away from your products or services. Here are hidden signals you might be sending to your customers and prospects that could silently be sabotaging your success:

A Cluttered or Unresponsive Website

Fair or not, customers can and do judge your business based on your website. If your website is cluttered, is slow or unresponsive on mobile devices, is difficult to navigate or contains outdated information, you might be losing business as a result. In other words, an improperly designed website could be a silent signal you are communicating to customers, unintentionally revealing sloppiness and lack of attention-to-detail.

Lack of Innovation

When it comes to staying ahead of your competition, reinvention is key. In fact, if your business isn’t regularly reinventing certain aspects of itself, you are likely falling behind your competition. To determine your current commitment to innovation, answer the following question:

“What percentage of your sales is from products or services introduced in the past two years? If it’s less than 20%, then it’s time to re-energize.”

Don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. Your core business model can stay basically the same, just always be thinking ahead and staying on the cutting edge of innovation to keep your customers engaged and interested in your services or product.

Bad Advertising

While the phrase, “all press is good press, even bad press” might be true in Hollywood, when it comes to business, your message should be powerful, memorable and accurate. You don’t want to be known for bad advertising. If your message isn’t powerful and memorable, you are actually communicating negatively about your company without even realizing it, which makes bad advertising another silent signal you want to avoid. Whether you opt for digital or traditional advertising or a combination of the two, your advertising should be a strong message, communicated clearly and consistently, that helps customers remember you and gives them a reason to want to do business with you. If you feel your advertising isn’t up to par, consider the following reasons for the issue:

  • You have weak advertising when it comes to creativity. Perhaps your ads just aren’t interesting or engaging, or they simply seem too similar to competitors.
  • Your ads are running on the wrong channels. For example, you are running ads that would be great for radio on TV, or print ads that would do better online or on social media. Match your advertising strategy or message to applicable channels and the customer base you are targeting.

If your business has a low-quality website, a lack of innovative ideas, or poor advertising tactics, then you are sending silent signals to your customers that they are better off doing business with your competition instead of with you. Sometimes, what you don’t do speaks louder than what you do. Make sure you correct the mistakes listed above by hiring professionals who will oversee the process and ensure you never unintentionally communicate the wrong message again.

Marketing Consultation with Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group

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