Why “We’ve Always Done It This Way” Is Unacceptable

Submitted by Dan Faraldo in Customer Service, Industry News

The other day, we came across a post on a Twitter account belonging to author, Ian Jukes. It was a meme-like photo that read “The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’.” Now, while there wasn’t much context to the tweet to speak of, the meme definitely hit a nerve with us. There’s no question it can be attributed to the ways in which companies provide customer service.

Jukes’ tweet highlights the “stuck in their ways” attitude that far too many business owners have. If you’re of the mind that no changes to your business are ever necessary, you’re severely hurting your brand. As time passes on, things change and therefore, policies must change when necessary. This is especially true if you’re encountering a growing number of customer complaints. Saying you’ve “always done it this way” simply won’t cut it.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

How would you feel if you were your customers? Would you be satisfied with the service you’re receiving? Let’s suppose you run an auto body shop. And perhaps, ‘first come, first serve’ is a policy of your company. Therefore, when customers visit your location, they’re required to take a number.

If someone doesn’t hear his/her number being called, is he/she put to the back of the line or is his/her turn taken the second a spot becomes available? Furthermore, are customers able to book appointments in advance? If someone with an appointment enters your shop at his/her scheduled time, does he/she get service before the person who has been waiting for an hour?

Which policy would you prefer if you were a customer?

Ask your customers for their opinions. Getting the words straight from the horses’ mouths is arguably the best way to resolve customer conflict and ensure they remain loyal to your brand. If the customer with the appointment has to wait because someone else was “here first”, simply saying “we’ve always done it this way” won’t help your brand image.

“While regulatory and legislative changes may seem easy to enforce, most customers aren’t that interested in the reasons why something has to happen a certain way – they just want to have their needs met,” writes Gregg Brown on Entrepreneur.com, “Get your customers involved right from the beginning by testing out the changes with them. Walk them through the changes and requirements while discussing benefits.”

Be honest with your customers.

Be clear about your customer policies. But also be flexible. Let your customers know that when they’re not satisfied with the customer service you’ve provided, you’re willing to consider changes to ensure their satisfaction in future.

“Be very clear with your customers about what they can expect through every step of their customer journey,” advises Brown, “Don’t be afraid to make it simple and spell it out for them. People going through all types of changes want to know what the future will hold, what will stay the same, and what will change.”

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