It’s that spooky time of year again when goblins and ghouls abound. Speaking of spirits, have you ever been “ghosted”? As in, a sudden and complete radio silence from someone you thought you had a connection with? Ghosting can be a frustrating, hurtful, and bewildering experience. It leaves you in the dark, wondering what happened and why, without closure. It’s a term often used in personal relationships but can also occur in customer relationships. Before we go into why ghosting your customers is never a good idea, let’s more closely define “ghosting” in the context of business.
What Is “Ghosting” in Customer Service?
In a business context, “ghosting” is a term used to describe a situation where a company abruptly stops responding to a customer’s repeated communication attempts without any explanation or warning. Here are some common reasons why businesses ghost a customer:
- Lack of professional courtesy – Employees have not been adequately trained in customer communication and follow-up.
- Problems with processes – There is a lack of clarity when it comes to employee roles and responsibilities concerning communication with customers, or a faulty complaint-tracking system.
- Staffing issues – The business is experiencing a customer service staffing shortage or frequent turnover, causing a gap in customer communication.
- Ignoring problems – A customer complains or behaves rudely, and the business chooses to ignore the customer rather than address their concerns.
Ignoring customers is not in an organization’s best interest – regardless of the reasons. Ghosting can leave customers feeling ignored, puzzled, and frustrated, driving them to take drastic actions. This is why training all customer-facing employees and having protocols for all “what-if” scenarios is crucial.
How Ghosting Your Customers Impacts Your Business
As we know, delivering exceptional service is all about creating a positive experience for your customers and keeping the lines of communication open. It’s a no-brainer that ignoring a customer or failing to resolve their issue is the complete opposite of that. Even if the customer seems to be in the wrong, dismissing their complaint is never the answer. In fact, it can harm your business’s reputation and make you look unprofessional. So, always keep in mind that customer satisfaction is key, and that means being responsive and taking customer concerns seriously. Here are some reasons why you should avoid ghosting at all costs:
- Loss of Trust: When customers feel ignored and undervalued, it will break their trust in your business. Once a customer loses trust, it is tough to regain it.
- Missed Opportunities: By cutting off communication, you leave a problem unsolved and miss out on valuable customer feedback and the chance to resolve their issues.
- Wasted Resources: Ignoring a customer’s issue can lead to them pursuing an alternative solution – such as filing a formal complaint or seeking legal aid – which means more company resources will have to be used to resolve the issue.
- Negative Reputation: Word about a negative experience can spread quickly, especially in this age of online reviews and social media! If you ghost customers, it can permanently damage your company’s reputation.
- Legal Implications: In some cases, ghosting can lead to serious legal problems. If you have a contractual agreement or the customer has rights regarding refunds, warranties, or service, ignoring them can have negative consequences.
In every business, communication with customers is an integral part of success. Maintaining open, respectful, and timely communication is essential to cultivate positive customer relationships. Whereas ghosting your customers and choosing to ignore a problem can actually make the situation worse. To quote business executive and inspirational author Catherine Pulsifer:
“Problems ignored rarely go away; they only get bigger.”
In other words, addressing problems head-on – not ignoring them – is crucial to prevent them from spiraling out of control. This highlights the importance of consistent communication and a proactive approach to tackling issues as soon as they arise.
To summarize, ghosting customers could have grave (pun intended) consequences! Make customer communication your top priority – even under challenging circumstances. Listen to complaints and concerns, resolve them whenever possible, and let your customers know that they are important and appreciated. This approach will create customer loyalty and retention, the foundation for continued success and growth.