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Commons pitfalls that cause bad customer service

Posted by K.McCaffrey - 22 July, 2012

Commons pitfalls for bad customer service-468015-edited

Customers want to deal with customer service agents that are simultaneously courteous, professional and knowledgeable. It's a key part of customer retention, and businesses that fail in this arena aren't likely to experience the brand loyalty and repeat customers that are so important to business success.

Customers are much more mobile and savvy these days—one bad customer service experience is all it takes for a customer to walk away, taking your company’s profits and their customer lifetime value with them.


Related content: The common pitfalls of customer experience management



Staff who are uneducated in the products or services they’re selling cannot provide adequate service to any customer. They are unable to help the customer make an informed decision, let alone build trust and a relationship with a client.

Constant employee training is a characteristic of an effective customer service department. It is vital because products and technology change and new customer service methods are continually developed. Ongoing training will keep your employees up-to-date and identify new ways of keeping customers satisfied. All front-line staff should be trained on customer service basics—be polite, listen to the customer, act on feedback and treat them like gold. It is quite often the basics that are letting a company down.

Good customer service = well-trained employees + an efficient system

A good customer service department relies on skill and training—and a computer program that captures the information they need for success.

This includes:

  • Product preferences.
  • Buying history.
  • Contact names and details.

Many businesses supplement this system with the use of an FAQ for service representatives to answer common questions quickly.


Professional tone

Customers can hear a smile even through the phone—and it makes a big difference to the customer experience if they do hear a cheery voice rather than a depressed, harassed one.

The best customer service agents are able to avoid putting their feelings into their tone when speaking with customers. It's a skill that comes with practice and not a small amount of training, but it's well worth investment into: would you prefer a customer's first customer service interaction with your brand be with a positive attitude, or a negative one?

It sets the tone for the rest of the interaction.


Proactive problem solving

A stitch in time saves nine, it's said. The same theory goes for customer service issues. Being able to nip problems in the bud before they have an effect on a brand is a useful behaviour and skillset to cultivate—and all the best customer service teams out there are experts in it.

A good start is to ask customers for feedback about your product or service directly. This gives you immediate, actionable insights into fixing problems that you may not have known your offering even has before it becomes large enough to start resulting in dissatisfaction among your audience.


Make it easy for your customers

It doesn’t matter if behind-the-scenes actions are not so simple, it is important that it appears to be simple for the customer. Customers do not want to know all the difficulties involved with ordering a pair of shoes from another store, they just want to know whether or not the shoes are available. Customers don’t want to be passed around the call centre, they want to deal with someone who will listen and provide action. Passing the buck is the same as passing a customer to the competitor. Do you really want to do that?


Trying to win an argument with a customer

It is worth remembering it costs five times as much (in money and effort) to win a new customer than it does to maintain one. If you doggedly try to win an argument with a steady customer, you are damaging your company with lost revenue and more than likely, gaining a lot of bad reviews.


The basics

Despite all this, do not forget the basics. Manners take very little effort but makes such a huge impression on customers. A handful of phrases such as ‘please’ ‘thank you’ ‘we’re so sorry for the inconvenience’ can win points with customers who are upset or have a minor issue.

Most importantly: listen to your customers

Businesses need to build strong customer service strategies and provide tips for front line staff on how to eliminate problems and resolve issues. Customers should never be a hassle, they are your business. Without them, you have no business. Good customer service is about being able to bringing customers back, and then sending them away again happy and inspired. If you consistently engage the above actions, your business will become known for great customer service and bring in more new customers than promotions and price cutting ever did.


Common CX Pitfalls. Download Now


Topics: Customer Experience

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