7 Key Customer Service Mistakes You Need to Avoid

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Martina Petrina

Content Writer

⏱ Reading Time: 6 minutes

Bad customer service costs businesses $62 billion each year. No business can afford to underestimate the importance of quality customer care.

You’re probably aware that the success of your business lies in your ability to make your customers happy and to let them know that you care about their satisfaction. Especially if you’re a company in a saturated market, your customers have plenty of choices of who to do business with.

So how can you avoid irritating and upsetting your customers?

🚀Read Customer Service: A Guide for Successful Business Growth  🚀

Here are customer service mistakes in communication and the phrases you could use to turn it into a positive customer experience. 

Customer Service Mistake 1: Impersonal Customer Care

Using common replies saved in your help desk software is a great way to save time on typing the same thing all over again. However, always try to personalize it for the customer.

Personal service is the synergy of the customer support world. A buzzword used so often – by support agents, marketers, and customers – that has almost lost its meaning. Yet, it’s of great significance!

In one survey ran by American Express, they asked respondents which common customer service phases annoyed them the most.

This phrase was the winner:

the most annoying customer service phrase of 2011

Picture 1. The most annoying customer service phrase

So, don’t use phrases that sound canned. Make your service more personal. If you’re known for good customer service, you can charge more.

customer experience American Express survey

Picture 2. American Express survey

Here’s a tip! Use your customers’ name and make them like you more. Or, on the flip side, use your own name and make the interaction feel even more personal!

Customer Service Mistake 2: Left On Hold Forever

Second most common customer service mistake is the ability to answer quickly to customer’s questions. Although speed is not the most important factor in customer support, it’s still a factor. Everyone, especially your customers hate waiting indefinitely.

This creates a very negative impression of your brands’ service.

Speed becomes even more important on social media. According to this survey, 32% of users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42% expect a response within 60 minutes.

Social media users response from customer support

Picture 3. Hub Spot: Social media customer support

Customer Service Mistake 3: Being Passed Around

If you’ve ever had this done to you, you know how frustrating it is. Being bounced from one agent to another is of the most common examples of bad customer care.

Customers want to deal with knowledgeable people.

Getting transferred to a representative who can’t help suggests your entire structure needs work too. Good customer service isn’t always about knowing the right answer. Good customer service is often about finding the right answer so that your customers don’t have to.

Related: How to Improve Customer Service and Ensure Customer Satisfaction

Customers who encounter agents who fail to inspire confidence saying they ‘don’t know’ how to help them are likely to feel disillusioned with your overall service.

Even if you don’t know the right answer, by reducing customer efforts, you can provide exceptional support and increase customer satisfaction. So, instead of making your customers chase you and the information, you can tell “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you.”

customer care meme

Picture 4. Customer care has entered the fight

Customer Service Mistake 4: Rude Customer Care Agent

Ah, customer complaints. But also – Ah, angry agents!  There’s plenty of research on being a good listener and the importance of empathy in customer service.

The fact is – everyone in customer support will, at some point have to deal with an angry customer. But, if you are providing customer support, try not to be the angry one in the communication.

At times, it gets funny, though.

London Underground customer care example on Twitter

Picture 5. London Overground customer care example

There are plenty of tough customer service scenarios waiting to happen. Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you can still be genuinely sorry about the way the customer feels. Let them know that. Listen to their words, the tone of voice, and body language. Beware of making assumptions, thinking you intuitively know what the customer wants.

Related: Set Customer Support Goals – Complete Guide

Mastering empathy in customer service might get overwhelming, but it becomes easier as you work on it. Simply, stay cool and use positive words, like “I’d be happy to help you with this!”. It will make your customers, and yourself, feel more positive.

Customer Service Mistake 5: Not Being Able to Get a Real Human On the Phone

Or, having to select a ton of steps on your smartphone. What does sound more stressful for you?

We live in an age where instant gratification is the norm.

When we want an answer to a question, we Google it. When we fancy watching a movie, we stream it on Netflix. All those actions can be made quickly.

Likewise, from a business perspective, it has forever changed consumer behavior. They want questions to be answered (almost) instantly – whether by phone, email, or live chat.

So your customers expect their questions to be dealt with quickly, and if you don’t, you are risking the loss of customers and a tarnished reputation.  

Customer Service Mistake 6: Bad Upsells

“Would you like fries with that?” This is a classic example of upselling – a sales technique used to sell additional goods or services to existing customers.

Upselling can be good, but only when you do it right. Not only it helps you grow the business, but also it can increase customer lifetime value.

However, it’s advisable to do it only when the customer is already feeling like they get great value from doing business with you. When you focus primarily on your customer’s experience and goals, upselling benefits both you and your customer tremendously.

Customer Service Mistake 7: No Apology

When you screw up, don’t forget to apologize. 

In one study 37% of customers were satisfied with service recovery when they were offered a refund or credit. But when the business added an apology on top of the compensation, satisfaction doubled to 74%.

Customer care Carey School of Business survey example

Picture 6. Carey School of Business Survey

The Rise of Digital Customer Service

More and more customers want to have live chatPeople aren’t just using live chat, they’re actually getting more satisfaction out of it than from any other channel

But also, did you know you can build a chatbot without developer skills?

Pal the Assistant is user-friendly chatbot with a simple drag-and-drop builder. It allows you to introduce new customer scenarios as they come along and improve old ones to match your business needs.

Paldesk chatbot customer care

Picture 7. Paldesk Chatbot

Customer Service Advice: Learn From The Best

In order to succeed, sometimes all you need to do is copy-paste a bit. Okay, not literally, but you can get inspired by the examples of the big companies.

For instance, The Walt Disney Company is known for being a masterfully run company. They send their employees to the Disney Institute to learn the company’s insights and businesses pay thousands of dollars for that.

And with more than 135 million people passing through the company’s parks and resorts each year, Disney has perfected the art of customer service recovery to create happy and loyal customers.

Their approach to service recovery is a five-step process, easily remembered with the acronym H.E.A.R.D, which stands for: Hear, Empathize, Apologize, Resolve and Diagnose

The H.E.A.R.D system works because it leaves the impression to the customer that their problem is being taken very seriously.

So, put the right system in place, back it up with great people, and don’t join the ranks of the companies that are collectively losing $62 billion in business a year.

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7 Key Customer Service Mistakes You Need to Avoid was last modified: December 17th, 2020 by Milica Vujasin
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