19 Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid

Patrick Bet-David is such a stickler for customer service and experience. This is the reason Amazon is doing so well because they pay very close attention to their customers. Patrick has been on all three sides of this experience. He has been a customer, worked in customer service, and been a business owner training his reps to work with customers.

Before getting into what mistakes to avoid as a company, first, let’s look at the most common customer complaints. And for the business owners out there, pay attention.

8 Common Complaints Customers Make

  1. I’ve Been on Hold for Fifteen Minutes

    1. They don’t even give you an option for a callback
  2. This is Not My Department, Let Me Transfer You

    1. Well, who can really help me out?
  3. The Person That Just Transferred Me, Did They Explain My Frustration or Situation I’m In? No.

    1. You mean to tell me I have to re-explain everything over and over again?
  4. Monotone Help

    1. That representative doesn’t care, they just read scripts.
  5. The Product Doesn’t Do What You Said It Would Do

    1. You over promised and under delivered on this product
  6. The Competitor Said They’ll Do it Better Than You

    1. The company responds, “Well we don’t do it that way. That’s our policy.”
  7. Late Responses

    1. They always have their Out Of Office up, or you get automated responses for days with no help
  8. Companies That Have Zero Customer Service

    1. Not zero as in bad. There is no contact, no phone number, there is no one handling customer service at all.

19 Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Lack of Training on How to Handle Issues

    1. The company throws the manual at new employees and that’s the end of the training. It’s exactly like when you are on an airplane, in the emergency row, and the flight attendant asks if you read the guidelines if there is an emergency. How often do you really read that? Why would you treat your staff that way? Role-playing and real training is the best option.
  2. Reactive Instead of Proactive: Trying to Argue with Customers

    1. Trying to justify your company’s mistakes and issues, is not real customer service. You need to take responsibility for when things go wrong and not put the blame on the customer. You will lose customers very quickly. Deal with the customer to resolve their issue, don’t make them calling into an issue.
  3. Lack of Accessibility to Customers

    1. If customers can’t get a hold of you, their frustration builds up and the situation gets way worse than if you took 20 minutes and solved it. Being accessible solves this issue and it costs the business nothing.
  4. Not Willing to Call an Audible That May Go Against Your Protocol

    1. This means dropping the, “We would love to help you out, but this is protocol,” act. You will encounter situations with customers where it is more important to drop protocol than to dig your heels in. You can’t prepare for every situation, so you need to be able to pivot to make the customer happy.
  5. Not Coming Through on Your Customer Service

    1. If you tell a customer you are going to do something, you have to do it. No excuses.
  6. Lack of Organization on Customer Complaints

    1. You need a system or a piece of technology, like a CRM, where you can keep notes on all issues and customers you interact with. If you don’t things will be dropped, customers will not get follow-ups, new people will come in and not know the history of a customer, and all sorts of other issues will arise. Documenting every interaction allows information to be spread throughout the team faster and the supervisors can assess if more training needs to happen.
  7. Giving the Customer the Run Around

    1. Sending customers through a transfer merry-go-round is not customer service. They want to be treated like the valued customer they are. Do not say, “That’s not my department,” and pass the buck. Work with your team and the customer to find the solution quickly and save everyone’s time.
  8. Strictly Automation: Sending a Copy/Paste Scripted Response

    1. No one likes calling or emailing for help and getting a scripted robotic answer. That is for the FAQs on your website. Customer service is about having a real person reach out and help your customers.
  9. Not Using The Basics

    1. Customer service reps need to have basic etiquette because it will go a long way in helping the issue. It is as easy as, “Thank you in the first place for giving us a second shot and I’m disappointed with the fact that we couldn’t come through. Having said that, can you tell a little bit more about your experience so maybe we can find a way to make this thing better for you?” It is that simple to hear them out and sound sympathetic.
  10. Disregarding Loyalty

    1. You always have to take care of your true believers. If you have a customer who has been loyal to your gym for the past 22 years, they have been doing free marketing for your gym for decades. Do not throw these people away. Their influence in the community is worth more than your marketing budget.
  11. Not Willing to Take Ownership Immediately

    1. By taking ownership of your company’s mistake, you can diffuse any frustration. Your customer service department needs to understand that the customer is looking for someone to make their issue better not to find out who is to blame. Taking ownership removes the tension from the conversation and allows for solutions to go into action faster.
  12. Assuming

    1. Don’t assume that you know what every customer has been through. Ask them how the issue happened and ask them how it makes them feel. It humanizes the conversation because it becomes about their experience not what you assume happened since you are a veteran service rep. Even if you have seen it all before, don’t treat your customers like you have.
  13. Bad Attitude

    1. If your customer service people have a bad attitude, it is going to come through over the phone and in emails. It is totally fixable too. Take a moment and collect yourself. Don’t put your bad energy on to your customers.
  14. Not Building a Relationship

    1. When a customer calls your service department, it is a great opportunity to build a relationship. If your reps are kind and caring to your customers, your customers will show their love back. Take every customer issue as an opportunity to grow a relationship and fix a problem.
  15. Lack of Speed

    1. Speed on getting an answer to them, speed on getting back to them, speed on talking to a supervisor, it is all about speed. It may be unfair to businesses, but customers want an answer quick. Twitter has changed the game. People want answers instantaneously.
  16. Talking too Much Instead of Listening

    1. The customer speaks 80% of the time and the customer service rep only needs to speak 20% of the time. It is about the customer.
  17. Tone

    1. You want to speak to customers with a calm, relaxing tone because it relaxes them. Teaching your reps the right tone can eliminate escalation issues because the customer is ready and willing to deal with a calm personality.
  18. Not Empowering Your Staff

    1. As the boss, you can’t undermine your reps. If a customer has a problem with a particular rep you have to support them in front of the customer. The customer may be ticked off but your best rep of seven years is important to keep happy. Doing this will empower them to make the big decisions.  
  19. Not Auditing Calls and Tracking It Weekly

    1. Providing feedback to your team allows them to gain new knowledge on how to handle common issues better. It will hold people accountable for what they say to the customers. You can’t have one rep promising things you can’t deliver. Auditing performance creates a loop of feedback, that empowers your team to reach a higher level.

Next Steps: Go watch the next video called Customer Service vs. Customer Experience. Download the PDF and take stock of your customer service department and team. Use it to improve and to reach a high level. Don’t forget to tweet @patrickbetdavid

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