Customer service, something we as business people and also consumers encounter every day. From grabbing our first cup of coffee at our favorite store to our first phone call of the day, we take part in the consumer experience as well as have an impact on our on customers experience. While not every customer will be signing our praise there are so mistakes to avoid to enrich the consumer experience and create loyal customers.
15 Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid
1. Inattentiveness. Talking to other employees, talking on the phone or even texting when customers are waiting. If you are talking about something that is directly related to the customer is necessary. Think about checking out at the counter and being completely ignored throughout the entire process.
2. Automated Call Answering. In larger companies this keeps costs down as well as directs the caller to the proper department. Where this goes sour is when there are multiple levels of automation, no interaction with a human or when zero is pressed and the call is disconnected.
3. Multiple Transfers. Being transferred multiple times is frustrating as you tell each person your issue only to find out that they cannot help you and transferred are placed on hold again.
4. Failing to Listen. Many customers want to be heard and then their problem solved. Trying to solve the problem before listening to the customer is heard only adds to the problem.
5. Losing Control. Losing control and becoming angry is only one part of it. The other part is losing control of the situation at hand and having a irate customer on the floor of your store or on the phone who can reach out to friends and family rather quickly.
6. Over-promising/Under-delivering. Sell outs happen, delivery mishaps happen however overbooking deliveries or intentionally failing to have proper inventory is unacceptable.
7. Being Unreachable. Customers want answers and also want to be kept in the loop. Always being in a meeting or always being transferred to voice mail and not returning the call sends a message to the customer that you do not care whether this be the case or not.
8. Lying. Telling a customer a lie to get rid of them or think you are appeasing them only shows that you are a liar.
9. Excessive Gum Chewing. Chomping on the gum takes the focus from the purchase and the experience to watching the jaw and listening the sound.
10. Lack of Communication. Customers wait for a response. This is their problem that they need solved and that is their focus. Many times we do not have the answer they are looking for just yet but reaching out to keep them in the loop shows that you care about their issue and are on top of it.
11. Reprimanding Employees in Customer Presence. This not only humiliates the employee it places the customer in a situation they did not ask to be in.
12. Untrained Staff. Everyone is new to a position and deserves a chance to learn however when unsupervised or not fully trained can create frustration and anger with the customer.
13. Failing to Talk to Customers. Not fake. A simple hi how are you, did you find everything ok or not responding back to customers when they try and engage in small talk.
14. Mispronunciation of Names. Not knowing is one thing, knowing and still mispronouncing is another. For example: Andrew is not always Andy or Drew.
15. Failing to Acknowledge Repeat Customers. Repeat customers are loyal customers and are your bread and butter. Knowing their name, their type of coffee, their favorite sports team, etc lets them know that you care and appreciate them. Rewarding them with discount or a freebie here and there keeps them coming back with a positive attitude.
Some of these are the obvious while others are observations while being a customer. We all want to be appreciated and treated with respect. Customers have a louder voice with social media that can destroy your reputation in one click. Alternatively with social media as a business there are numerous ways to reach out to customers to solve their problems or let them know that there is a human behind the company.
What have you observed in poor customer service? How have you handled difficult situations whether as the business or the consumer? What do you do to enhance the customer experience?
photo credit: roland