Six Customer Service Mistakes You Probably don’t Know you’re Making (and How to Fix Them)

It’s natural to always be on the lookout for ways to improve customer service at your organisation – but, sometimes, we’re so busy looking elsewhere that we don’t recognise what’s right under our own noses. How else can you explain these common customer service mistakes, which are so ubiquitous that many businesses don’t even know they’re doing anything wrong?

In this post, we’re shining a spotlight on this under-explored area by listing six important customer service mistakes to avoid and how to fix them.

1. Being reactive, not proactive

The mistake: According to NewVoiceMedia’s report, 44 percent of people switch providers because they feel unappreciated. It’s far more economical to retain existing customers rather than simply attract new ones – which is why any strategy aimed at keeping your current customers happy is likely to pay off significantly.

The fix: Provide customer service that’s proactive as well as reactive. Don’t just deal with issues or enquiries as they arise; instead, introduce strategies that reward your existing customers, show you’re there for them, and improve their overall experience – such as customer loyalty schemes and regular requests for feedback.

2. Ignoring employee engagement

The mistake: Customer service can only ever be as good as the people who provide it – yet a shocking number of organisations overlook this crucial truth. Satisfaction levels among customer service staff are notoriously low – indeed, according to one survey of 200,000 employees, it was found that customer-facing staff had significantly lower levels of engagement than those in executive positions. With numbers like that, it’s unsurprising that customer service suffers.

The fix: Invest in programmes designed to keep your employees enthusiastic and engaged. For example, more and more businesses are using gamification tools such as Motivate, which is designed to promote best practices and productivity among contact centre employees.

3. Getting the tone wrong

The mistake: Customer service agents are only human, and have good days and bad days like anyone else. Nonetheless, when it comes to service, getting the tone right is not something that can be compromised on – if a customer perceives they’re being treated badly, they will leave the engagement with a bad taste in their mouth, even if the issue is technically resolved. Indeed, in one study, it was found that, when resolving an issue and offering monetary compensation, simply apologising to customers caused satisfaction levels to double from 37 to 74 percent.

The fix: It is essential that organisations focus on hiring the right people for customer service roles, and also provide comprehensive training and ongoing professional development. This way, service agents can hone their interpersonal communication skills and social intelligence levels, and tailor their tone to suit each customer’s individual needs and expectations.

4. Frustrating phone calls

The mistake: While the majority of consumers prefer to speak to a real person when seeking customer service, many are reluctant to pick up the phone. Why? According to research, 48 percent hate being kept on hold and 39 percent dislike having to repeat the same information to multiple agents.

The fix: Invest in a system that enables customers to call your organisation, input the necessary information, then be directed to the customer service department best able to meet their requirements. This minimises wait times, reduces the need to be passed between multiple agents, and increases satisfaction. Interactive voice response (IVR) software, for example, is ideal for organisations that want to offer a more effective, meaningful self-service experience.

5. Overlooking omnichannel

The mistake: Today’s customers don’t think about channels. They expect to be able to access customer service in whichever way is most convenient to them – whether that’s face to face, by phone or email, via social media or using live chat. If you’re not providing effective, joined-up customer service across a range of channels, your customers will be dissatisfied before even reaching an agent.

The fix: Adopt an omnichannel approach that allows consumers to access customer service in the way they prefer, and enables service agents to retrieve detailed and personalised information irrespective of which channel the customer is using.

6. Not remembering your customers

The mistake: Personalised customer service is no longer considered a bonus, but a minimum requirement. Customers want agents to know who they are, and to be able to access pertinent information – such as their personal details, account history and past engagements – in an instant.

The fix: To achieve the required standard of customer service, it’s essential to invest in effective customer relationship management (CRM) technology. ContactWorld for Service, for example, is the world’s first global, true-cloud contact centre solution that has been shown to result in higher levels of customer satisfaction, better engagement rates and faster resolutions.

Did you know that poor customer service costs UK businesses £11 billion every year? To learn more about why consumers are jumping ship, what their biggest customer service pain points are, and the benefits of ensuring consistent customer satisfaction, download our whitepaper, Serial Switchers Strikes Again: How The Billion Pound Customer Service Problem Prevails
Tim Pickard
Tim Pickard

Tim joined NewVoiceMedia in July 2011 with over 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry. He served as VP and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He spent two years as Chief Marketing Officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.

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