10 Customer Service Mistakes

It's far too easy to make these customer service mistakes when doing customer support. Overpromising, forgetting to apologize, and using the wrong tools are just some of the pitfalls any company can fall into.

Last updated: December 1, 2021

5 mins read

Providing exceptional customer service is one of the keys to running a successful business. If a customer has a bad experience with your company, it could negatively impact your business. In fact, studies show that customers often abandon their purchases when they have a bad experience with a company. In 2015, these abandoned purchases were valued at over $62 billion, which is the amount that companies lost as a result of poor customer service.

Don’t let customer service mistakes affect your company’s bottom line. If you want your business to be successful, it’s important to avoid common customer service mistakes that could hurt your customer service experience. Here are 10 common customer service mistakes that could be affecting your customer satisfaction.

Why should you worry about customer service mistakes?

Customer service mistakes can negatively affect brand loyalty and your entire company. Bad customer service can also affect customer retention and if it appears in social media, affect how potential customers see you.

But how do you know if organization is making customer service mistakes? Digital tools can help you measure your service team. We’ve written a full guide on how to choose a customer service software if you need help getting started.

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#1: Relying too heavily on a script

It’s wise to provide your customer service team with scripts (or canned answers) that they can reference when interacting with customers. These scripts can help your customer service agents remember what points they need to address when communicating with customers about specific issues. However, if your team relies too heavily on these scripts, it could negatively impact the quality of your customer service. This is a common customer service mistake.

As part of your customer service training, ask your customer support team to think of the script as a guide. They should reference the script if necessary, but they should always make an effort to personalize their responses to customers. This way, your customers will feel like they are talking to a real human rather than an automated chatbot. That’s great customer service!

#2: Keeping your customers waiting

If a customer contacts your company, they expect to get a response as soon as possible. One survey revealed that 94% of customers expect a response within 24 hours. Furthermore, nearly half of customers expect a response within six hours and 15% of customers want a response within one hour. It’s clear a key element of customer satisfaction is delivering an immediate response, when possible.

The bottom line? If you’re making your customers wait too long, you’re failing at customer service which can lead to customer churn and a negative customer experience.

Set response time standards for your team so they know how quickly you expect them to respond to every incoming request. Then, monitor their average response times to ensure they are meeting this expectation. If they’re not, it may be time to hire additional help to assist with the volume of requests.

#3: Making customers repeat themselves

A customer may talk to multiple members of your support team before their issue is resolved. For example, the customer may initially talk to representative A, but if they reach out again when representative A is on vacation, representative B may step in to help.

Having more than one representative in your customer service department assist a customer is perfectly fine. However, a customer should never have to repeat themselves simply because they’re dealing with a new representative.

Your team should be able to access a customer’s communication history and customer issues so they can quickly learn about their issues and figure out what steps have been taken to resolve them. The customer should never feel like they have to explain their problems over and over again in order to get help.

#4: Not listening

Every member of your support team must demonstrate excellent listening skills when communicating with customers. Support representatives should never cut a customer off or make assumptions about what their problem is before they have finished explaining it.

Each customer should be given the opportunity to explain their issue without being interrupted. The representative should be carefully listening to the entire explanation, taking notes if necessary, and giving them their full, undivided attention.

If your customer support agents lack these crucial listening skills, your customers will not feel heard. Excellent customer service starts with listening.

#5: Overpromising, underdelivering

Every customer support team should strive to underpromise and overdeliver. But unfortunately, many support teams do the exact opposite. This can disappoint your customers and harm your company’s reputation, and that’s why it’s #5 on our list of customer service mistakes.

For example, say a customer contacts your support team about an issue with a product. The representative immediately suggests that they may be able to get a full refund for their purchase. However, the representative later finds out that they can only exchange the product for another item. The customer is expecting a full refund, so telling them that this is no longer an option will cause disappointment.

To avoid this mistake, make sure your team knows to never make a promise to a customer that they cannot keep.

#6: Providing inconsistent answers

Consistency is key to providing good customer service. For example, say two customers contact your support team with the same exact issue about a product that was never delivered. Customer A speaks to representative A, who resolves their problem by issuing a full refund. Meanwhile, customer B speaks to representative B, who tells them to contact the shipping company that was supposed to deliver the package for assistance.

Two identical problems, but two very different outcomes. Taking this kind of inconsistent approach to customer support can benefit some customers, but put others at a disadvantage. Level the playing field–and ensure everyone has a positive experience–by prioritizing consistency.

#7: Forgetting to apologize

If your company did something wrong, it’s important to take responsibility and apologize to the customers that were affected. Your team should try to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and imagine how they would feel if they were dealing with the same issue.

Show empathy to the customers who are frustrated, upset, or angry about an issue. Then, if there is something to say sorry for, offer a sincere apology. Proper and systematic training can help your team how to say sorry in a sincere way.

#8: Failing to ask questions

Train your customer support team to ask questions when communicating with customers. Why? The customers who contact your company may not provide enough information when explaining their issues. They also may not know how to explain how they want their issues resolved. To better understand the situation, your team needs to get in the habit of asking questions.

Asking the right questions can help your team uncover the information that they need to exceed your customers’ expectations and deliver excellent customer service.

Your team can also ask questions simply to confirm that they understand the situation. If the customer offers a confusing explanation, for example, the representative can summarize their understanding of the situation and ask the customer to confirm that this is accurate.

#9: Not putting an escalation plan in place

Your customer support team should be thoroughly trained to ensure they know how to handle the vast majority of support requests. But at some point, your team may encounter a request that they can’t resolve on their own. This is why it’s so important to put an escalation plan in place. This should be an essential part of your customer service philosophy.

Your team should know what issues to escalate, who to escalate them to, and how to escalate them. If there’s no plan in place, your team may not know what to do next or what to communicate to the customer, which can lead to a poor customer service experience.

Read more: Dealing with Rude Customers

#10: Not using the right tools

Your customer support team cannot work efficiently without the right tools. If you want to provide exceptional customer service, Keeping can help. Keeping is a customer support tool that turns your Gmail inbox into a help desk. It was designed with customer support teams in mind, so it is built with all of the features your team needs to exceed your customers’ expectations, including:

  • Task assignment
  • Status updates
  • Shared notes
  • Shared response templates
  • Automation
  • Reporting
  • Customer Data
  • Collision detection
  • Third party integrations

Using Keeping can help you avoid crucial customer service mistakes that could negatively impact your business. Learn more about how Keeping can help by starting your free trial today.

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