Nobody sets out to provide subpar customer service. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions, however, won’t undo an awkward customer service mistake or keep your customer from forsaking you for your competitor. Knowledge is power, though, so arm yourself with the facts: these are the seven deadliest customer service mistakes.
1. Including “But” in Your Apology
The customer is always right, is a phrase so common that it’s become a cliché. In all its simplicity, the mantra often goes overlooked by well-meaning employees. It is human nature to want to be right, after all, and overriding the desire to “win” a debate with a customer can be difficult. When you find yourself apologizing to your customer, be sure to be genuine. Including a “but” or “however” in your apology to a customer is never a good idea. It makes you look insincere and frustrates an already annoyed customer.
2. Groveling After a Mistake
Mistakes happen, and customers are often willing to forgive and forget. They can’t do so when you repeatedly apologize for your actions. While it’s important to always make things right when you’ve screwed up, begging for forgiveness can come across as desperate. Even if you’re legitimately upset at the mistake you’ve made, resist the urge to bombard the customer with apologies. Instead, apologize once, and then let your actions speak louder than your words by making things right for your customer.
3. Requiring Customers to Use a Specific Channel
There are more ways to communicate than ever before. Whether you’re interacting with customers online, over the phone, or in person, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open, regardless of medium. There’s nothing more frustrating than calling in with a problem, only to be told that support tickets must be submitted online. Not only is it inconvenient for your customer, it’s downright rude. Your customers will reach out in the manner that is easiest for them; the least you can do is meet them where they are.
4. Providing Inconsistent Service
Imagine calling into a local business with a complaint and being put on hold for only a minute or two. The next time you call, a wait time of ten minutes might frustrate you more than it ordinarily might. That’s because humans crave consistency. Giving your customers what they want in a timely manner is important, but if you can’t do so with fidelity, you’ll annoy more people than you’ll delight. Prioritize consistency so that your customers always know what to expect from you.
5. Giving the Customer What They Ask For, and Nothing More
Customers are savvier than ever. Many times, they walk into a place of business knowing exactly what they’ve come for and expect nothing less and nothing more. While this makes your job easy, it also presents an opportunity for you to continue educating your customer about your offerings. Don’t take them at face value. If they’re confident in their choice, suggest accessories or alternatives they might not know about. At worst, you’ll tell them something they already know, but at best, you be a valuable resource that the customer didn’t know they needed.
6. Not Being Available
Restricting your customer service hours to a typical 9-5 forces your customers to take time out of the busiest parts of their days to contact you when it’s most convenient for YOU. But it’s not about you. Offering customer support on a 24-hour basis allows your customers to reach out to you when it’s most convenient for them. Additionally, not having enough customer service team members on your staff can force customers into long wait times, which only has the power to further frustrate them. By being available to your customers around-the-clock and having a competent team member ready to assist right away you’ll endear your customers to you rather than send them running.
7. Not Saying Thank You
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and if you’re not thanking them for their patronage, you’re doing something wrong. While it’s important not to pander, it’s just as vital to ensure you’re not under-delivering on your manners. Since everything you do is for the customer, challenge your team to come up with creative and innovative ways to show your gratitude. A verbal thank you can go a long way, but imagine the smile you can bring to the face of a customer with a personalized note or gift. The opportunities to show gratitude are endless.
The High Level of Customer Support Your Business Requires to Thrive
Customers might not remember each and every specific interaction with your company, but they’ll always remember the way you made them feel. In a market swelling with choices, one bad customer service interaction with your company can turn a person off for good. If these seven deadly customer service mistakes sound a little too familiar, you may want to explore MAP Communications’ call center offerings. Our highly-trained agents are based in the United States and can provide personalized service tailored to the needs of your customers. Get started today with a free, week-long trial and see the difference MAP can make for your business.
Here are some related articles you might be interested in:
The Do’s and Don’ts of Business Phone Etiquette
Developing a Consistent Customer Service Voice
Four Tips to Shift From Reactive to Proactive Customer Service