Top 5 Mistakes In Customer Service

One cannot overemphasize the importance of customer service to the success of a business. Whether it is Zappos, Rackspace or Apple, great companies reach their perch by constantly wowing the customer. Having unhappy customers, on the other hand, can lead to poor sales and ultimately ruin your business.

Top 5 Mistakes

In this post I will cover the top 5 customer service mistakes that businesses often make.

1. Not providing an easy way for your customers to reach you

Some businesses have this weird notion that handling customer calls is a waste of their time and resources. They try hard to hide their contact details in their website and send a canned response when contacted through their “contact us” page. This is a big mistake. Having no real contact details in your website is a very irritating issue as a customer and can often ruin the reputation of your business.

A lot of times the primary issue at hand is small and could be easily solved in two minutes by your customer representative. By not having an easy way to reach your customer rep, you give the customer an opportunity to vent their anger in public (in social media and blogs) that can greatly magnify the issue and spread the news about your faults to the broader public.

Provide a contact number and an email id that reaches a real person in your company and if possible provide live chat options in your website. Regardless of the medium, handle the customer query and send an appropriate message in the shortest time possible.

2. Having non-specialists at the job

You wouldn’t have your accountant design your building or your car mechanic do your taxes. But why do you have an untrained person handle your customer calls? Customer service is a specialized role that requires empathy, good grasp of the issues, great listening skills and good information management skills. The persons manning your customer service calls are your spokespersons – you must take great care in staffing the right persons and training them appropriately.

3. Trying to win an argument with your customer

This is a big no-no. The first rule of customer service is to never argue with the customer even if you think you are right. Keep your egos aside and remember that “customer is always right”. Customer calls are not high school debating contests. When the customer is angry, keep your cool and politely explain the stuff. On many occasions, your polite manner can cool off that short-tempered customer and make him/her more reasonable.

4. Being too inflexible with your rules and policies

As the famous quote in the movie Matrix goes – “some rules can be bent, others can be broken”. While you don’t want to compromise on ethics or business fundamentals, you must try hard to satisfy the customer without having too many of your rules on the way. For instance, if you are a bank and a regular customer had an overdraft issue, you could refund the overdraft fee for the first time. It doesn’t pay to irk the loyal customer on a minor issue.

5. Having poor customer records

Last but not the least, having poor customer records is a killer. It not only makes your responses to the customer queries inefficient, but also wastes a huge opportunity to know more about your customer to increase your future sales to them. You must invest in a good CRM solution that keep track of your customer records and issues and let your customer representatives access those records when handling the customer calls. Having good customer records can help you customize your customer responses, reduce the length of calls by not having to record the same information again and provide opportunities to sell further products at the end of service calls.

Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and management strategy. He has been blogging for the past 8 years on technology, finance and business related topics.