5 Ways to Completely Sabotage Your Customer Service (and Why You Shouldn’t Dare Do Them)

Don't Sabotage your Customer ServiceThe quality of customer service can make or a break a company’s relationship with its customers. In fact, good customer service is the lifeblood of the most popular companies today. Take the legendary stories of Zappos for example, which show the impact of excellent customer service on sales. And for companies with poor customer service, it can cause a negative effect on sales or worse, the company can lose business.

Mistakes by customer service agents, the front-line employees of every business, cost a ton of money every year. Service providers often unknowingly self-sabotage their efforts.

That said, let’s look at five common blunders that you can avoid to not hurt your company’s customer service.

1. Using trigger words

Telling an irate customer to “calm down” actually has an opposite effect. In customer service, there are words that should be highly avoided because they can trigger a customer’s anger. Take the words “No” or “Can’t” for example, a simple reply yet it can trigger an outburst.

Find other ways to deliver a message, especially if it’s a bad news, without igniting anger. Instead of saying “No”, provide options or rephrase the request so you can find a way to say “Yes” instead. For “Can’t”, replace it with “Can” by focusing on the possible. According to Entrepreneur magazine, you need to use magic words that customers want to hear from you, like “I can solve that problem”, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”, and “I will keep you updated”.

2. Making a customer feel like he’s a burden

It’s not just the poor choice of words that can get a customer angry, it’s also in the tone of voice and how fast or slow an agent is speaking. When on the phone, a customer service agent’s quality of service is not just judged by solving the problem or not, it’s also the way the agent spoke with a customer.

Many customers end their relationship with a company because of customer service agents who are indifferent to their needs. This include talking too fast, interrupting a customer before they even finish explaining the issue, and sounding like you’re not in the mood for a conversation. Customers can tell when an employee is doing his best to solve a problem.

 3. Putting a call on hold for too long

Customers don’t like to wait for too long especially if they are given the impression that you’re not capable of solving their problem. Putting people on hold for excessive amounts of time will get them really grumpy and hang up on you. Majority of customers who hang up don’t really call back, so don’t depend on that possibility.

To avoid the need to hold customers, customer service reps should have access to answers to frequently asked questions. Agents should also be trained on how to keep small talk to a minimum without making a customer feel that the conversation is rushed.

4. Telling anything just to end the call

This is one of the most common customer service mistakes of rookie customer service agents who don’t know the answer to a specific question. They tell customers anything, like a false answer, just to get them off the phone. Some do it because they feel dumb asking for help or they’re afraid of racking up long call times.

Whatever the reason is, this is the last thing that you should do. To avoid this, agents should be provided with a simple way to research important information so they can give customers the right answers.

5. Quoting time in ranges

Customer service agents usually give a customer a time frame for a service. For instance, a rep might say “Your order will arrive in 3-5 business days”. However, customers tend to only hear the minimum number, “3 days”. And when they don’t get the package in the promised number of days, they get really upset.

Instead of giving time in ranges, it’s better to just give one date. If what they ordered arrives early, that’s plus points for you. And if it arrives on the promised date, you simply fulfilled your promise.

We cannot emphasize enough how integral customer service is in every business. Make sure you’re not making these mistakes and sabotaging your reputation forever.

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Adel Zsurzsan
Adel Zsurzsan

Adel Zsurzsan started as a Service Desk Analyst at transcosmos Information System. Currently based in transcosmos Hungary office, she now serves as the company's Business Development Advisor, helping the company grow and explore partnerships and opportunities. She speaks fluent English, Dutch, Romanian, Hungarian, German, French and Spanish.

4 Replies to “5 Ways to Completely Sabotage Your Customer Service (and Why You Shouldn’t Dare Do Them)”

  1. Here is a great list of what I refer to as “Loyalty Killers.” The five ways to sabotage customer service that are listed here are guaranteed to cause a company to lose business and erode customer confidence. This list can make a great conversation starter for a company meeting. The question is: Do we do any of these? And what other “Loyalty Killers” might we be guilty of?

    1. You are right Mr. Hyken, It is a great list!
      Customer service is at the heart of every good business. No matter how good your product or service is, without customer loyalty, your business will never thrive. Unfortunately, many business owners have yet to realize this

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