Top Customer Service Mistakes

For those who don’t see the connection between customer service and marketing, I ask that you broaden the way you think about marketing. A marketer’s objective is to tell a story, to connect that story both to the brand and products he represents as well as the target market of consumers. The goal is to reach consumers, get them interested, bring them to the door, and sell to them.

For many, it ends there. But I would argue that one of the most important jobs a marketer has is to make sure that story they are telling is true. When customers’ experiences don’t match up with what they expected, they’re not going to be happy. They’re not going to purchase from you again. And they might even ask for a refund.

Customer service is an extension of marketing because it’s a direct point of contact between the company and the customer. It is a continuation of the story marketers are telling.

Here are the top 7 customer service mistakes a company can make:

  1. Not Training Properly – customer service agents need to know the ins and outs of everything you sell. They need to know the answer to every question before it gets asked, or at least who to go to when they don’t know the answer. And as marketing and product teams make changes, those changes need to be communicated to customer service teams quickly and effectively.
     
  2. Not Making Yourself Available – there’s nothing worse than not being able to reach a customer service rep when you need one. Phones, emails, social media, live chat, and in store, it’s critical that your customer service teams are accessible nearly 24/7. If that’s not possible, at least create a way for customers to reach out and then be sure to get back to them as soon as possible.
     
  3. Not Enough Technology – the right technology makes a customer service agent’s job easier by giving them easy access to product information, customer records, and the tools they need to respond to complaints.
     
  4. Not Giving an Inch – customer service teams need to have some flexibility in how they respond to customers. Company policies are fine, but leeway is needed to solve customer problems before they turn into larger complaints and negative reviews.
     
  5. Not Making the Customer Happy – continuing from #4 above, a customer service rep should do whatever it takes to create happy customers. Sometimes this can be in the form of a discount or refund of some kind. Other times it may be a replacement, or some other “make good”. Customer service can sometimes seem more like counseling, and it should be the goal of service teams to turn angry or upset customers into happy ones if they can, no matter what it takes.
     
  6. Not Acknowledging Your Flaws – let’s be honest, the customer is not always right. But neither is your company. Mistakes are made, and no product is perfect. Customer service teams need to know the most common complaints or issues they’re going to deal with and have a solution when they hear them. And they need to be able to voice those concerns back to other departments in the organization to affect positive changes.
     
  7. Not Following Up – you may not be able to solve every problem on the first try. Follow up is a critical part of customer service. When you say you’re going to find out the answer to a question, do it. When you say you’re going to ship out a replacement, make sure they get it. Show the customer you care not just by answering the phone, but by following up to make sure they are better off after you do.

Avoid these mistakes and you will make customers happier. You’ll be more likely to turn them into a loyal customer and advocate, and you’ll avoid the negative reviews that can crush a business in today’s social-driven world.