Common Customer Service Mistakes

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No one is insured from mistakes. They always happen, no matter how much time you spend planning everything and doing all the needed steps to avoid them. The customer service industry isn’t an exclusion in this case and all contact centers do mistakes while providing customer service. Sometimes the root cause is the agents’ lack of knowledge or skills, and sometimes poor strategic planning and wrong goal setting are the reasons for mistakes.

Customer service is the industry that consists of communication and relationships between people. On the other hand, it is one of the most competitive industries around the globe, and it requires the best performance and effort put into it. As a niche that strongly relies on an excellent customer service team, you are never sure that there will be no human factor. 

We are all people, and the ability to communicate with each other makes us who we are. Contrastively, this is also the reason why you will never have happy customers only - there is always someone who must complain about the service or staff. 

But is it wise to end this topic by saying that doing mistakes is normal and you don’t have to worry about it? Surely, not. Even though customer service mistakes exist and they will exist forever, you can use some useful tips to decrease their number and the chance of their appearance.

Another vital factor is customer service mistakes that have become traditional and extremely popular ones. As they are most common, they also have the strongest negative effect on your business, and avoiding them is the first, but the most important step on the path to excellent customer service. 

Remember, wise ones learn from the mistakes of other people, not from their own. We’ll assist you a bit and help to learn from someone else's unpleasant experience.

What are the reasons for customer service mistakes? 

Let’s say an obvious thing - having no idea of common customer service mistakes is a common mistake. Firstly, trouble never comes alone, and one mistake leads to another, and this cycle can be almost endless. We’ll discuss real examples a bit later, but at this moment you should keep in mind that if you make just one mistake it will start a chain reaction and bring you to a much bigger problem than it looks from the first view. 

To move nearer to the topic, let’s say that the first root problem is poor workforce management, especially lack of training or just an indifferent attitude to this process. Agents are those who create customer service, and if they aren’t skilled and trained enough, then they can’t provide adorable support. Some managers think that one session is enough to teach all crucial call center specifics, but it is not. Agents who are left to themselves can’t grow as professionals as they just don’t see the direction and don’t have a leader to push them. 

Okay, now let’s imagine the situation when all agents are first-class professionals and their knowledge of customer service is absolute. If you think that this is enough to avoid any negative occurrences, then you make a mistake. Lack of internal communication and understanding between operators and management leads to discrepancies betwixt managers’ vision of business goals and overall customer service strategy and staff's imagination of them. As you could guess, such a situation causes two consequences: less problematic if managers just can’t implement their ideas, and more problematic if the situation goes out of control. 

We should mention also poor operator cooperation and communication that should have built a fundament for successful onboarding and helped to get the team closer together. If agents act as single players, you will never get awaited outcomes, as it is impossible to implement any plans when each staff member is doing what he thinks is right. 

The last root cause of most problems is the poor technical supply of the call center. If you furnish agents with the wrong tools, or, what’s even worse, just don’t give them any instrument, you not only lose the competition to more high-tech opponents - you get operators’ dissatisfaction, burnout(because of tonnes of unnecessary manual work), and turnover at the end. Such things as productivity or conversion metrics can’t be even imagined without carefully selected software, so think of it before blaming workers for poor performance. 

As you see, there are enough things that influence the possibility of making common customer service mistakes. But when we use a common mistake definition, what do we mean? Let’s discover the most popular mistakes in order. 

Most common customer service mistakes

There are many processes where you can fail, but during long years of monitoring the customer support industry, we have selected a number of the most popular mistakes that are made by numerous companies. They powerfully influence both performance rates and productivity, as well as can convince the client to refuse the chosen customer service. To know how to deal with them, you must first find out each of them in detail.

Lack of training 

Some managers just give the customer support agents links to the knowledge base and say “learn it on your own”. It is the biggest mistake that can be done by anyone, because any agent, no matter how talented he is, can’t deal with such amounts of information without wise mentorship and coaching. As the result, you get poorly performing agents who can’t resolve customer service issues in time, don’t get clients’ needs and expectations, and fail to achieve awaited productivity rates.

Do you remember that we mentioned that one problem always causes another? Here’s a real sample: when you pay too little attention to customer support agent training, they can’t solve customer issues, so they feel frustrated and dismiss the job. As a consequence, you get a high agent turnover rate, low customer satisfaction, and poor conversion rates. 

Another bad training process example is when training exists, but ends with the onboarding term. Some team leaders still think that onboarding is the only needed type of training, so they don’t organize any skills improvement activities after it. 

Furnish agents with regular, wise, and all-around coaching sessions that are focused on improving and gaining new soft and hard skills, training real cases, and boosting team connection.

Deficit of customer behavior comprehension

We know that it is impossible to get into a client’s head, but is not an argument to avoid trying to understand customers' thoughts and actions. If people visit your website, and browse various pages, but don’t click on the “order” button, there is an exact reason for such behavior. 

Try to comprehend why your prospects perform in one way and don’t perform in another. Anyhow, it is better to look for answers, than sit and think that everything is alright.

Avoiding proactive approach

Most companies still rely on the old-but-gold reactive customer support model, which works in the simplest way: the client faces a problem and comes for assistance on his own. But years ago another solution was developed: proactive customer service which has its goal to detect, identify and eliminate issues before they meet customers. In short, potential customers' problems are solved before customers recognize them as problems.

The conservative approach is to use only the reactive model, no matter what customers think of it and what they want to get from you. But as the practice shows, a proactive approach is more effective as it eliminates the negative emotional factor of facing the issue. By the way, these two methods should operate as a pair. 

Breaking promises

Think of how many times you break your own promises given to customers. Even such a little nuance as customer service representatives “wait around thirty seconds” that turns into two minutes can lead to high call abandonment rates and numerous unhappy customers. 

People hate nothing more than unkept promises, and it doesn’t matter what is the essence of a promise. Follow a simple rule - if you can’t guarantee something, then don’t promise to do it. 

But if you have said that call transfer takes thirty seconds, then do everything you can to organize it in thirty seconds, or, preferably, in twenty. 

Ignoring customer feedback

Have you known that there are firms that consider customer feedback just as a necessary option to provide - but without further use of it? They collect client feedback and store it in databases, but don’t use it for making decisions. Why? Just because collecting feedback is great and creates an illusion of care and awareness.

The main goal of customer feedback is to find out the customer's expectations and ideas of what they want to see in your service. Some clients say it directly and precisely during surveys, and everything you have to do is find the most popular wishes and implement them. 

When people spend their time reviewing you, they want their thought to be taken into account, not just kept as a funny souvenir. 

Not using the stats

Statistics are the main indicators for all customer service processes in your business. They point to problems, areas of improvement, well-implemented solutions, and trends. But there are still some individuals who think of stats and metrics as useless numbers that have zero importance for the company.

Wise managers always track all the data on distance to compare performance in various periods of time and see tendencies and directions for further actions. Data points to every vital factor of customer service - customer satisfaction rates, customer experience surveys, First Call Resolution, and Average Handle Time - all these words aren’t just one of numerous metrics, they are indicators of business performance and staff productivity that determine your overall success.

Too few communication channels

Multichannel and omnichannel approaches are the future of customer service, and there are no other solutions that can beat them. On the contrary, some businesses think that phone calls are an all-in-one solution for any case, and such thing as target audience segmentation is unfamiliar to them.

Fixing customer service problems begins with discovering the customers’ needs, and there is nothing more stupid than having 25% of young prospects and dodging managing social networks or chatbots.  

Start a survey to discover preferred customer communication channels for your business, but never decide instead of your clients. 

Slow service

Too long response time, too long on-hold time, too long queues - these factors lead you to nothing but low customer loyalty, high customer churn, and crews of angry customers. 

This problem is closely related to a lack of agent coaching because highly-proficient customer service agents always provide timely service and use all opportunities to avoid making clients wait. On the other hand, inexperienced operators don’t have enough skills to handle all tasks, and as a result, queues become longer, the on-hold time rate also prolongs, and so on.

Keep in mind that fast service isn’t always good service, but good service is always fast. 

No follow-ups

Many young companies take conversion as the end of the path, but it is the beginning. Some industries just can’t exist without follow-ups, because customers expect personalized service and the company’s respect for them, as they bring outcomes to the firm.

Even informal courtesy calls are vital to boost customer loyalty, and such contacts may be used for cross-selling and up-selling opportunities if agents are trained enough to do it without passing a line of customer’s privacy and tact. 

While follow-ups are always needed in banking or real estate niches, even small e-commerce firms may use this tool to surprise customers and get more loyal customers. 

Lack of personalization

Have you known that saying the client’s name boost the chance of conversion? Surely, you have. But what about advanced personalization? 

Third-party software integration opens new horizons for personalization, and such tools as Preview dialer help agents see all client data before the contact to select the right tone, behavior, and content of the conversation. 

Even reminding customers that you remember their last purchases makes them trust you more and think of you better.

Reduced accessibility

You definitely know that your customers can be located in different time zones and various countries that have different business hours. The main problem is not to stay available for providing customer service from X to Y o`clock, but to let all clients contact you when they need. This issue may be solved by implementing new digital channels like email or chatbots that are available all around the clock, or by using a hybrid or remote workforce management model to select a group of agents to process non-business hours requests. 

How to avoid making customer support mistakes?

Three-way to switch common mistakes model works: look for popular mistakes made by other businesses, invest more in team training and development to be sure that the customer support team is ready to take more responsibility and make independent decisions to solve complex problems, and always focus on customer satisfaction and expectations. How do you avoid making quality errors? Train, monitor, and stay focused on business goals, if in short. But also remember that little mistakes caused by human factors aren’t something terrifying, so take them as opportunities to improve something in your customer service. 


Which customer service attitude requires accepting mistakes? The client-oriented attitude. Only by accepting your, and what’s more significant, others' mistakes, you will find the right way to improve your customer service level and staff performance. Mistakes are a good place for learning, especially if you use someone’s else experience to avoid making mistakes in your business activities.

Use our list of most common mistakes to research your firm for them and eliminate if you think that your business matches some errors from this list. But keep in mind that there are many other mistakes to do on the way to success. 

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