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Top 4 Customer Service Mistakes To Avoid


Providing quality customer service experiences is a focal point for many businesses today. Poor customer service not only risks damaging your business’ brand and reputation, but it is also costly. Each year, poor quality customer service costs businesses $62 billion. Providing top-quality customer care is therefore vital, especially if you want your business to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors.

Customer feedback and word of mouth is an essential part of this. Globally, 96% of consumers state that the quality of customer service is an important factor when it comes to their loyalty to a brand. Nowadays, this can take on many forms. From customer reviews on your own website to word of mouth on social media platforms, customer service mistakes can seriously damage your business. Here are four essential customer service mistakes to avoid.


Mistake 1: Too Difficult For Customers To Reach Out

If a customer needs to contact your business, it is crucial that they are able to do so effectively and efficiently. The ease of doing business was rated as one of the top five most important things to customers when considering which companies and brands to work with, in a survey carried out by Ian Golding, a customer service expert.

In the current times, being able to reach out to a company or brand has been made increasingly accessible. Customers now expect to be able to contact you at any time of day and to receive a response promptly. They may choose to reach out via telephone, email or via one of the social media platforms. According to a Hub Spot survey, 25% of customers who reach out via social media expect a response within 24 hours, 10% expect a response within an hour and 12% within 30 minutes.

When considering and planning your customer service strategy, analyze whether you have offered the customer everything they need to make it easy for them to reach out to you. Customers will not be happy if they have to follow a series of complicated instructions, follow a series of links or spend time doing research to be able to contact you. This will be even more frustrating and damaging to your brand if it happens at a time when the customer is experiencing an already frustrating problem and are looking to have it instantly resolved. In research carried out by Statista, they found that 27% of Americans reported that “lack of effectiveness” was their number one customer service frustration, whilst 12% reported it was “lack of speed”.

Check that your website has your contact details clearly displayed and updated. Make sure that the contact page is easy to find. The easier it is for customers to reach out to your business, the more likely they will be to remain loyal and trust your brand.

To this end, ensure that they can contact you across multiple platforms. You should, at the very least, have an email address customer can use. You should also have a telephone number (which may be limited to your working hours) and a social media account, such as on Twitter or Instagram that customers can also use to get in touch with you. Finally, you might also want to consider using live chat on your website or a Chatbot to make it simpler for customers to reach out to you when they need to.

Mistake 2: Unable To Talk To A Real Person

Although there are many ways for customers to contact your business, telephone contact is still the preferred method for many customers, particularly if the situation is stressful, or more complex or nuanced than can be easily explained via email or live chat. In fact, 92% of customer interactions in organizations have actually been shown to take place over the phone.

If a customer has chosen to get in touch via telephone, consider how easy that journey is for them. If they are having to listen to multiple options, undertake many steps to finally be put through to a human customer service agent and are then either forced to wait in a long telephone queue or asked to leave a message, you may end up losing a customer. In a survey, 85% of customers stated that they were unhappy with the way in which their telephone calls were handled.

Failing to meet customer expectations and dealing with their queries in a timely manner will mean not only risking the loss of your customers, but also potentially negatively impacting on the reputation of your business and brand. Harris Interactive found that following a poor customer service experience, 89% of customers switched to doing business with a competitor.

Make sure that if a customer prefers talking to a human on the phone that they are able to do this in the simplest way possible. Minimize the number of choices or steps they have to take to achieve this and ensure that when they do talk to someone, that it is a trained customer service agent who is able to handle their query in a professional and empathetic manner. Keeping customers happy and offering them a positive experience is essential if you are to build your reputation and retain customers.

Mistake 3: Lack Of Personalization

Another easy way to lose customers and risk a tarnished reputation is to fail to personalize your customer service care. Customers want to know that you not only care about their problem, but are actively trying to fix it. To this end, they will be far more likely to remain loyal to your brand if they feel that they are able to receive a personalized service from you. Accenture found that 33% of customers had abandoned a business within the last year due to lack of personalization.

There are times when common replies to repetitive problems can be effectively used. Saving these replies and using them in your help desk software can be very useful. It allows you to save time by not having to type the same thing again each time for every individual customer. However, you should always try to personalize it in some small way for each individual when they ask the question.

For example, an easy way to make an interaction feel instantly more positive and personalized, is to use the customer’s name. Customers feel more confident when dealing with a business that addresses them by name. It will encourage them to like you more, as well as feel that you have a genuine interest in their problem.

“Avoid using standard phrases, such as ‘Dear Customer’ or ‘valued customer’. Using standard and impersonal customer care phrases like this will leave customers feeling dissatisfied and as though you are not very bothered about their problem or experience. This will make it more likely for them to abandon your business or brand in the future,” suggests Nill Ian, a tech writer at Paper Fellows and BoomEssays.

The key to successful customer care is to make it feel like a personal service. Using common phrases that they are likely to have heard elsewhere is likely to only annoy an already frustrated customer further and lead to a negative experience. In a survey by American Express, the most annoying customer service phrase was found to be: “We’re unable to answer your question. Please call xxx-xxx-xxx to speak to a representative from xxx team.”

Another way to create a more personalized customer service experience is to use your own name, as well as theirs in any interactions you may have. This can be particularly successful when dealing with emails. Rather than simply ending emails with ‘From the Customer Care Team’, sign off emails with your individual name and, if appropriate, direct telephone number, so that customers can contact you personally next time. Customers are much happier if they can discuss the issue with the same customer service agent again when they call back, rather than having to explain the entire issue again to someone new. Using your own name will help the customer interaction feel more personal and is likely to lead to a happier customer.

Increasingly, customers are placing greater value on the quality of customer service interactions. An American Express survey also found that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer service experience. If your business is known for providing high-quality customer service, then you will be able to charge more for your services. Customers are also more likely to remain loyal to your brand if they know that you offer personalized and reliable customer care.

Mistake 4: ‘One-Size Fits All’ Customer Service Approach

As well as offering a personalized customer care service, you also need to be mindful of the fact that not all customers are the same. Not only are their problems different, but so too are their experiences and expectations. Therefore, creating a ‘one-size fits all’ system is likely to result in a robotic and not very positive customer service experience.

“Different customers will choose to contact your business for different purposes. Not all customers will have the same intentions and you need to be aware of that when you are handling their problems. There are many different reasons as to why a customer might choose to use your customer service. Some may have a problem that they need help to resolve, whilst others might be choosing to make a complaint. You need to be able to handle each situation appropriately,” explains Jack Kilts, a customer support manager at University Assignment Help and Australianhelp.

All customer service queries deserve to be treated promptly and handled in a professional manner. However, it is also important to be aware that the expectations will be different for a customer who has purchased a $5 product, from a customer who has spent $1500. Whilst both customers’ queries need to be handled seriously, it is important to identify and recognize that the expectations differ depending on the amount of money customers may have spent. A customer who has spent thousands of dollars on your service or product, will expect that the problem be resolved much more quickly and efficiently.

Whatever the reason is for a customer to contact you, you also need to ensure that you have trained staff ready to handle their query. It is extremely important to speak to customers in the correct way, especially so if they are making a complaint. Make sure that your customer care agents are actually listening to the customers’ problems and not simply anticipating what they are going to say. In research carried out by Populus, 25% of customers responded that they would abandon a business after just one bad experience.

By putting customers are ease, giving them time to explain their issue and listening to them carefully, you are far more likely to give them a more positive experience. Depending on the issue, you will be required to handle customers in different ways. An angry customer for example, is likely to require more patience and reassurance than a customer making a query about shipping fees. Make sure that you tailor your responses and your engagement on the individual cases. Using the same approach for all customer service enquiries will create dissatisfied customers.

Conclusion

Delivering high-quality customer care needs to be treated as a priority if your business is to grow. Make sure that you analyze any recurring customer complaints or problems that you are getting. Address recurring issues on your website via a FAQs page. Ensure that you offer a personalized service, listening attentively to individual cases and treating them as such. Remember, not every customer is created equal and you will need to adapt your customer care to reflect this. Check that customers are able to reach out to you easily and, if they wish, are able to speak to a real person who is trained properly in how to handle their query.

Quality customer service is essential if your business and brand are to grow and develop a positive and trustworthy reputation. Aim to deliver the best customer care within your industry and you will be able to stand out from all other brands.

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