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The 4 Forgotten Customer Service Mistakes

We all make mistakes – And that’s just part of being human. But mistakes can be costly, and especially in today’s social media world where one small mistake can be shared with thousands of friends and followers.

And what kinds of mistakes do you think are shared on social media?

If you guessed customer service mistakes, you guessed correctly.

In April 2013, Marketing Charts found that 81% of respondents who had experienced a poor customer service experience were likely to share that story on social media.

How customers share customer service stories

What comes to your mind when you think of customer service mistakes?

Perhaps it’s one of the following:

  • Not listening to a customer
  • Not being polite to a customer
  • Not considering a customer’s feelings
  • Trying to win an argument with a customer

All of these are indeed correct and I am sure you can think of many more.

And If I asked you “are these avoidable”?

You would of course say yes.

However what would you think if I told you the mistakes were caused weeks, months or ever years before the customer contacted you?

In this post we are going to look at what you and your company can do to solve many customer service mistakes long before they ever happen.

Hire the Right People

Did you know a study by the University of Warwick in the UK found happy workers are 12% more productive than their not so happy counterparts?

Happy employees have also been associated with increased revenue by as much as 37% and task accuracy by 19%.

So how do you hire the happiest candidates?

To begin with, you can try some pre-employment tests such as:

  • Optimism Test Scale
  • Reaction to Pressure Test Scale

The best employees are those who are not just optimistic, but also calm under pressure.

In your interviews, try to ask open ended questions and see if the interviewee focuses on the solution or problem.

And most importantly, remember that it’s much easier to be nice when you’re in a good moo but, it’s also easy to be nasty when you’re not.

[caption id="attachment_1021" align="alignright" width="215"]buttons Treat your employees well![/caption]

Treat Your Employees Well

It does not matter how happy your new employees are on day one. If you don’t treat them well then that will soon change.

According to Deloitte’s Shift Index Survey 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs.

When we live in such a results-driven world, why then are so few employers concerned with the happiness of their workforce?

The days of using bonuses, company perks and an extra paid vacation to make employees happy are over.

Have you heard the saying “All the best things in life are free”?

Well, making an employee happy in the workplace can also be absolutely free. All you have to do is following:

  • Be open and honest
  • Make work hours and location flexible
  • Listen to your employees
  • Make them feel valued
  • Create career progression

And lastly.... make work fun!!

Guess what? It’s the companies who value their employees the most that that get the best results. Companies like Ritz Carlton as mentioned in our recent post How to Exceed Customer Expectations in 2014 have particularly excelled because of this with their motto being “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”

Give Your Employees the Power

[caption id="attachment_1021" align="alignleft" width="211"]buttons Give your employees power![/caption]

I can almost guarantee that at one time or another you have called a company where the first customer service representative did not have the power to resolve your issue or give you what you needed. However, it is most likely that somebody in another department or a manager did have the power.

You probably heard something like “I am sorry I can’t do that for you, but I will forward your case or pass your call to a manager”. This not only frustrates the customer, but also your employees. And it makes first contact resolution impossible.

You hire them to help the customers. So give them the power and the tools to do so.

To take advantage of these new powers the training you offer is key. Make sure all agents have in depth knowledge of your company’s services and products and do not have to use scripted responses.

Having more power and needing to know about more of your company’s products can be difficult even with more training. Give them online resources to turn to for advice. It not only helps them to resolve difficult issues, but also allows all employees to get the right answer every time.

Keep Good Records

A survey in 2013 found that only 34% of small businesses use technology to track customer service issues. It does not matter how happy, empowered and well trained your employees are, if customer orders and issues are logged on loose pieces of paper or on post it notes, then reservations or orders will likely be lost or complaints left unresolved.

In our post When the Customer Calls, Information Needs to be at Your Fingertips, we mentioned Bill Gates’ insightful 1990 speech discussing the importance of having information at your fingertips. This has never been more important than today. Placing a customer on hold for lengthy period to find their data or being unable to locate their order can be extremely costly.

When it can cost 5-10 times more to attract new business, don’t trip at the last hurdle. Provide your agents good CRM software and the tools they need to ensure they have all customer data at hand and so they can provide fast and effective service.


Providing great customer service begins long before a client ever thinks to email or call you. It begins with hiring the right people. Go get yourself a team of happy, optimistic and calm people.

To keep these employees, you are going to have to treat them well. To do this you have to:

  • Listen to them
  • Make them feel appreciated
  • Give them the opportunity to grow

They also need to have the power to do their job properly. Neither customers nor your employees are happy if a call has to be passed to another department or manager for a solution.

And lastly, use CRM software to ensure that no customer data is lost or mislaid, but also that all needed information is always at your agents fingertips.

What do you think of these customer service mistakes? And is there anything that you would like to add?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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