For the past 30 days, I’ve been keeping track of customer service flaws, mistakes, errors, and omissions I’ve experienced. Since I’ve always considered myself an equal-opportunity critic, I’ve also taken note of my own mistakes as a customer service provider to my clients.
When I first started this “project,” my goal was to identify an error each day that would likely cause a customer to either stop doing business with an organization, or at least consider it.
In the end, I easily averaged three to four customer service mistakes each day. After eliminating “repeat” errors, here are my top 30 mistakes accumulated in only 30 days.
Which customer service mistakes will you admit to, and more importantly, what are you going to do to avoid them in the future so you keep your customers?
1. Not returning calls at all
2. Not returning calls when your voicemail SAYS you will (by close of business, within 24 hours, etc.)
3. Not keeping promises or commitments
4. Making promises you KNOW you can’t keep
5. Trying to justify or rationalized poor service to your customer
6. Hiring (and/or keeping) staff with bad attitudes or poor service skills
7. Blaming the customer
8. Being inaccessible to your customers
9. Responding to complaints with excuses
10. Placing “policy” before “service”
11. Waiting until after a deadline or commitment date has passed to let your customer know there’s a problem or delay
12. Not following up
13. Not treating all customers equally (cost of services, adherence to policies/procedures, etc.)
14. Failing to listen
15. Skipping basic, common courtesies such as “please,” “thank you,” etc.
16. Blaming a coworker or employee to avoid taking responsibility for a mistake
17. Poor product or service knowledge
18. Poor eye contact
19. Bringing your “baggage” with you to work (fight with spouse translates to rudeness with customers)
20. Hitting customers over the head with baggage you’ve carried over from a previous customer interaction
21. Employees socializing with each other and ignoring customers
22. Inconsistency in any aspect of business
23. Keeping callers on hold for more than 60 seconds
24. Multiple telephone transfers
25. Criticizing or reprimanding employees in front of customers
26. Calling a customer, “Hun,” “Sweetie,” or another “term of endearment”
27. Holding an in-depth conversation with “sir,” or “ma’am” and not bothering to ask (and use) the person’s name
28. Presuming to call a customer by his or her first name
29. Having a long voicemail greeting or an automated, multi-optioned phone answering system
30. Having a long, automated, multi-optioned phone answering system that either disconnects the call when the caller presses zero or starts the whole announcement over again
If you have any other customer service mistakes you’d like to add to this list- comment and let me know!