customer support

8 common customer service mistakes & how to avoid them

Photo of Mikayla Fuller
by   Mikayla Fuller
December 20, 2022

Influx has built support teams for more than 300 high-growth brands in the US, Australia, and Europe. We hire, train, and empower a remote community with the top 1% of customer support agents, spread over 120+ cities. Learn more about how it works

Every business needs good customer service, but why is it that good customer service is challenging to come by? Ultimately, customers are looking for a frictionless experience that allows them to solve their problems as quickly as possible, which sometimes might not be realistic. However, there are minor customer service mistakes that can make the process go a whole lot smoother once they are understood and avoided. Keep reading for customer service mistakes to avoid!

Why is it essential to provide good customer service? 

Good customer service is important to build trust, satisfaction, and loyalty among customers, which leads to increased sales. When customers have a positive experience with a brand, they are more likely to return, repurchase, and recommend the business to others. This also makes a business stand out from competitors and increases its retention rate - all important factors of a successful, growing business. According to Ruby Newell-Legner’s “Understanding Customers”…

It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.

The impact of negative customer service can be detrimental to every brand and can result in losing a customer’s business forever. Going a step further, they could also share their experience with others who will most likely not be supporting the business anytime soon. Overall, excellent customer service is essential for building and maintaining strong customer relationships. With these top 10 common customer service mistakes to avoid, you can only go up from here!

Top 8 common customer service mistakes

1. Not listening to the customer or talking too much

We could also phrase this as, ‘don’t be rude.’ This is a given in customer service, but sometimes when a customer is expressing certain emotions, it can be difficult not to get find yourself on that level. Give the customer time to explain themselves, be patient, and hear them out. If you’re worried that a conversation is taking up too much of your time, prepare some exit phrases that will help the call remain timely.

2. Not asking enough questions

Asking questions will help get to the root of the problem, build trust and rapport, gather all the relevant information needed to understand the situation, and allow for more personalized service.

3. Not delivering what you promise

Customers may have an expectation going into the interaction of what they want. No matter what, never offer a customer something that you cannot give them. This will only frustrate them and will create more problems that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

4. Lack of communication

It can be awkward to call customer support and sit there in silence, unsure of what they are doing on the other end of the line. Simply adding small statements such as, “One moment, I am logging in to your account,” is enough to let the customer know why there are gaps in the conversation. Essentially, if there is any information that a customer should know, especially about when they can expect certain things, such as a refund, a replacement product, or the next round of support, these are important things to communicate.

5. Poor training of agents

Bluntly put, you don’t want to throw agents to the sharks. Thorough training will ensure that agents are consistent with professionalism and fully understand processes. Taking the time to train correctly in the beginning may take a while, but in the end, it will pay off in the long run for a higher quality of support that benefits everyone.

6. Using scripts

Scripted conversations don’t flow smoothly, and they feel extremely impersonal. It’s best to use certain phrases or words that can help agents feel empowered to personalize the conversation instead of reading verbatim.

7. Transferring customers too many times

When a customer is transferred, they will most likely have to repeat themselves, which can take additional time. Besides disrupting the customer experience, transferring a customer too many times can ruin the flow of the conversation and lead to confusion or frustration.

8. Slow response time

When customers reach out for support and a response takes too long, it is presenting to them that you don’t care about their problem. If you cannot answer immediately, there should be automated responses or a call-routing system that gives customers an estimate of when they can expect to receive an answer. For any form of text-based support, something simple such as…

Thank you for reaching out, (name)! We have received your message and someone on our team will get back to you shortly. In the meantime, (link to FAQ page) our FAQ page might be able to help solve your problem!

Now that you know common customer mistakes to avoid, we suggest our other blog on creating a positive customer service experience for your brand.

How to apologize to a customer for a mistake?

Sometimes customer support agents or staff members will make mistakes, and that’s ok, they’re human. Here are a few tips to remember when you or someone on your team has made a mistake:

  • A genuine and empathetic apology goes a long way toward keeping customers loyal for longer.
  • Before rushing into an apology, get all the information and understand exactly why the customer is upset.
  • If you do need to apologize, incorporate the three key components of an apology: acknowledgment, remorse, and resolution.
  • Don’t play the blame game.
  • Consider empathy-filled phrases.
  • Tell the customer your plan of action to fix the problem and offer recompense if applicable.

Apologizing won’t solve all of your problems, but it does help to alleviate the situation so you can keep the interaction amiable. Then, it’s a good idea to focus on what you’ve learned from the mistake.

What percentage of customers share negative experiences with others?

According to Salesforce, 62% of customers say they share their bad experiences with others. Since one negative customer interaction is enough to initiate negative word-of-mouth, it’s important to understand common customer service mistakes and how to avoid them to keep customers satisfied.

How does Influx handle customer service?

We understand the impact that good customer support can have on a business. Our on-demand teams provide 24/7 support to help your business scale, no matter how big or small you currently are. Build a flexible, long-term solution for your business that can be fully integrated into an existing workflow and team structure. Get started now!

About the author

Photo of Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla is an avid copywriter. If she’s not out on an adventure, you can find her somewhere with a book in hand.