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Excellent customer service experience is a holy Grail for all people working in business.
We struggle all the time to provide the best possible service, we go hundreds of extra miles to make customers happy, and yet - we’re still getting negative feedback and customer complaints.
But what if the problems you’re having are actually really simple? What if getting rid of these problems can easily increase your customers’ happiness?
Today, I’m presenting seven deadly sins of customer service experience. Keep your fingers crossed they don’t apply to you!
1. Lack of training
The ultimate goal of customer service is to solve customers’ problems.
None of your customers will contact you wanting to have a nice chat, or to compliment a company. Every single customer has a problem and it doesn’t matter if it’s complicated or not: staff needs to be prepared to solve it as soon as possible.
The most important part of customer service training is obviously a product or service training. Agents need to know everything about the products. Can you imagine an Apple sales clerk who doesn’t know what the difference between iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s is? Me neither.
Soft skill training is also crucial, as most of the agents have to learn how to behave in - sometimes - stressful situations, but without a proper product training, even the most empathic and caring person will fail to help a customer.
2. Turning agents into robots
One of the things I hate the most is when I’m talking with reps and they sound like robots. It’s like having human emotions while speaking is something inappropriate in customer service. They sound like they are reading scripts (they probably do) and they are so bloody professional that I want to disconnect immediately.
The thing is that every customer service agent should be able to adapt to the way your customer is speaking. If a customer is formal, they should talk to them in a formal way. If a customer is making jokes, they should launch their sense of humor.
A normal, human discussion is something desirable in customer service, as it helps to get the real connection and create a positive customer care experience.
3. Automatic phone system
Speaking of robots, there is nothing more irritating than calling customer service and reaching an IVR automated phone system.
It’s pure hell.
I lose patience in a flash when I press buttons, trying to reach the desired destination, and not knowing where I am in the virtual maze.
The terrible “hold” music is yet another reason for this system to suck. In most cases, the music is really bad, and even if it’s not that bad, the sound quality makes it worse.
Don’t use it. Just don’t. Even the least qualified human agent is much better than the IVR. Or, you can test live chat (for free) and discover that it's difficult to provide bad experience while chatting.
4. Lack of proper complaint solving
Oh yes, customer complaints! No matter how great your product is and how customer-focused you are, you will have such cases.
The sooner you have a complaint-solving procedure in your support team, the better.
The most important thing is that customers, who have had a complaint satisfactorily resolved, are likely to recommend your business to others and stay with you as loyal customers.
The second thing is that if you treat every complaint as an opportunity to learn, you can improve your service and prove to your customers that you care about what you do.
5. Not being present on social media
Why not being present on social media is a terrible sin? It’s because you’re not present where your customers are.
It’s very simple. A customer service team is supposed to help their customers. Is there a better way to show them that you love to help, than joining the same channels they are already present at?
This is what Mick Griffin from Brand24 said in one episode of my Business Sidekick:
You have to go where they are. The big positive of this is that you can go out and you can find them in their natural habitat. It’s almost like talking about going on safari.
6. Not responding on social media
While being present on social media is essential, you should also always reply to all social media comments. Especially if they are negative.
You might ask “why you should care about people leaving negative comments on social media?”
It’s because social media is public. Every time someone writes badly about your product or services, the whole social media audience can see it.
People will judge you based on several criteria: how quickly you responded, what was your reaction, what was your customers’ reaction and how the whole thing ended. If you fail to reply, you’ll get a lot of negative reviews!
7. Forgetting about the basics
Working in customer service is a tough job. Lots of training, processes, manuals, daily tasks, lots of things to do and to remember. It’s normal and it’s OK to forget the price of an item, or if a certain feature is included in a plan.
There is one thing you cannot forget about: that customer service is about positive communication.
You cannot forget about “good morning,” “thank you”, and “please.” You cannot forget about active listening. You can’t talk with customers while eating, texting, or painting your nails. You cannot yell at them or argue with them. Sounds simple, I know, but you wouldn’t believe how many reps forget about these simple rules.
Don’t be a bad customer service rockstar
If you read my Guide to Really Bad Customer Service, you surely remember how easy it is to become the “Comcast of customer service” and gain eternal fame as a company that provides awful customer experience.
Since I guess it’s not your goal, treat the above list of deadly sins as your customer service checklist. As long as you make sure customers don’t have to deal with these problems, you’re getting closer to the holy grail of customer service: excellent customer service experience.