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Article 5 min read

8 signs of poor customer service and how to avoid them

Last updated February 6, 2023

Quality customer service is important for every business. It keeps customers happy with your product or service, and more likely to come back for repeat business and even recommend you to their peers. Unfortunately, many companies miss the mark when it comes to customer service which can be detrimental to their success.

What makes customer service bad?

There are several qualities that indicate bad customer service. These include a lack of empathy or rudeness, customer service agents that are hard to reach or poorly trained, slow response times, and a lack of follow up.

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How bad customer service can be detrimental to your business

The main downside to bad customer service is that it damages a business’ relationship with its customers, and ultimately reduces return business. People are not likely to return to a business if they have had a bad experience, and people are more likely to share bad reviews than good ones.

Bad reviews can be very damaging to a business’ reputation, so it is in their best interests to minimise the possibility of bad reviews by focusing on providing quality customer service.

8 Poor Customer Service Examples

Lack of empathy

When a customer contacts the customer service department with a problem, they do not just want a solution to the problem. They also want the employee to understand their issue and recognise their concerns as valid. When a customer does not feel understood or listened to, they will likely become frustrated and will probably end up taking their business elsewhere.

To avoid this, businesses should stress the importance of listening to customer concerns and making sure that the customer knows that they understand why they feel the way they do.

Rude customer service

If a customer experiences rudeness from an employee, they will feel upset or offended. As a result, they are highly likely to share this negative experience with people they know, or even on social media. This can lead to a business developing a bad relationship with its customer, damaging its reputation and dissuading new customers.

Employees should be trained on how to handle upset or angry customers in a calm and collected way, and they should be encouraged to support one another when dealing with difficult cases.

Difficult to reach

We all have a story where we have made endless calls trying to reach the right contact person to resolve an issue. This process is an exhausting farce and we often end up giving up out of frustration. Disorganised support teams and management structures are often to blame.

To avoid having their customers running around in circles, businesses should set out responsibilities clearly, and make sure all support teams and employees know what is expected of them.

Keeping the customer waiting

Time is valuable, so customers are not happy when they are put on hold for hours or are left waiting weeks for a reply to an email. If they are forced to wait on hold for too long, they become frustrated and are likely to go to another business with a quicker response time rate.

To avoid long response times, businesses should create and display their response policy. They should set a goal of replying to customers in a set timeframe, and make sure to inform customers if a delay is anticipated. There should also be a method of prioritising urgent matters.

Not using the right channels

With so many communication channels at our disposal, there is really no excuse for a business to be hard to contact. By utilising multiple channels, businesses also maximise their opportunities to acquire customers. If a business refuses to adopt new platforms to communicate with its customers, it hinders its ability to develop good working relationships with its customers.

To avoid this issue, businesses should make sure that customers are able to contact the company at their convenience. This does not mean that the company has to be available to respond 24/7. However, utilising email, a live chat function, or social media page will mean that customers can send their concerns at a time that suits them.

Poorly trained or uninformed representatives

One of the ‘red flags’ of poor customer service is when the staff do not seem to be aware of the procedures and policies of the business. This is normally due to a lack of adequate training and poor or incoherent written policies. Companies should prioritise high-quality training, to make sure that employees are equipped with the right skills to deal with customer service experience issues effectively.

Lack of resolution

When a customer is promised a response which they never receive, the customer will automatically lose trust in the business. As a result, the customer will feel like the business does not care about its relationship with its customers, and offer their custom elsewhere.

Businesses must make follow-up and resolution a high priority, to avoid customer dissatisfaction. To make sure this is done, a business can consider using a computer programme that allows them to track the progress or ongoing customer service cases, and explore reasons as to why some cases are not completed.

Lack of human contact

Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than when they can’t get through to a support agent on the other end of the phone call or chat feature. While live chat or automated messages can be useful for helping businesses to navigate customers to the right point of contact, it can get tedious.

It is crucial that customers are able to voice their queries or concerns with a customer service team member directly, so make sure that this is a swift and stress-free option for customers.

Try to strive for excellence in customer service

Overall, businesses need to implement effective customer service procedures and policies to build good working relationships with their customers, so these eight examples of poor service can be avoided. To establish solid relationships between the business and the customer, customers should be met with a team of friendly and competent support agents who are ready to solve the problem at hand.

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