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Resources

The 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Service

Every time you answer a work call from a customer, you're representing your business -- whether you think of yourself as a customer service representative or not. But are you representing it well, or poorly? It's all too easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to dealing with customers on the phone. Here are the seven deadly sins of customer service you'll need to avoid at all costs if you want to hang on to your customers and see your business succeed:

  1. Rudeness

    This should go without saying, but you should never be rude to a customer. Watch out for unintentional rudeness conveyed through things like tone; tone is actually the most important skill when it comes to telephone etiquette. Try recording yourself and listening to the playback to get a better idea of how you really sound from a customer's perspective.

  2. Apathy

    Simply not caring about a customer's problem is almost as bad as explicit rudeness. Empathize with every customer's concerns, reassuring them that you'll take care of their needs to the best of your ability.

  3. Condescension

    Never talk down to customers -- after all, they're ultimately the ones paying your salary. Be sure that you aren't inadvertently condescending by using jargon or acronyms the customer is unlikely to recognize. On the other hand, you should also work on how to give clear explanations of unfamiliar concepts without coming off as patronizing.

  4. Robotism

    No one wants to interact with a customer service agent who acts like a computer, just asking for data and then spitting out an answer. Instead of asking for an account or order number first thing, take the time to greet your customer and engage them in a conversation. People are more likely to be kind and understanding with you if you take this step, too, so that's a bonus.

  5. Rigidity

    There's nothing wrong with good company policies, but you shouldn't adhere to them so rigidly that your customers feel as if they get absolutely no individual consideration. Giving personalized solutions is particularly important if your company is a small one; you probably can't compete with big chains when it comes to pricing, so you have to outperform them when it comes to customer care.

  6. Evasiveness

    Never give your customers the run-around by suggesting that they call another number, fill out another form, check the website, etc. They've called for your help, so unless their request is that you direct them elsewhere, you should do everything in your power to take care of them from start to finish.

  7. Inaccessibility

    Nothing is worse than your customers being unable to reach you in the first place. Research has shown that 72% of clients who call without getting through won't leave a voicemail, and 69% will never even call back -- those are a lot of missed opportunities. Live telephone answering services are a great solution if you're having trouble answering the phones during the hours your customers are calling you the most; you'll find that contracting out answering services can keep your labor costs under control while also making sure each customer call is answered by a courteous representative who will leave the customer with a positive impression of your business.

Would you consider working with a live answering service to make sure your customers aren't cut off? Share your thoughts on these and other customer service sins in the comments.


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