Customer Self-Service | | Published September 08, 2017

4 Common Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid

Mistakes can be dangerous to make in customer service. While they may not feel impactful on their own, over time mistakes can be the downfall of any business. When a customer’s contract comes up, it may be one or several customer services mistakes that results in them failing to renew and instead switching to a competitor. Obviously, that’s bad for your company growth plans. So, what are some common customer service mistakes and, more importantly, how can you avoid them? 

As customer service software provider, here are four that we see frequently…

1) Forcing customers to use a specific service channel – Choosing a form of communication can be a powerful moment for a customer. There is no one channel that is preferred by everyone, so forcing customers to only contact you via phone, email, or chat is going to alienate some of them. What if they’re in a noisy room and they can’t talk out loud? Or they don’t have a half hour to type up a detailed email? How about if an issue is too important to explain over chat? Simply put, forcing customers to use a specific channel often gets conversations started on the wrong foot. This makes an agent’s job more difficult than it needs to be and it isn’t aligned with growing customer demands for omnichannel customer service.

Avoid by… Offering multiple channels and making it easy for the customer to choose – Many companies create an online customer portal or “Customer Hub” or portal to facilitate all conversations around customer issues. In the hub, it’s easy for customers to contact you via traditional methods such as phone, email, and chat. Customers can also access self-service from a hub should they wish to solve their own issues on their own time.


2) Providing tiered customer service – A support hierarchy like this is a clear indicator of whether or not a customer service department has evolved to meet the demands of modern customers. In the past, companies would start all service requests at the lowest “tier” and advance them up and up until either a customer’s problem was solved or they reached the top “tier” of service. While this may be a good model for saving money by ensuring more experienced (and higher paid) agents are only dealing with complex issues, it has serious concerns. Not only does it create a poor customer experience by delaying ticket resolution, but it also prevents new agents from learning from their peers.

Avoid by… Implementing collaborative customer support – Through collaborative customer service software, agents work together to solve issues. If an issue is too complex for a new agent to solve on their own, they can easily tag in a more experienced agent to help. The new agent can then keep an eye on the issue until it’s resolved so they can see how the experienced agent found the solution.

Are you looking to move away from the tiered support model of customer service? Click here to download our whitepaper on why tiered support is dead and how to collaborate better.


3) Being reactive with your customer service – This is a common customer service mistake made by companies that are experiencing a high amount of customer churn. The old way of conducting customer service was to put a phone number on a website and wait for people to call. With this method, many dissatisfied customers remain silent until the relationship is irreparable. Businesses close every year because key customer conversations don’t happen, even with a customer service team on staff that’s waiting to talk to them.

Avoid by… Becoming proactive in your customer service efforts – Take control of the conversation instead of waiting for the phone to ring. With customer service software, it’s easy to see the exact amount of time since a customer contacted you and, if it’s been awhile, have an agent reach out. You can also track information such as industry or use-case and provide best practices as appropriate. This proactive service shows you care about their business and the conversation isn’t one-sided.


4) Providing inconsistent customer service experiences – You may have the tools and staff in place to provide great customer service, but unfortunately complaints still come and go in waves. A reason for this is inconsistent service. Pretend you’re a customer for a moment. You call about an issue on Monday and wait only five minutes to speak to an agent. The next day, you call in again with the same issue and you end up waiting twenty minutes. Customers want predictability and reliability in their interactions with a business, especially when they are experiencing issues.

Avoid by… Creating realistic expectations between you and your customers – Taking the time to outline support expecations is vital to any healty customer relationship. Even a simple automated email to a ticket can go a long way in letting a customer know you are there to help out. As a more formal approach, some businesses are now utilizing SLAs with their customers to make sure an issue is acknowledged within an agreed upon timeframe. Agents monitor and track these SLAs in customer service software so they are certain no agreements are violated. Customers in general love SLAs because it sets expectations and there are consequences (i.e. account credits) should the agreement fail to be upheld by your business.


In conclusion, it’s easy to make these customer service mistakes but fortunately it’s also easy to avoid them. Get started on the right foot and provide an online customer hub containing all the ways customers can contact you. Be proactive and work together to solve customer issues. Truly enable your agents so they can get to know your customers and create a service experience will be consistent and reliable. Customer service mistakes are inevitable, but reducing these common mishaps will greatly help in keeping your customers happy and your business profitable.