Perhaps the best question I’ve heard, after they have provided no help and no service is “would you mind taking our 2-minute survey to tell us how we are doing?” Sheesh…you can’t make this stuff up.
What’s considered bad customer service is fairly consistent across different industries. If you recognize any of these behaviors in your team, a business communication skills refresher training might be in order.
- When customer service reps do all the talking. Customers come to you because they have a problem, and they want to talk about it. Your job is to listen. Yes, providing instructions and explaining things is part of the job, but the talking/listening ratio should still tip towards the customer.
- Unreturned emails and calls. Not returning calls and emails make your customers feel more than just unappreciated, they feel ignored and angry. If they don’t feel appreciated, guess what will happen? They’ll look for someone who appreciates them–your competitor. Your customers, the people who put you in business, don’t like feeling insignificant. And perhaps worse than going to your competitor they blast your company across social media…all PR is NOT good PR.
- Deciding everything on your own. Sometimes you know too much and all this knowledge leaks into how you interact with customers. Knowing the solution doesn’t mean you know what your customers will like. It’s like asking the usual “Would you like some fries with that?” question, but getting the fries before you hear their answer. That’s just bad customer service.
Give your customers all the options available to them and then help them decide which is best for their situation. There is never a one-size fits all solution to handling problems.
- Inconsistent information across different departments. He said, she said arguments are the worst, but they occur regularly, especially when you deal with big companies and their call centers.
It’s already an inconvenience to many customers when they need to be transferred to someone else, but it’s bad customer service when the next person they talk to has no idea what they’re saying–or is refuting what the other person just said.
Get your process straight and consistent across all departments. Train service representatives to relay information to the point of contact before handling a customer’s request. It really is all about good communication skills.
- Dull, monotonous, obviously bored representatives. The average customer service employee talks to 50 or more people a day. Yes, it’s no wonder some of them sound irritable and bored by lunch time. Doing the same thing pretty much the whole day can cause even the most energetic employee to be apathetic. It’s just natural.
But you can improve an employee’s business communication skills by giving them ongoing training, moving them from one area of customer service to another, providing new and interesting script and language for them to use, weekly contests on anything from the best customer service call to keeping cool when a customer is swearing at you.
I’m sure you’ve experienced bad customer service. What happened? What do you think the business could have done better?
Is customer service more like lip service than reality in your company? Sign up for our free gift, Customer Service Rules, and take a step towards creating the reality you want.