How Not to do Customer Service

08 Apr

by @matt_seo

“The customer is the king.” “The customer is always right.” There are many such sayings in the world of customer service, but the extent to which we end up complaining about poor customer service shows that such advice is all too frequently overlooked. This article looks at some classic scenarios which demonstrate poor customer service and addresses how they can be prevented so that you can retain a loyal customer base and build your company’s reputation.

Bad attitudes towards customers
Perhaps the most frequent gripe experienced by customers is being on the receiving end of a bad attitude from an employee of a company. Being addressed in a surly fashion; being ignored; having a question answered unsatisfactorily; these are not only evidence of bad manners and unhappiness on the part of the employee, but also reflect poorly on the company as a whole. Bad news travels fast, so polite and friendly staff are vital for good customer service. If a particular employee is causing a problem, find out what is making them unhappy and address any underlying issues.

Not calling a customer back
You’ve said you’ll call a customer back at a particular time. But you’ve forgotten when you said you’d call them, and now they’ve sent a disgruntled email threatening to take their business elsewhere. This scenario could easily have been prevented with the use of CRM software, which allows you both to record conversations and correspondence with a customer and to schedule future contact. We all know how difficult it can be to stay on top of our workload, but diligent use of CRM software will make your life far easier as well as giving out a much better impression to customers.

Keeping the customer on hold
There are few things more frustrating for a customer than being kept on hold for what seems an infinite amount of time. If your phone lines tend to be busy, it would be wise to invest in some call-monitoring software to ensure that each member of your customer service team is pulling their weight. Advise your team that calls should be answered within three rings, and if you don’t have enough staff to handle the volume of calls you receive, consider hiring an extra member of staff – even if only temporarily to cover particularly busy periods or a team member being on holiday.

Getting into an argument with a customer
It can be very frustrating and upsetting when a customer bombards you with a barrage of complaints, treating you as though their (often unfounded) gripes with your company are your personal fault. But the last thing you should do is to argue back. Far from helping resolve the conflict, this will only worsen it. It will end with the customer hanging up on you – and you lose their business. Resist the temptation to give them an earful back, and instead take a step back and try to look at the situation from their point of view. Often, a customer may simply be having a bad day and taking it out on you; it’s not personal. Empathise with them; let them get whatever it is off their chest, and focus on what you can do to bring about a positive resolution to the situation.


This article was written by Workbooks, leading supplier of web-based CRM systems.


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5 responses to “How Not to do Customer Service

  1. edwardfielding

    February 9, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Example of bad customer service and the aftermath –

  2. stephenflaming

    June 15, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    You wrote a very good blog its really true. We have to handle customer’s call very polite and never been rude to them. If our behavior is rude to the customer then they create a bad image of the company and that is not good.

  3. Kathlene Honda

    March 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business. You can offer promotions and slash prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.-

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    September 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

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