Customer Experience News & Trends

7 deadly customer service sins

Customers only need one reason to get upset and walk away. Unfortunately, businesses provide them with a lot of these reasons. They’re often called the “7 Sins of Service,” and many companies unknowingly let them happen.

They’re usually the result of front-line pros being under-trained, over-stressed or both.

“Exceptional customer service is a powerful selling tool that will give you and your company a long-term competitive advantage,” said customer service and sales trainer Debra Schmidt, president of The Loyalty Leader, who recently spoke at a Progressive Business Conference.

So it’s vital that everyone understands the sins of the service and how to avoid them. Even better, said Schmidt, “Pamper your loyal customers so they feel recognized and appreciated.”

What to avoid

Here are the “sins” to avoid, according to Schmidt:

  1. Apathy. Customers’ questions and issues are important to them, and they expect that those questions and issues will be important to the people they do business with. When employees don’t seem to care — perhaps because they’re preoccupied or express no emotion in their tone — customers will be upset.
  2. The Brush-off. This often comes in the form of phone trees, where customers can’t dial through to a person. In other situations, it’s when one front-line rep passes a customer onto someone else for help. The person who hears customers first should almost always make sure they’re happy to the end.
  3. Coldness. This is apathy and the brush-off combined and at their worst. In this situation, an employee might fail to acknowledge that a customer has brought up a legitimate problem or might address it as if it’s a nuisance. Front-liners need to stay warm and focused on one person at a time.
  4. Condescension. When employees use jargon, acronyms or language that doesn’t sound like what customers use, they’re condescending. Front-line employees want to mimic customers’ language and rate of speech, and avoid company and industry jargon.
  5. Robotism. This is often displayed in a customer service pro who starts interactions by asking for account numbers, phone numbers or other generic information, rather than trying to make conversation. Employees want to ask at least one personalized question before going to task.
  6. Rule books. When employees just follow the rules, rather than common sense or their hearts, they come across as cold and uncaring. That might be OK for routine transactions, but complex, emotional and special situations always call for thoughtfulness.
  7. Runaround. Employees might give customers the runaround when they continually suggest customers look at a website, fill out paperwork or make another call. Many times, employees need to walk them through what they need to do. Eventually, customers will be able to figure it out for themselves.

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