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Customer service is one of those aspects of doing business that seems so simple and yet so difficult to do well. Companies make customer service mistakes for any number of reasons, whether lack of investment in tools and training, losing sight of customer needs, or not scaling business to meet those needs.
Regardless, exceptional customer service is non-negotiable for companies that expect to compete for increasingly selective and informed customers. The quality of the service you provide directly impacts whether your brand succeeds or fails.
Here are the top customer service mistakes that cost companies relationships, reputation, and revenue:
- Not knowing your customers
- Not listening
- Not providing multiple service channels
- Hard to reach
- Little empathy
- Lack of agent training
- Inconsistent service
Let’s look closer at these common missteps — and how to avoid them.
Customer service mistake: Treating customers like strangers
Know your customers, what they like, what they’ve bought from you. After all, you managed to earn your customers’ trust and their business already. Now it’s time to earn their loyalty by showing them that you care enough to pay attention to them after they’ve already spent their money with you.
Knowing your customers allows you to deliver the experiences—including customer service—that will be the most meaningful and effective.
As a customer, it’s frustrating to have to explain an issue to each agent, so it’s important that service reps share access to a complete view of the customer.
Um, what? Not listening = poor service
How can you know your customer unless you create the opportunities and take the time to listen to them? Make it easy for your customers to give you feedback.
And when they talk to you, take them seriously and do something about it. That doesn’t always mean you have to wait until there’s a problem.
If customers tell you what they want or what they would like to see from your company, be able to recognize those needs and deliver solutions. Incorporate what you learn from your customers into an intentional customer experience strategy. Do pulse checks in the form of surveys and other questionnaires.
Customer service trends in 2022: More companies will make service a priority to drive growth, customer loyalty, and C-suite strategies.
Few service channels ➡ frustration
Avoiding customer service mistakes is all about eliminating friction for your customers. Customers today expect to reach a brand in multiple ways, so you need to make it easy for them to find you, no matter what channel they want to use. That could include social media, SMS text, email, phone, and in-person.
Over the last couple years, companies had no choice to but seek out new channels to engage and serve customers. Just because social distancing and other protocols have begun easing does not mean that companies should abandon channels that customers have grown accustomed to using.
Develop as many channels as possible to make it as easy and frictionless as possible for customers to find and contact your business. Friction and frustration during the customer service process can make a difficult customer experience worse and cause even a positive experience to sour.
A social media customer service strategy can boost customer engagement, loyalty, and trust by being there when - and where - your customers need you.
Avoid the customer service mistake of being hard to reach
Limiting customer service availability to daytime working hours often makes it difficult for customers. This alone can make for a frustrating and disappointing customer service experience.
The reality is that customers don’t run into problems on a neatly defined schedule. Make it easy for customers to reach you when they need you.
Many businesses offer 24-hour customer service, and the closer you can get to being available at any time and on any channel, the closer you’ll be to delivering exceptional service.
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Not putting yourself in their shoes
It’s easy to get impatient and frustrated with a customer who is upset and demanding immediate solutions and compensation for the inconvenience and frustration they’re experiencing. It’s natural to get defensive. But blaming the customer or simply not trying to understand what they’re going through means nobody wins.
Putting yourself in the customer’s place, trying to understand their perspective, and validating their feelings can help deescalate the tension.
When, in general, empathy seems to be in short supply in much of the world, showing a little to your customers when they come to you looking for help can help you win a loyal customer.
Practicing customer empathy leads to better business results and brand loyalty. Discover the touchpoints necessary to understand consumer emotions.
Lack of training and support for service agents
Give customer service reps the tools and resources they need to serve and satisfy customers. Employee experience is the beginning of customer experience. Company culture radiates outward through your employees, and that same energy gets reflected in the relationship with your customers. Customer service reps who get the proper training and tools that give them a complete view of the customer are better equipped to meet customer needs.
On the flipside, more customers are taking note of companies that treat employees well. Forrester predicts that companies known for fostering toxic and exploitative workplaces may see customers vote with their buying power by going elsewhere. That’s not to mention that the Great Resignation has already shown that employees are more than willing to walk away for better, healthier opportunities.
Take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers.
With the shift to remote contact centers, companies are taking steps to help customer service agents collaborate. The results are amazing.
Your customers count on you to deliver a reliable product. Part of that consistency comes through the customer service you offer. Because sometimes things go awry, or the customer simply has questions or needs assistance. Delivering consistent customer service is as important as the quality of your products.
Again, this is where investing in the right tools and the proper training and resources for customer service representatives provides big returns in customer satisfaction, which translates into lower churn, higher retention and revenue, and stronger customer relationships.
With service at the heart of your business, everyone wins.
Discover the future of customer service HERE.