15 Most Common Mistakes Customer Service Professionals Make And Here’s How You Can Avoid Them
By George Leith
Welcome to our second weekly blog here on Triumph Selling. I appreciate each and every one of the 3000 subscribers we added on the Linkedin version of The Triumphant in our very first week.
I ask that if you find value from this blog, please share it with your friends and colleagues. If we could improve please reach out to me directly here [email protected]
I have spoken to many of you this past week and appreciate the encouragement and support of these messages.
My mission with Triumph Selling is to; Help sales professionals, entrepreneurs, and sales leaders grow their relevance in the age of digital transformation.
This week we speak to a topic which I keep hearing people discuss.
What is a framework for Customer Success Specialists?
How should they be executing their mission of “Customer Success”
After listening to thousands of customers and their feedback when it comes to interactions with businesses, some clear themes evolved.
Here is a list of things to STOP doing NOW! 15 mistakes we find customer-facing team members need to STOP making. These mistakes will frame what we need to watch for, coach new skillsets to solve, and develop a better methodology for our team members to follow.
Keep in mind I arrived at these 15 by LISTENING TO CUSTOMERS, but in order to listen, I had to reach out and ask for feedback. Talking to your customers can benefit your business in so many ways. There is no better, hard-hitting, high-converting copy than the data you get from your customers through surveys, reviews, quarterly business reviews, or ad hoc requests for feedback...
Every product/service team gets inputs from the reviews/support emails/sales calls they conduct with their customers. No matter what type of audience you cater to, the customer should always be the center of the universe.
How do we get accurate data from the audience? We talk to them. There are dedicated teams for customer success. This team’s essential goal is to help customers solve their troubles and be their go-to person.
Yet, some customer service professionals are a sudden turn-off for customers, and this might plateau the sales performance.
Here are the 15 most common mistakes every customer service professional makes. So, if you’re one or you have a customer success team in your company, this blog is for you.
Not knowing what they are talking about
I’ve seen many customers reporting that the customer service person doesn’t know answers to the basic questions. Not knowing answers to important questions/frequently asked questions wastes time for both parties.
Always be prepared. Think of all the possible questions that a customer might ask and prepare answers well in advance.
Role-play various scenarios with team members, I will make sure to cover role-play exercises in a future newsletter to cover this necessary learning for every one customer-facing.
Understand the product/service in and out and not just the features, but what are the common best practices of how that product or service solves a problem.
This brings us to the next point…
Not being empathetic
As a customer service professional, you have to be empathetic. Developing empathy can help you solve problems in the most pleasant way. When customers reach out to you with a problem, calm them down, help them explain the situation, make them trust your product and services, and solve it for them. I cover the importance of and how to develop empathy in episode #210 Mastering Emotional Intelligence of the Conquer Local Podcast
Absence of ownership
You have to take ownership of the problems that your product has caused. Not taking ownership of your mistakes is a big red flag that your customer can’t miss seeing. You can solve it by apologizing for the unfortunate situations and working on the solutions. My favorite book on ownership is Jocko Willink and Leif Babin's Extreme Ownership reading this book changed the way I tackle issues at work, how I think about ownership, and developed the framework I teach new leaders and individual contributors, do yourself a favor, and read this masterpiece.
This is the biggest sin that customer service professionals can make. This and the point above this are interconnected. If you take ownership of the mishap/inconvenience caused, you then must apologize for the challenges the customer is experiencing. Be a little Canadian, say you are sorry, and work to solve the problem.
Here comes the most overlooked trait- honesty. This is powerful, yet customer service executives are not honest, especially when they should. I call this “Owning Your Shit” and being honest to the people around you. Because today’s buyers are more informed than ever—hearing lies will completely detach them from the purchase decision.
Arguing with customers
Some people use this as a defense mechanism to run away from answering some important questions. However, this would tarnish the image of the brand or the person behind the brand.
To avoid arguments and keep the conversation cool, the customer service professional must understand the problem deeply and be empathetic.
Using Too Many Jargon/Acronyms
You know what BOFU or FMW is because you’re in sales. But you can’t expect your customer—a real estate agent or food vendor to know this. So, avoid using jargon and acronyms as much as you can.
I have worked over the past year to kill acronyms in our organizations. There is no better way to confuse an audience than to use a litany of acronyms every time you talk. Remember one of the most important jobs of any customer success specialist is to “communicate” so the audience can understand the message you are conveying.
“The imparting or exchanging of information or news so the audience understands the message.”
If you must use the acronym please explain what it stands for. Don’t leave the customers wondering about the word you just spelled out.
Not Listening to the client
Like any other skill, listening is also important. Listening to your customer’s troubles, bugs, issues they face is the shortest yet most effective way to gain some perspectives from your customers. Their feedback is expensive. That conversation will help you improvise on your product/service. To listen to your audience, you have to accept that the customer is the center of your business’s universe!
Not Asking Questions
If you don’t ask questions, you’re leaving some invaluable information on the table. Preparing a questionnaire in advance before sitting for a call with the customers will help by large. Sometimes, the customers/clients have much to say but might not know how to articulate them.
So, asking the right questions helps not only your audience but also you.
Talking too much
Ahhh! This one! Salespeople are born speakers. But sometimes, we speak way too much and might bore the customers. While this aspect is true, customer service professionals have to be extra careful. Talking too much can agitate the customers at times.
So, be prepared and follow this rule: Talk only when you have something to say! As cliche as it may sound, it’s a mantra for us!
Overusing the script or talk tracks
Not balancing the point mentioned above can lead to this. Sometimes, to avoid lengthy conversations, some of us use scripts. But some of us just overuse them. But why does that become a problem? Because
- You’ll sound fake
- You’ll appear like an amateur
- The customer might feel like the brand/business does not give importance to its customers.
I’d say that these scripts are great but overusing them will not pull the customers closer to you but repel them.
Not being friendly
Nobody likes a conversation if it’s unwelcoming. A customer service professional has to communicate to different types, solve various problems, target regular updates from the product, tech, and marketing teams every single day, and it’s common to feel overwhelmed. But, reflecting on that on a customer and being unfriendly during a conversation with them will do more harm than good.
I’d suggest taking regular breaks from customer conversations, chill during the day, and having buffer time between meetings to recharge for the next. Now, you can show up with a smile and spread your energy to your customers as well.
Use Your Manners
My mom will be quite proud when she reads this topic. I was always taught to be polite. Use please and thank you, respect others, treat others the way you would like to be treated. I believe using manners in your interactions is one of the best ways to deescalate a situation. The audience is looking to be heard, positioning the interaction with a polite conversation, and an obvious willingness to listen and confirm you are hearing the customer's point of view will work wonders in solving customer problems.
Not delivering on your promises
Here’s a shortcut to lose a customer and make them never wanna return to your brand! Overpromising and under-delivering are some of the sins that a business can commit. But most times, they are not under your control. What would you do here?
Under promise and overdeliver! That’s the key. People care only about the results they get and not about your promises. So, keep them minimal and let your results speak!
Taking customers for granted
All of the 15 mistakes mentioned above are the result of this single mistake. We often take our customers for granted because we have them in plenty. That mindset is hampering.
Always remember that your customers are the lifeblood of every business.
I know it all
I find experienced customer-facing team members have a tendency to think they know everything. I like to work with these proven performers to make sure they know this mindset will not serve them well in the world we live in today. New ways of solving problems are emerging every hour of every day, the rate of evolution of technology is leading to new ways to solve problems being developed as we sleep. We must embrace a culture of constant improvement and learning. Agility and the ability to grow and learn will ensure your skillset doesn’t get stagnant. Growth should be our daily goal.
Thank you for reading this week's newsletter on the 15 most common mistakes we have witnessed customer success professionals making.
But here’s the thing. All of us make mistakes, and it’s normal. But what’s not acceptable is the recurring mistakes. The awareness to understand you don’t know everything, always be listening and curious. Customers are all a little different and each one of them deserves our support.
After over 3 decades of experience as a salesperson, I have built this newsletter for sales, customer success professionals, entrepreneurs, and sales leaders. Each week I share thoughts and exercises to help you grow in your sales professional acumen. I welcome your topic suggestions and feedback.
Also, I encourage you to join us anytime on the Conquer Local Podcast where ever you listen to your podcasts. With over 200 episodes produced it is a kaleidoscope of sales content from experts all over the world. Our team releases new episodes every Wednesday, Season 5 starts soon.
Welcome to the League of Legendary Sales Professionals
I will see you when I see you,