4 of the Biggest Customer Service Mistakes — and How to Avoid Them


[Updated January 22, 2022]

Research shows that companies lose a massive $75 billion every year due to poor customer service. Some of that is due to silly and obvious mistakes or failures while others are due to more complex and counterintuitive issues

For your guidance, let’s take a look at the 4 most common areas and how you can handle and avoid them for your B2B or B2C company:

Mistake #1: Not Responding to Online Reviews

Ninety-one percent of consumers read online reviews on a regular or occasional basis, while 84 percent trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.

The problem is, online reviews don’t always tell the full story and data. Disgruntled customers with an ax to grind might exaggerate a simple frustration or negative experience with your company. This is a huge factor that could have a detrimental impact on your reputation and brand loyalty and deter other customers from visiting your online store.

The Solution:

While it can be such an annoyance, responding to negative reviews can be a beneficial learning tool or activity in the long run so you need to pay attention. This is your opportunity to start a conversation to own up to any customer service faults, offer a sincere apology, be empathetic or compassionate, and make it right for the affected party. Don’t forget to show commitment by providing information on what you’re doing to prevent it from happening again to others. It can be a great lead generation or sales funnel method to get referrals when others see and that your company is taking responsibility to a whole new different level.

Research shows that owning mistakes and responding to online reviews results in improved and quality ratings on review links and websites like Yelp and Amazon. Average survey ratings for hotels on TripAdvisor after managers responded to reviews were 0.12 stars higher than they were before, according to one study.

“While negative reviews are unavoidable, our work shows that managers can actively participate in shaping their firms’ online reputations,” says Davide Proserpio, who carried out the research.

Mistake #2: Not Appreciating Your Customer Service Staff

Your customer service employees are the bread and butter of your e-commerce organization and the key to your success. These customer support, technical support, software agents, call center reps and other customer service professionals are on the frontline — they take purchasing orders, answer questions, deal with criticisms process returns, and upsell products. It takes active listening skills, industry training and licensure or certificates, technology and marketing knowledge, a lot of patience and much more to be able to provide customer needs, customer expectations, and ensure customer satisfaction.

It’s such a shame if you’re not thinking about and not appreciating your customer service team. Of course, this can result in dissatisfaction and other concerns or problems. Research shows that unappreciated employees are likely to leave your organization. Not to mention the loss in morale and sales while they are there. And remember that hiring and teaching new ones for the vacant positions can be costly as well. 

The Solution:

This is where good leadership matters and when you show your customer service team some love, sympathy, confidence and gratitude, everyone will be better off and happy. Invest in your human resources by taking care of your CS staff. You can reward high-value employees who meet monthly targets with small prizes or extra benefits, for example.Recognize all of your customer service staff, too. “There’s power in recognizing people on an individual basis,” says Small Business Trends. “You don’t have to make it super formal or anything — a simple slap on the back in the hallway is often sufficient — but do make sure you’re taking the time to call people by their given names and recognize individual efforts.”

Mistake #3: Not Being Accessible Across All Channels

The relationship between customers and brands has evolved at lightning speed. Now, consumers communicate with companies across multiple digital channels and choices: email, social media, web page, chatbot, and live chat. If customers can’t contact you on these platforms and you don’t even have a knowledge base they can refer to before making an informed decision, you’re making a simple yet major customer service mistake.

The Solution:

The game plan and strategy is to make sure you are accessible across all channels in order to improve your interaction and overall customer experience. Remember, different user demographics favor different communication methods. Fifty-eight percent of millennials, for example, prefer to use text-based communication like live chat when contacting a business and prefer not speaking on the phone.

Mistake #4: Not Using Software Automation

If you still rely on slow, manual customer service methods (hint: email), you might alienate your customer base. Ninety percent of consumers say that immediate response, preferably real-time reply from a company is “important” or “very important” when they have a customer service problem. This is especially true if it’s an emergency customer service issue.

The Solution:

Get your team setup on a software like a customer relationship management tool that automates many of the tasks associated with customer service like complaint resolution, product recommendations, and upselling. You can use these programs for personalization and to expedite your customer service processes, improve workflows, and respond to consumers in a quicker timeframe.

Word spreads fast and customer service is one of the most crucial components to grow your e-commerce business to dominate your niche and crush your competition. Get it right, and you can retain customers, increase your online reputation, and drive sales. Get it wrong, and you could jeopardize everything.