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Common Customer Service Mistakes Developed by: Karen Sliger.

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1 Common Customer Service Mistakes Developed by: Karen Sliger

2 How to use this Tutorial Pages in this tutorial will not automatically advance. Navigation buttons can be found in the bottom right corner. Go to previous page Go to Home Page Go to next page This self-paced tutorial is intended to take 30-45 minutes to complete. There is a short quiz at the end of the tutorial that will need to be completed as well.

3 Objectives This tutorial is intended to answer the following questions: 1.What is customer service? 2.Why is addressing mistakes in customer service so important? 3.What are some of the most common mistakes made in customer service? What can employees do to avoid making these mistakes?

4 What is Customer Service? According to Jack Speer, a publisher for BizWatch, “Excellent customer service is the process by which your organization delivers its services or products in a way that allows the customer to access them in the most efficient, fair, cost effective, and humanly satisfying and pleasurable manner possible.”

5 Mistakes happen, Who cares? Mistakes in customer service can create a bad image for companies, create hostile customers, loss of customers and money.

6 Mistake #1 Being Unfriendly Not being friendly is the by far the top mistake employees can make. Customers should be treated as guests that are welcome and special. Customers should not be seen nor treated as if they are an interruption or annoying. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated!!

7 Mistake #2 Poor Eye Contact It is very important to keep eye contact with your customers. They will notice if you begin glancing around. Not keeping eye contact can cause them to feel as if their business is not important to you or that you don’t really care about them. If you are on the phone with a customer obviously you cannot make eye contact so it is important that you remain focused on the conversation. Quit working on whatever you were doing until the phone conversation is over. Don’t type, check emails, etc.

8 Mistake #3 Being Rude This mistake can be tricky because many times people don’t mean to be rude. But it all comes down to perception…how does the customer take what you are doing or saying and how you are doing it or saying it. Here are a few things that can be considered rude: ignoring the customer, interrupting, eating or chewing in front of them or when on the phone, not being energetic and happy.

9 Mistake # 4 Poor Product Knowledge Although it cannot be helped in every situation, it is very frustrating to ask for information about a product only to find that the salesperson cannot help you. It is important to learn about the products you offer to maintain good customer service. Be actively interested in what is going on. Ask to be trained if you don’t know something about the products you offer. If you are in a situation with a customer in which you don’t know enough about the product to help them, offer to get someone who does.

10 Mistake #5 Talking with Co-Workers and Ignoring/Not Acknowledging Customers This is a mistake that happens all too often. It may seem more important to finish your conversation but it is not. It is crucial that you build immediate rapport with customers as they come in. It is definitely unacceptable to carry on an in-office conversation while you are on the phone with a customer.

11 Mistake #6 Blaming and Accusing Never blame your company or co-workers! It only makes the situation worse for customers. It causes them to potentially lose more faith in the company and its products. Instead take responsibility for the situation and ensure you will do what is you can to correct the situation. NEVER blame or get irate with the customer!!

12 Mistake # 7 Not Showing Empathy It is important to empathize with customers. This will build your customers trust and give you a chance to build a relationship with your customers. You can empathize not only when something is wrong but also when they have happy things to share. A great way to improve your empathy is to comment on what your customers share with you. Which leads to the next mistake…

13 Mistake #8 One-Word Answers Always use complete sentence when speaking with customers. One-word answers can come across as rude or lacking empathy. Even one word answers such as yes, no and ok need a follow- up.

14 Mistake # 9 Checking/Answering Cell Phones Don’t check or answer your cell phone while dealing with a customer, unless the call/app pertains directly to the transaction. Glancing at your cell phone while speaking with a customer can be perceived as rude and uncaring. It also serves as a great distraction. This also applies when you are attending to your telephone customers. If the urge to check your cell phone is too great, turn it off.

15 Mistake # 10 Not Smiling A smile changes everything! It makes every transaction more pleasant. It demonstrates to the customer that not only are you happy but that you are interested in them and their concerns. A smile can be detected through the phone also. Before you pick it up, put your smile on.

16 Test your Knowledge Answer the following with T or F. T=True F=False 1.You and your co-worker, Emily, are having an important discussion about the upcoming changes to your sales procedures. A customer comes in the door, you should… continue talking to Emily, the customer will come and get you if they need help. ______________ 2.Even though you are having a really terrible day and just want to go home, you should answer the phone with a smile. _____________ 3.You are helping a student register for classes for their first semester on campus. Your cell phone rings. It is the call you have been waiting for all day. You should let voicemail pick it up and you can call them back after the student leaves. ______ 4.You are dealing with a very upset customer on the phone who begins to yell and use profanity. It is ok if you get upset and start yelling too. ____________ 5.You are super busy and a customer comes to your desk. For every question they have, you should give quick yes or no answers so you can hurriedly give them the information they need and you can get on with your work. _______________ Let’s see how you did…

17 Answers to Quiz 1.False. You should discontinue your conversation with Emily and address the customer. You can resume your conversation after the customer leaves. 2.True. A smile can be detected through the phone. Always smile before you pick up the phone. 3. True. Yes, you could explain it to the student and most would probably understand. But there are those that would feel slighted. So as a great rule of thumb to provide excellent customer service, it is better to let voicemail catch the cell phone call and return it after the student leaves. 4.False. Under no circumstances should you use profanity towards a customer. It is not acceptable to yell and/or curse a customer. Find out the procedure for your place of employment. In a situation such as this, it may be advisable to let your supervisor speak with this customer. 5.False. Use complete sentences with customers. When you use one word answers, customers may feel dismissed and may not want to do business with you or your company.

18 Application How’d you do on the quiz? There’s always room for improvement when it comes to delivering excellent customer service. Go back to work now and try out some of the tips presented in this tutorial. And remember, practice truly does make perfect. Just keep practicing!!!

19 References Friedman, Nancy. Telephone Doctor Monthly Communication Articles. November 2009, June 2010, February 2011 Speer, Jack. What is the Definition of Customer Service? Retrieved from

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