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Guest Blog: 7 Reasons You’re Underperforming in Customer Service

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog BrittanyTorano shares seven reasons why your organization may be suffering from poor customer service. All of these reasons are important to providing amazing customer service.  – Shep Hyken Customer service is give and take. It’s a relationship between the employee and the customer. That relationship is […]

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog BrittanyTorano shares seven reasons why your organization may be suffering from poor customer service. All of these reasons are important to providing amazing customer service.  – Shep Hyken

kovaCustomer service is give and take. It’s a relationship between the employee and the customer. That relationship is on a scale and the balance can be easily tipped. The effects of the right customer service are exponential. Magical even, pulling in customers to return for more. However, the scale is always in question and where it leans can mean rainbows and sunshine or plain old doom. The doom means poor customer service, which in turn is a tarnished reflection of your business.

If you see that your company is looking a little rough, it may be from customer service underperformance. Reasons being:

You’re not hiring the right people

Any type of business requires customer service. Customers are a key to the success of your company, but an even greater key is your employees. Employees are the core of your product, in a sense. Even if you’re just a startup and you’re only one person, you, the CEO, the lone gunman, are the customer service. However, if you’re a bit larger and can afford employees, that person representing your brand has to be the right fit. If you’re just hiring whomever, while it’s great to give an opportunity to everyone, can be your downfall. You must find those willing to work and fit the mold of what you’re selling. They must be able to work, adapt, learn, and interact. Your employees must fit the culture you’ve created. During job interviews, grill your potential prospects, and be upfront, and truthful; they have to know what they’re getting into.

Employees being unfamiliar with the product

Customers walk into any place willing to buy something and assume, this goes for the internet too, that employees are all knowing. In hindsight, that’s impossible for anyone, plus things are always changing. However, employees should have a vast knowledge of the product(s). If a customer walks in or tweets a question, they should get an immediate response.  Those working for you should be able to give an answer and the right one too. Of course, if the question is a bit out there, it’s always best to ask those on top for the appropriate response. Being unfamiliar with a product gives off the air of unprofessionalism and customers might see the situation as time-consuming.

The company vision may be unclear

When hiring new employees, drill in their heads the company vision. The company vision is an extension of your product and customer service. If you’re unsure, as the owner, what direction your business should take, it will rub off onto your employees. An unclear vision means an unclear path on how to communicate and aid customers. How should employees approach a customer? What do YOU stand for? If all of this is a hazy mess, your customer service will be just that, a mess.

Ignoring customer feedback

Criticism is hard. It’s like a blow to the heart, especially if the criticism is for your job. It’s how you make your income, it’s something you want to excel at, especially if you’re a small business. Customer feedback can be similar to that of getting sand in your food at the beach: catastrophic, emotionally. However, customer feedback is just part of the package and it can be beneficial. Hearing the voices of those consuming your product can help improve your business and it also shows that you care about your customers. If you ignore them, it comes off as egotistic and money hungry. This goes for contact center solutions. Call centers are an extension of your company and those employees have to know your vision, with an attitude to match and answers to give.

Not using online platforms to hear customers.

Online platforms, such as social media, is an extension of customer feedback. If your company doesn’t have an online social media presence, now’s the time. These platforms allow you, the owner/employee, to hear live reactions from customers. They’re going to send you questions and just like the point above, you need to answer in a timely manner. You’re most likely going to get a great influx of feedback due to an online presence and that will boost your customer service. Just don’t ignore what the public is saying and take what you feel is truly beneficial in order to grow your business.

Lack of empathy.

Sometimes, as a person from 9 to 5, you have to be in the customer’s shoes. If they come in rushed or with a bit of an attitude, you, as the employee and the employer cannot throw the same emotions back. If one were to react, it would be horrible customer service. This is where empathy comes into play. You have to put yourself in the customer’s headspace and you have to help them in the best way possible. Assess their situation, see how you can help, and if they need anything else. Empathy is key.

Long waits

Long waits can be the ultimate mood killer and can result in negative customer feedback. Though, at times long waits will be unavoidable. If long waits are caused by some sort of incompetence or dealing with a customer, it will turn away shoppers and potential buyers. Word of mouth and the power of the internet can spread and you’ll be known for waiting times rather than your product. Long waits can also result in neglecting other customers. If your business is relying on a call center, make sure they’re in top form. They’re notorious for putting people on hold for large amounts of time. You have to balance the scale and send customers out in a timely manner while assisting others.

Star-worthy customer service is achievable. It’s all about the balance and the right people. Once you have that, with some trial and error, you’re well on your way to becoming a top dog in customer service.

Brittany Torano is a creative writer and currently writes content on behalf of the call center solutions specialists at KOVA Corporation. On her downtime you can see her swimming laps in a pool, running around her neighborhood, or holed up in a movie theater with a bucket of popcorn. You can connect with Brittany on LinkedIn.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: Seven Ways To Use Email To Build Your Brand And Create A Better Customer Experience

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