The 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Service

When it comes to providing customer service, companies often have only one chance to get it right. The reality is that even just one negative experience can be all it takes for a customer to take his business elsewhere.

Today, companies are faced with even more pressure, as customer service capabilities are innovating and evolving to meet the needs of the tech-savvy shopper. This is giving way to customer communications beyond traditional phone calls and email, as organizations are harnessing the power of social media and chat functions to personalize connections with customers in the channels that they prefer.

As the omnichannel experience grows, it is imperative to arm your representatives with the intelligence and tools required to ensure a consistent, thoughtful, and personalized customer experience. Avoiding these seven deadly sins (of customer communication) are key to ensuring client satisfaction:

1. Greed

No one wants to give her hard-earned money to a company that only cares about profit. When it comes to customer service, make sure you are focused on quality, not quantity. Companies like Apple and Amazon are consistent customer service winners because they concern themselves with the quality of the customer service experience they’re providing. Spending too much time and attention on the volume of customers versus the quality of the experience you are providing each of them will leave you with frustrated customers and a bad reputation.

2. Sloth

Have you ever waited on hold to connect with a live person at a support center only to be met with a lazy representative who passes you off to the next person to avoid dealing with your issue? In customer service, efficiency is crucial.

A recent research report by Ovum, conducted on our behalf, showed that 48 percent of customers believe the ability to reach the right representative has worsened in the last two years, and, as a result, 76 percent claimed to have stopped doing business with a brand following a bad customer service experience. Don't be a lazy customer representative. Providing quick service for customers while using all possible channels to do so will result in a much more positive experience.

3. Gluttony

Adapting to, responding to, and interacting with customers across various channels can be difficult. The gluttonous customer service representative, however, pays too much attention to only one facet of customer interaction and fails to incorporate additional platforms. Today's customers have very specific preferences in how they want to interact with support centers. For example, what works for a millennial is probably not going to align with the expectations of an elderly grandmother. It is imperative to not only implement a variety of channels but to be able to customize the experience to the specific needs of the customer.

4. Pride

Technological advances in customer service capabilities are rapidly evolving to fit the changing needs of customers. One of the most damaging things you can do for your business is fail to adapt to these new industry trends out of pride. Failing to accept that there could be something better suited to serve your customers outside of what you currently offer can lead to a loss in clientele. According to that same Ovum study, 76 percent of consumers use email as a preferred method to contact customer support, compared with just 49 percent just two years ago; 28 percent use live chat compared to 14 percent just two years ago. Bottom line: If their needs are not being met, they will go elsewhere.

5. Lust

While it's important to be open to new capabilities, it's also important to adopt them intelligently. It can be easy to lust after the latest and greatest solution being marketed. Automated solutions like chatbots, for example, are certainly exciting for many brands. Chatbots help customers get frequently asked questions answered quickly and also promise cost savings by not requiring a human staffer. These are certainly attractive reasons to move toward an automation strategy, but it's important to be pragmatic. Before you rip and replace your current solution with another, take a step back to make sure the solution makes sense for your company, the various use cases your customer team encounters, and most important, your customers. All customer engagements are not created equally. The human element is still very important. Additional help options, like live chat, email, voice calls, etc. still need to be available and staffed for customers whoprefer those channels.

6. Envy

It is easy to get caught up in the innovative things that other companies are doing. But spending more time envying others' services rather than working to identify your own brand voice and how you're working to meet the needs of your customers will lead to inconsistency and a lack of identity. Simply taking the time to ask your customers how they would like to be contacted and applying these best practices internally can go a long way toward building mutually beneficial relationships.

7. Wrath

You've heard it a thousand times: the customer is always right. Regardless of how frustrating it can be to meet the demands, frustrations, anger, and (sometimes) silly questions of your customers, taking out any sort of wrath on them is the wrong approach. In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 75 percent of customers noted they become highly annoyed by rude or condescending representatives. At the end of the day, these are customers paying for your goods and services. Getting angry with them can sour any relationship and could very well lead them to one of your competitors.

Providing a satisfying customer experience is one of the most basic necessities to driving success for any business. Falling into the bad habits of any of these deadly sins leaves the door open for your customers to leave and never look back. Improving your omnichannel customer experience however, provides an opportunity to build customer loyalty, in turn forming relationships that last a lifetime.

Dave Campbell is vice president of product marketing for LogMeIn's customer engagement and support products, BoldChat and Rescue.