Five Common Mistakes for Customer Service Professionals

John Scott
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As a customer service professional, your job is to deliver timely solutions to customer problems while maintaining a positive customer experience. While this sounds simple enough on the surface, it is not always that easy. It is difficult to turn the experience of an upset, agitated or frustrated customer into an overall positive experience, but it is not impossible. Here are five common mistakes to avoid in order to meet your customer service goals.

Avoid Confrontational Language

Using confrontational language puts the customer on the defensive and makes it more difficult to provide effective customer service. One common mistake is to make statements or ask questions that sound like accusations. This has the effect of immediately putting the customer on the defensive. Instead, frame such statements and questions in a way that avoids an accusation.

Stay Aware of Your Facial Expressions and Tone of Voice

Customers want to know that you care about their problems. If you look or sound bored, irritated or distracted, your customer quickly loses confidence in your ability to solve the problem. How you say something is as important as what you say. Smile, make eye contact and use a calm, friendly voice.

Stick to Your Job

Avoid the temptation of performing tasks outside the scope of your job. This may include things like cleaning items, installing third-party software or finding supplemental information on the Internet. It probably seems like good customer service, but unless your company encourages this behavior, you are wasting valuable company time and setting up the customer for disappointment in the future when they deal with a colleague unwilling to do these things.

Speak with Confidence

Your customers need to believe that you have both the ability and authority to solve their problems. If you say things like, "I might be able to fix this" or "I'll try to fix this," it makes it sound like you don't have confidence in yourself. If you don't have confidence in yourself, the customer won't have confidence in you. Avoid this mistake by always speaking with confidence, even if you don't always feel so sure.

Don't Take it Personally

Sometimes customers say mean things when they are upset, and, sometimes those things are personal insults directed at you. It's hard to stay positive in the face of negativity, but always keep in mind that if you are doing your job correctly, it's not really you the customer is upset with. Getting control of stress in these situations is necessary, because stress at work affects you both physically and emotionally, whether you realize it or not. When you find yourself feeling upset after a customer confrontation, remind yourself that you did your job correctly and followed company policy.

Making simple changes to the way you interact with customers can make a big difference to their customer service experience. Above all other things, always remain positive and confident in your abilities as a customer service professional.


(Photo courtesy of jesadaphom /


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