Research shows 86 percent of buyers will pay for a better customer experience. It is a purchase consideration that overtakes price and product features as the key brand differentiator, according to SmartKarrot. Keep the customers you already have and attract more through positive referrals by avoiding critical mistakes that risk losing your clients and reputation.

Here are the 11 mistakes that customer success and service professionals should avoid to improve customer experience and reduce client churn.


1: Not Actively Listening To The Client

Active listening or being attentive and engaged when someone speaks is the most critical factor in the success of any customer interaction. Ditch the idea of completing a checklist of essential areas you want to cover off. Instead, focus intently on what your prospect or customer is saying and tune into cues given as your conversation progresses for an improved customer experience.

2: Poor Discovery

Arguably the biggest mistake made in customer service is not to ask questions. Take a look at these sample questions you should use to dig into every interaction:

  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • What can my company do to serve your needs better?
  • How satisfied are you with our products/services?
  • What value do we provide?
  • Why did you choose us over the competition?

3: Spinning The Truth

With a huge amount of reviews and research available, clients are well educated on the products they buy. They can see right through a fake answer or misleading communication. Don’t deflect, spin, or lie – tell the truth, own the mistake, and seek a resolution for an improved customer experience.

4: Not Being Friendly

Research shows 58% of American consumers will switch brands because of poor customer service. Customer success professionals must be engaged and show they love their job to provide an improved customer experience.

When a customer connects, they might be your 20th of the day, but you’re their first point of contact. It’s important to make that experience special for them, treat them with kindness, a smile on your face, and use a happy tone of voice every time.

When a client reaches out, they are most often dealing with a challenge. Show you care and bring a positive attitude. Reassure the client you are the one who can solve their problem.

5: Not Saying That You’re Sorry

Did you know only 37 percent of upset customers say they were satisfied when offered something in return for reaching out with a customer complaint? However, if the business said sorry too, satisfaction increased to 74 percent.

Few things are worse in the eyes of a customer than a refusal to acknowledge an error. Just say, “sorry.” Apologize even though it’s not your fault. The client is reaching out because their experience did not meet expectations. Apologies can go a long way towards gaining trust back.

Apologies can also help retain that customer for the future. A simple “I’m sorry” will leave a customer feeling validated and heard.

6: Absence of Ownership

Even if a mistake wasn’t your fault, take responsibility for helping to solve the challenge a customer faces. Work to show you are on their side. Acknowledge something went wrong and assure the customer you will do everything in your power to find a solution.

When you commit, please write it down, and repeat it before ending the call with the client. Repeating it back shows extreme ownership. That is what the client is hoping to find in calling you.

7: Lack Of Knowledge

Customers get frustrated when a representative lacks knowledge or can’t quickly answer questions. Customer success representatives must be well trained. For an improved customer experience, it’s important that talk tracks and scripts are there as a guide and not a crutch.

Training programs should build product and service knowledge before that first call. Supplement with live role play by the team and coach to ensure accurate recall of information. Constant learning is paramount to delivering a world-class customer experience.

8: Using Acronyms And Jargon

Acronyms like SMB, OKR, MRR, and CTA lead to a confusing interaction that’s frustrating for a customer if they don’t know what those terms stand for. For an improved customer experience, do away with jargon or words with an ambiguous meaning like:

  • Scaleable
  • Next-gen
  • White-glove
  • Top-down
  • Circle-Back

These terms may be familiar in your industry, but not always for your client.

9: Displaying A Lack Of Empathy

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Get an end-to-end understanding of what it’s like to work with your team or use your product. After going through the motions, you’ll understand what parts of the experience weren’t as easy and delightful as you imagined. This is your starting point.

Empathy is one of the essentially human aspects of the business/customer relationship and can greatly improve customer experience. It says, “I see you, I understand, let me help.”

10: Failing To Follow Through On A Promise

We often refer to this concept of a trust matrix (a term used to describe how a network of people ranks one another for integrity and dependability). We need to consistently be making deposits into the trust bank to outweigh the cost of fear. When you make a promise to follow up with a client – commit.

Set reminders for yourself when you’ve committed to a client. Follow up with the right people you need to solve the customer issue and build infrequent customer update touchpoints along the way.

For an improved customer experience, don’t set unrealistic expectations you can’t meet to placate a customer.

11. Taking Customers For Granted

Every time you make a change, update your website or add a service, ask yourself: will this improve the experience for your customers?

Customer service professionals are employed because of the paying customers they support. Don’t take customers for granted and treat them with the same respect and kindness you expect in return.

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