5 call center customer service issues that can sink your business

Lidia Tavares Dias

By Lídia Dias

0 min read

Two people talk with each other while interaction data is being captured

No matter how hard you try, difficult situations can compromise your business. Discover the five call center customer service issues that could put your reputation at risk and take action now.

Is your customer support team providing top-notch service to each customer? Do you have the call center infrastructure in place that’s necessary to keep customer satisfaction consistently excellent? If your team falls short in just one key area, it could cost your brand image and bottom line.


The impact of customer service issues.

Customer loyalty is volatile—consumer habits keep changing and companies must keep up with both current and newly emerging expectations for service to create strong, long-lasting, and loyal relationships. Most of the time, dissatisfied customers will not complain. They will simply leave and never come back. Or, worse, they will voice their complaints on social media where their friends, your prospects and your competition can take notice. And even if you’re lucky enough to realize when a customer has had a bad interaction, it takes seven positive interactions, on average, to make up for one bad interaction. The cost of acquiring new customers fairly overcomes the cost of keeping the good ones—which makes customer loyalty a goal your customer service teams should work for.

Poor customer service leads to:

  • Low brand reputation.
  • Decrease in revenue.
  • Employee disengagement and churn.
  • Overall bottom-line negative impact.

To avoid driving customers away, we collected the five most common call center customer service complaints and some tips on how to deal with them.


The 5 most common call center customer service complaints.

To keep customers coming back, you need to demonstrate your commitment to them and wow them at every touchpoint—and that includes customer support. Your customer service team is the voice of your business and a critical part of keeping customers happy and loyal. The key to handling customer service issues is identifying them and acting on time.

Here are some of the most common call center customer service issues and how to overcome them:

1.  IVR is a hindrance, not a help.

Interactive voice response systems (IVRs) are a simple and effective way to increase efficiency within any company. But they can be highly frustrating if they aren’t set up properly. Customers hate inefficient or ineffective IVRs, and, although IVRs can reduce hold times and transfers by routing customers to the right agent and department, customers sometimes see them as robot time consuming and frustrating gatekeepers. Common complaints regarding IVRs often include calls being routed to the wrong agent, long waiting times, listening to a long list of options to find out their problem is not listed, the impossibility to get to an agent, and so on…

How to avoid this customer service issue:

  • Don’t repeat messages such as “your call is important to us” too frequently and keep your music and advertisements to a minimum.
  • Limit menu options to around five and make sure each option provides only necessary information.
  • Put the most frequently chosen options first and always offer a call-back option.
  • If you have certain options out of reach after hours, ‌inform customers upfront.
  • Inform your customers for how long they should expect to be kept on hold or waiting in the queue.
  • Gauge your customers’ satisfaction with surveys.

2. Agents lack training or information.

Agents are increasingly influential in customer experience. It’s critical that customer service agents are fully trained in best practices, constantly monitored by managers for their adherence to company policies, and be given the most appropriate tools to perform according to the expectations.

When agents provide customers with misleading information, they feel betrayed and lose trust in the company.

How to avoid this customer service issue:

  • Develop and document an onboarding process.
  • Centralize training materials and most frequently asked questions into a knowledge base.
  • Get supervisors listening to calls and provide coaching to agents to improve.
  • Conduct product and procedure training sessions often.

3. Departments don’t talk to each other.

A major contributor to the success of a company is how well its employees work together as a team. With increasingly complex workforce dynamics, it has become important to encourage and facilitate easy collaboration across the workplace to become a more efficient organization.

When agents and departments can’t (or won’t) collaborate to help meet the customer’s needs, the company suffers as a result. Customer experience will suffer if there’s poor communication and infighting across departments. The communication challenges resulting from the hybrid and remote work environment highlighted the importance of promoting and facilitating collaboration across every team and department in a company.

How to avoid this customer service issue:

How Unified Communications And Contact Center Integration Drives Business Success

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How unified communications and contact center integration drives business success

4.  Resolution times are too long.

Today’s customers expect instant communications and resolution. Easy interactions and quick resolution are today’s drivers of customer loyalty. Having an issue resolved upon first contact is ranked as the most important factor that determines the likelihood to do business with a company again.

Customers don’t want to be kept waiting, either on the phone or for a response email. Also, a good trick is to diversify channel options—customers usually expect email to have slower responses, while phone calls and live chat should provide quick answers.

How to avoid this customer service issue:

  • Provide your customers with self-service channels (such as chatbots and FAQ pages).
  • Allow customers to reach out via email, chat, phone, text message, and social media.
  • Automate repetitive tasks to free agents to focus on what matters most.
  • Optimize staffing and scheduling.

5.  There’s no proactivity in the contact center.

A sale doesn’t mean business with customers is over. A serious customer service problem is when companies don’t care about the after-sales experience and fail not only in gaining customer loyalty, but also in capitalizing on upselling and cross-selling opportunities.

How to avoid this customer service issue:

  • Make regular surveys and follow-ups.
  • Train agents so they’re able to recognize upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
  • Implement an automatic notification system that updates customers on shipping, product availability, and so on.

Conclusion.

When you are as transparent as possible, and your customer support representatives reinforce this same transparency when speaking with customers, you can go a long way to making sure you’re meeting the needs of your customers.

Any one of the five aforementioned customer service complaints can have a large impact on your company. From turning loyal customers off for good, to losing prospects before you even have a shot at gaining them as customers, they can have an enormous impact on your bottom line. The good news is awareness is half the battle.

Now that you know, make sure that your company policy and procedures are optimized, your team is informed, and you eliminate any deceptive practices. Doing so will go a long way in ensuring that your customers are happy, and keep coming back for more.


This blog was first published on March 13th, 2014, and updated on May 18th, 2022.

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Lidia Tavares Dias

Lídia Dias

Lídia is a marketing content writer that has been writing about banking and technology for the last few years. She believes in better, human-like digital experiences. When not writing, she’s probably cooking for her kids or reading crime books and thrillers.