The woes of the Customer Service industry.

The most common customer service challenges can be seen in both in-person settings as well as virtual. In-person challenges can be summed up through poor communication between the customer service staff and the consumer. A lack of real-time engagement and genuine connections sends customers out the door. Customers invest time and effort to personally visit the store of their choice. Therefore, it is up to the service staff to ensure that the customer is taken care of from the time they step into the store and back on out. Friendly conversation and connection through the experience play a deciding factor on whether a particular customer will return or take their purchases elsewhere.

Speaking of heading out the door, most customers may be off-put by a lack of cohesiveness, communication, and incompetent staff. Whether it’s excessive sales tactics, being offered the wrong product, disrespect, ignorance, or minimal sales support… Body language, tone of voice, and the actions taken by staff can turn customers away leaving them with a poor impression of the business.

Ideally, customers should be greeted with a friendly smile and help with locating items. Check-ins are commonly forgotten by sales staff. Not being able to “hunt down” a store associate for assistance is a big no-no, too. Through the purchase of items, customers should be encouraged but not hassled to sign up for credit cards or rewards programs. This can lead to embarrassment or feeling as though the associate is pushy.

Virtual customer service has its faults as well. Slow response times and never-ending transfers through agents are top complaints. Businesses are aware of these types of complaints. However, nothing has changed much over the years. More staff? Same problem. New system? Same problem.

So, what do we do, then?

First up, businesses that truly value customer relationships should properly vet their applicants. Vetting: asking specific questions that pertain to business operations, including “real-life” scenarios, job-shadowing, and speaking with former employers about work ethic and personability. Have a few “meet ‘n greets” with potential hires to observe interactions with others to envision the applicant as an employee. Why hire John Smith with the “hopes” that they lure and latch customers without personally observing their skills? That would be quite the investment to only let customers done and to send Mr. Smith packing his bags.

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One thought on “The woes of the Customer Service industry.

  1. Hi Billie Jean,

    You brought up some good points in your post. It made me think about a poor experience I recently had at my dental office. The woman working the front desk was not friendly and only gave me part of the information I needed. When I went back to get the rest of the information, she was annoyed and made it apparent. Unfortunately I don’t have the option of switching dental providers at this time, but if I did, I would be going somewhere else after having that experience.

    Your ‘meet and greet’ suggestion for potential hires made me think of what they did ages ago at the mall. I remember Express and American Eagle hosted group interviews where interviewees had to role play how they would handle certain types of customer service scenarios. I’m not sure if they do this anymore, but I imagine it helped them select the most personable and empathic candidates to work their retail floors.

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