Top 10 Customer Service Mistakes

Who likes dealing with unhappy customers? You might think nobody does but we found quite the opposite in our research of top 10 customer service mistakes successful companies avoid. Dealing with unhappy customers is seen as an opportunity for these top companies. In fact, the general consensus for really successful companies is that they look forward to those customers that are anything but perfect. Customers classified as rude or just wanting to blow of some steam can be your greatest source of loyal fans! Hard to believe but when you assume positive intent and put the customer first, remarkable things can happen. Customers of all kinds are likely to share a complaint with your business one day, so why not be equipped for how to tackle it.

The top 10 customer service mistakes and how to overcome them.

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1: Getting emotional when dealing with an unhappy customers

Whether it’s a warm and friendly individual trying to simply tell you exactly how to do your job more effectively, with the very best of intentions, or perhaps an unimaginable belligerent consumer ready to erupt with rage, the best way you can handle any customer sharing a complaint is actually without you engaging in an emotional way. Calmly listen to what they’re saying, and then just as steadily reply with your solution.

Get a free copy of the Top 10 Customer Service Mistakes to avoid pdf here:Down load ebook for The Top 10 customer service mistakes. How to turn a difficult customer into your best advocate

2: Challenging Their Complaint or Being Defense

It’s easy and – quite frankly – normal to want to tell a buyer they’re completely wrong in what they are saying. Nevertheless, this won’t help you in your efforts to diffuse a customer from getting more upset while providing you “feedback”. Instead of challenging their complaint, listen to what they’re saying and even thank them for taking the time to provide you their feedback. Before you become filled with rage, here me out on this..

Suggested Reading: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Patrick M. Lencioni
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3: Not Remembering to Thank Your Customer

A simple smile doesn’t suffice and you can’t pretend here. genuinely let them know you’re thankful they’re sharing with you their concern or complaint. For instance, you can tell them from the start that you appreciate them taking the time to talk to you about their concern and also you want to make certain you recognize precisely what they’re expressing. This opens up the opportunity to find out what the true reason is for their complaint and ideally giving them the understanding that you want to really hear what they have to say.

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4: Assume You Already Know What They Mean or What Their Motivations are

Listening to your client complain may not be your ideal scenario, but try your best to really hear what they’re saying. Are they upset that something took too long? Or perhaps a product they bought isn’t what they had in mind? Maybe (but hopefully not) they are worried about a particular employee they encountered while dealing with your business. Whatever the “real reason” is for complaining, accept it and ensure you heard what they said. One easy way to do this is by litterally telling them: “Just so I understand you correctly, you are upset about x, y, and z – right?”

5: Not Offering Support

Support comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s merely listening to what they are saying while other times it means replacing a bad product or shipping a new one. Support shouldn’t be black and white, though. In case you truly listened to what they had to say, you ought to be ready to suggest a handful of solutions to help them – or even even better, one firm and perfectly excellent way to support them. Ultimately, only you can answer this but keep in mind that support means providing the consumer something in response to their complaint. Keep in mind that not all solutions will be adequate so don’t get discouraged or quit!

6: Take a Firm Stance and Dig In Your Heels!

If no resolution is available to make your customer happy or even at the very least, content, then consider how else you can assist them. Possibly you make it a business policy to have sample product or gift cards on standby to offer to upset clients (or even buyers who you may see are actually having a bad day, did something nice for another buyer, etc.). Pro Tip: Partner with a company that provides a complimentary product or something that your demographic would like and contact them to get a discounted rate. B2B marketing in local economies is always a great way to help each other out. And in a case like this, getting resourceful and being flexible is key.

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7: Assume the Customer Understands What You Are Saying

Once you have provided a solution or after identifying what you can or cannot accommodate, make sure you ask the customer if they understood you. Do this in a non-demeaning way, but kind of state your intent. Very simply, ask your customer if they have understood how you are able to help them or for that matter, how you’re unable to do anything else to accommodate them. This kind of transparency an honesty goes a long way. We just need to trust the process.

8: Just Apologize and Move On

It’s not about just saying sorry, it’s about making it right (plus most people won’t believe you if you really don’t mean it). Your goal is to genuinely want to end your conversation with a sincere apology and appreciation for your customer as they took the time to provide you with valuable feedback. Let them know you’re sorry they were inconvenienced or disappointed or upset, then also thank them for giving you the opportunity to make it right. For many buyers, this sincere effort goes a long way. And for the shoppers who are still not satisfied, it still makes a difference if you really mean it.

9: Spend As Little Time As Possible With Difficult Customers

After you have took appropriate action to make it right, showed your appreciation and overall gave them the assistance they were hopefully looking for, consider how else you can help support customers who complain. One method to do this is to set a reminder to follow back up with these customers in one or two days. A good CRM can help with this. This is simply to show care and concern, as well proof that customer service is a priority. You can do this in a handwritten note sent with their replacement goods or pick up the phone and call them personally. If this is part of your protocol and you are selling on your own website be sure to ask for this contact information but if it’s not, think about other customer touch points where you can go that extra step.

10: Dwell In Your Mistakes

When all is said and done, you can’t dwell on customer complaints just like you can’t avoid difficult conversations with customers. It’s vital to keep focused on your vision and move on to the next task after handling a complaint. Most businesses are bound to get them every now and again since very simply, you can’t please everyone but if customer complaints are a regular routine for you or your business, you need to dwell on them. All businesses, however, should have a plan and process for exactly how to manage customer complaints as seamlessly, professionally and graciously as possible. In return? Customers who give you another opportunity and tell their friends, family, co-workers and more about the strong customer care they received from your team. This old-fashioned type of marketing never goes out of style.


The challenges of running a business or dealing with difficult customers can  cause stress which negatively impacts our ability to solve problems.  When we approach these difficult situations from an opportunity and solutions perspective, the outcomes can be a lot better compared to a defensive or emotional reaction.  More and more examples are being found in our Mindset Matters mini-series where a solutions-oriented, customer focused perspective delivers outstanding results and gives you a competitive advantage.  

I have personally experienced this in my own business where many of my repeat customers and best review came from customers that initially complained or (in very rare cases, of course) we had made a mistake and had to make it right.  Just like in life, our business success is correlated with how we respond or react to difficult times.  I hope you enjoyed this content and please let me know if you have any questions or feedback.  I would love to hear from you.

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