Future of CX

7 reasons why businesses fail at customer service

Aish Sankhe
last edited on
September 26, 2023
6-8 mins

Table of contents

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Business Fail at Customer Service

When you win at customer service, only a few folks talk about it. But when you fail, the whole world knows.  

Why do businesses fail at customer service?

We've noticed that most time businesses fail, not because they’re doing too much, but because they’re not doing enough. This negligence is what causes businesses to fail at customer service.  

It’s important to highlight these fails, observe them, and learn from them so that you know what not to do when developing your customer service strategy.  

So, here’s our top list of customer service fails.

Our top 7 customer service fails  


Not being customer-centric

Your top priority when developing a customer service strategy is to fulfill your customer’s needs. It's not about what benefits the business, it’s about what benefits the customer. Focusing solely on practicality and what will save money, instead of focusing on the customer is one of the biggest fails of customer service. In fact, it might have the opposite effect and drive customers away from your business. Your customers aren’t dumb- We’re in the age of highly-empowered customers. If they notice cost-cutting techniques that are impractical to them, they will walk away.

When you benefit the customer, the company reaps its benefits as well. Customer success leads to the most powerful marketing tactic in the connected age- word of mouth marketing.  

If your customer service satisfies the customer, the customer will surely pass the message on to their inner circle, which leads them directly into the sales funnel. A win for your customer is a win for your business.


Unfocused approach

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this phrase before-

“I want to improve customer service.”

Okay, great. You’ve defined your goal, but what does it mean to improve customer service? How do we take this from being something arbitrary to being something concrete?

You have to define your parameters. But first, you have to identify what’s currently going wrong in your customer service strategy.  

Is it:

  • Your customer satisfaction?
  • The average response times?
  • Customer retention scores?
  • Or SLAs?

Once you’ve identified the problem area, build your strategy around this. Deploy tools and techniques around your defined goals, and you’ll guarantee success.  

For example- if you want to improve average resolution times for simple queries, maybe you need an intelligent chatbot to respond to customers.  

But say, you want to improve resolution times for something more complex, you might want to consider Live Chat. You have to know what kind of support your customer needs, and build around that.

While it’s always fun to experiment with new tools and techniques, it’s important to not go off into peripheries.  

Define customer goals, and pay attention to current and historical analytics to see where you’re succeeding and where you need to fill in gaps.  


Not being proactive

Regardless of where you are in your path towards improving customer service, it’s important to not be so passive with customer communication. If a customer sends an email, don’t take days to respond. If a customer has reached out on the phone, don’t put them on hold for more than 5 minutes.  

Take the proactive approach. Be available on newer platforms instead of relying on email. Use a digital tool instead of relying on helplines. Communicate regularly, if your customers have questions, provide answers immediately. Build a relationship with your customers to promote advocacy to gain more customers.


Lack of delivery

If you set an expectation, deliver it. Saying you offer something and not delivering on that promise is way more disappointing than not offering something in general. And frankly, it makes your business seem untrustworthy.  

Be frank with your customers. For example, if you don’t have any resources for multilingual support, don’t offer it. If you set an unrealistic deadline and fail to meet it, customers will lose confidence in you.

That being said, we get it. Sometimes, delays happen. Then, communicate with your customers. Show you value their needs and tell them what’s going on. They will be more likely to be understanding of the situation.  

At the end of the day, customers would rather have a solution, that’s been communicated that it will be delayed, than nothing at all.  


Lack of self-service solutions

We’ve evolved from the age of passive customers, to highly empowered customers. Highly empowered customers want speed. If contacting a customer support team takes time, they would rather do it themselves because it’s faster. They want to resolve issues by themselves, so we as businesses, have to provide for that.  

This means providing more comprehensive FAQs on our websites, and also providing a platform that allows for more self-service. For example, using an intelligent chatbot that has the business’ knowledge base uploaded to them allows customers to ask questions, and have a response in seconds.


Delivering generic experiences

Nowadays, customers want to feel special. They want to have a personalized experience. Remember that customer service does not follow a one-size-fits-all model, because customers don’t come in one size.  

Businesses have to treat each customer different. Their experience must be tailored as per their needs and demands. A way to tackle this is by providing customer service agents with context about the customer. Provide a platform that gives your agents the information they need about the customer- information like previous agent conversation, name, age, area, etc.  


No customer service culture

And finally, remember that customer service starts from within. It’s not just a department. It has to be embedded into your business’ culture. Take care of employees like they’re your customers, and they’ll know exactly how to cater to your customers.  

And on that note

Have you been a victim of any of these fails? If so, you know what not to do when building your customer service strategy.  

And if you’re looking for a tool to improve customer service, register with Engati and we’ll help you get started.  

Aish Sankhe

Aish Sankhe is a content writer and co-host for Engati CX, specializing in topics like Customer eXperience, Digital Transformation, and Technology.

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