6 Examples of Bad Customer Service & How to Fix Them

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Post summary:

  • Watch out for the 3 BIG Rs. After a bad customer experience, companies can lose Revenue, Reputation, and Respect.
  • Customer expectations have changed. Are you prepared to deal with high-volume customer requests?
  • Customers want the fastest response on their preferred channel. Do you offer an omnichannel experience?

We all had poor customer service experiences. Some industries have it worse than others. Cable, internet, utilities, and airline companies are prime examples. According to Dimensional Research, 72% of consumers see having to explain their problem to multiple people as poor customer service. This issue happens when contact centres don’t have a predefined strategy for dealing with calls effectively.

After a bad customer service experience, the consequences can be detrimental to a business. Poor customer service can affect customer retention and revenue for years. How bad are the consequences? 39% of customers will avoid a company for two years.

Bad customer service costs businesses a combined $62 billion each year. While bad customer service experiences are causing customers to look elsewhere, companies that have customer retention strategies in place are winning. A small 5% increase in customer retention can produce 25% more profit, according to Bain.

Bad Customer Experience Examples & How to Fix Them

1. Long Wait Times

Waiting is something we don’t have the patience for. Super quick internet searches, instantaneous results, millions of choices – all of the factors made us impatient. Nowadays, we have a short attention span. And the little time that we have for ourselves, we don’t want to spend on calls trying to:

  • pay bills
  • check balances
  • report issues
  • complain
  • get refunded
  • give feedback
  • or solve any other urgent matter.

Think about the last time you were in a queue and how frustrated the waiting felt. As customers, we feel entitled to being served quickly. And while there have been many customer service enhancements, some companies have not improved their wait times.

In contact centres, long wait times are one of the biggest issues they face. Regardless of the company’s niche, waiting is not something you want your customers to go through. If you run a contact centre, you are more likely to reduce customer frustration by informing your customers about the wait time. And most importantly, stick to it.

Most customers hang up after two minutes, and 34% of those will not call you back, explains Small Business Chronicle. Moreover, some will leave a bad customer service review which will impact your brand image and trust.

Relevant: How To Develop A Complete Contact Centre Strategy

How to fix this

There are a few ways around fixing this. First, consider using proactive communications. 68% of consumers say it increases their perception of a brand when companies send them proactive customer service notifications.

Instead of your customer reaching you, think of a way to automate outbound calls for different scenarios. With Interactive Voice Messaging, you can schedule outbound calls for balance inquiries, booking and scheduling appointments, order deliveries, payments, and more.

VoiceSage offers outbound calling solutions which is a very effective channel if you are looking to lower inbound call volumes, focus on high priority calls and deliver essential information to your customers instantly and automatically.

Secondly, you can use your call data to determine how long your customers are willing to wait on hold. Think about when you’re receiving the highest call volumes and whether the inquiries can be self-served. This way, you will allow your staff to give the best customer service to high-value customer calls. More importantly, a customer won’t wait, and they can solve their issue following a simple automated call flow.

bad customer service post - good example

2. Slow Response Times

Slow response times are a bad customer service example. Reducing response time and offering high-quality customer support is vital to improve the overall experience. One of the most important metrics for contact centre managers is the First Response Time (FRT).

Why is it important to improve response times? Because customers associate speed with value. If you answer quickly to their request and also solve their issue fast, then they feel important and looked after.

How to fix this

Have an organized queuing system to manage slow response rates is essential for contact centres. If you offer more than one channel to deal with customer inquiries and support, think about which channel is the slowest. If you respond faster on online chat than phone calls, then educate your customers to use the chat.

VoiceSage’s SMS Chat is a powerful way to automate customer text communications. Eliminate the need for expensive agent interaction, reduce contact costs and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

The need for speedy responses will influence your customers’ channel of choice. Make sure your efforts and resources are placed in that channel. Also, think about using call-back techniques, depending on the complexity of inquiries and the busiest time of day.

Moreover, consider setting up automated email responses. Your customers will appreciate the acknowledgment of their inquiry, and you can provide them with a timeframe in which a reply will be sent.

bad customer service stat

Source: https://gettalkative.com/info/examples-of-poor-customer-service

3. Not Offering “Speak to agent” Option

Channel diversity and consistency are key to customer service success. Automation is essential in busy contact centres. VoiceSage can help you achieve high conversion rates of up to 56% with 60% less agent resource. These customer support agents can then handle other issues or focus on sales to drive revenue.

While automation works and is essential for contact centres’ sustainability, many companies don’t offer “speak to agent” options. Urgent issues require a personal touch and companies should not make it difficult for customers to get in touch with agents.

How to fix this

Similar to Interactive Voice Response (IVR), but with outbound initiation, IVM is the perfect solution for proactive customer contact, avoiding inbound calls, and connecting “ready to talk to” customers to the right agents.

Simple, proactive, one-way voice messages are perfect for urgent customer alerts. They reduce the flow of inbound calls, decrease costs, and reassure customers with the power of a voice engagement.

bad customer service article delivery

4. Multiple Agents’ Touchpoints

Being passed to multiple agents and having people repeat their issues is annoying. Not only the customer will think you don’t have the right infrastructure in place but making them repeat the nature of their problem will harm their overall brand experience.

Transferring customers to the wrong departments also increases the chance of abandoning the interaction as they become impatient. This impacts another customer service metric – First Contact Resolution.

Resolving issues the first time a customer gets in touch is great for contact centre efficiency and significantly contributes to providing good customer service.

How to fix this

Passing the customer from one department to another and having them repeat the problem is a bad customer service example. A best practice to avoid multiple agents’ transfers is to have the right tools in your contact centre. A customer service journey should be easy, concise, and have a natural flow.

For example, if a customer submits an order, but doesn’t get any order confirmation straight away, they might become anxious. They will ring your contact centre to make sure their order was placed. Getting to the right department for such a simple request is essential. We recommend sending your customers an SMS message for order confirmation to avoid having them a call. This will improve customer experience and increase agents’ productivity by allowing them to focus on higher-value tasks.

Our support and account teams work closely with our customers to advise them on refining customer journeys and optimizing call flows to deliver exceptional customer service.

5. Poorly Trained Agents

So many customers complain about agents who don’t:

  • Show empathy towards them
  • Respect their time and needs
  • Understand their requests
  • Know enough of the product or services the company delivers

All these factors show one thing: customers don’t feel valued, appreciated, and respected. With so many choices, the easy way out is to go to your competition.

68% of customers believe the key to good customer service is as simple as talking to a polite support agent. In this sense, your contact centre agents are one of your most crucial brand representatives.

How to fix this

Train your agent to deliver top-class customer service. Showing empathy and respect for customers is the number one rule in customer service teams. Hire people who are naturally empathetic and want to solve customer problems.

Use role-play exercises to encourage your agents to be polite and remain calm during calls. Teach agents how to respond on different communication channels. Same as in marketing, there is a language for chat, one for email, and one for calls. But all of them should deliver a good customer service etiquette.

If your customers got in touch to solve a support issue, that means they have already been on your site. They are familiar with your products and services. Therefore they expect you to know more than them. Train your agents to be knowledgeable. It is their job to answer complex questions.

6. Not Having an Omnichannel Communication

Are you active on the communication channels your customers prefer? Do you know the channels they are more likely to contact you on?

Another example of bad customer service is a poor use of channels or lack of them. If you want to improve your first response time and serve your customers to the best of your abilities, you need an omnichannel communication platform.

Whether your customer service team is contacted via a business phone system, webchat, SMS, the FAQ section on your site, you need to be able to integrate these channels and switch between them.

How to fix this

Know your customers’ preferred channels and invest in them. Be present, reachable, and helpful on as many contact channels as possible. The best way to achieve this is to work with a professional cloud communication platform like VoiceSage.

We developed proactive communications across multiple channels and networks, and they all work in your favour. Our platform offers communication services on:

As part of our digital transformation project, we made channel switch possible in our inbox. When a customer requests support from the customer service team on a particular channel, agents can simply choose to respond from one inbox.

This increases efficiency massively and improves all the important contact centre metrics we mentioned before.


All of your customer service success is tied to the right technology, use of smart tools, automation, and knowledgeable people. To avoid bad customer service experiences, choose proactive communications as your go-to-strategy.

In our experience, delivering messages to your customers at the right time, on the right channel, makes all the difference. Book a demo now and see how VoiceSage can help you create exceptional customer service journeys.

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Published on: 9th March 2021

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