The 5 Worst Customer Service Practices (and How to Fix Them)

I’m surprised by second-rate customer service.


Because you can’t have a business without customers. Tick them off and they’ll purchase from your competitors.

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Horrible customer service is one of my pet peeves.

When it happens to me, family, friends, business associates, and others, it fires me up.

It’s one of the reasons why I strive to provide my clients with first-rate customer service.

You can imagine my surprise when a customer service rep of a New Times Best-Selling author didn’t deliver excellent service. Maybe it was a bad day. I don’t know.

What I do know is that the author writes personal development books and creates personal development products and is well known.

Here’s my experience:

I pre-ordered a book because I wanted to receive the FREE bonuses that came with the book.

The book was to be released towards the end of August, and I expected the book to arrive within a few weeks of the publication date. Here’s the email correspondence between me and the customer service director:

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Here’s how I would have handled my dilemma:

Dear Ms. Blackwell,

First, let me say, “Thank You,” for pre-ordering the book.

Second, I see from the mail you forwarded to me that you received the *Free* bonuses you were promised. I also see the statement, “Congratulations on ordering your book” within the email. This is strange. The only way you could have received the bonuses was to pre-order the book.

Let me ask you, “Did you order the book from or Barnes and Noble?” If you did, could you check your accounts and tell me if you see anything in your Open Orders. Also, could you check your credit card statement if you were charged for the book? This information will help me to help you. Please email or call me at (insert phone number).


Customer Service Director

Tick off a customer and he/she could pay $1,000 for a Twitter ad just to complain about you and your company. Right or wrong, it happens. Tweet this!

I never received the book and don’t know what happened. Maybe there was a glitch in the email marketing service. Oh well! I saved money.


I will save you and your business money by providing you with the five worst customer service practices and how you can fix them right now so you don’t lose customers. You can gain customers.

The 5 Worst Customer Service Practices 

1. Going back and forth with a customer within an email.

This is not the way to develop a customer relationship. Instead of exchanging emails, ask the customer if you may call them. Speaking with your customer shows you’re human. Sometimes, hiding behind email doesn’t work.

2. Letting the phone ring and ring (or having a horrible automated system).

If your receptionist doesn’t answer the phone on the first or second ring, you may want to have a chat with him or her. If you have a horrible automated system that expects customers to press 1 for this, press 2 for that, and so on, you’re not providing good customer service.

3. Not transferring a customer to right department.

Nothing is worse for a customer than being transferred to 20 different departments. Train your customer service reps to transfer customers to right department. If your reps don’t know the answer, they should ask their manager and/or supervisor for help.

4. Refusing to get a manager or supervisor on the phone.

If a customer asks for a supervisor or manager, connect them. Why? Because you don’t want to risk losing a top customer, do you? Your reps may need help from time-to-time and it’s the manager and/or supervisor’s job to help them. Instead of irritating a customer to the point where they pull their account, a manager or supervisor could take the lead and solve the problem.

5. Not responding to social media posts.

If you don’t have a social media coordinator and/or manager, hire one. Responding to social media posts in a timely manner is crucial. You run the risk of losing customers if you don’t answer posts. Waiting a week or a month is a “no-no.”

How to Fix Horrible Customer Service Practices 

1. Provide ongoing training.

Provide your customer service reps ongoing training! Hold training once a month or every quarter and make it mandatory. You implement webinars and teleseminars and workshops. You can hire professionals who teach customer service courses; they can teach monthly or quarterly at your business. You could even send employees to conferences. Whatever you do — provide training.

2. Hire the right people.

Make sure you hire the right people in your customer service department, ones who understand the importance of communication. If you need help with this, hire a human resources company or recruiters to assist you. They use techniques such as psychology tests to screen potential employees. Hiring the right employees for your business will make a difference.

3. Pay for continuing education classes.

Implement a continuing education program in your business. Employees can continue their education through the local community college, adult education courses, or specific courses for your industry.

4. Hire a customer service coach.

Many companies hire coaches. In fact, CEOs and CFOs hire business coaches so it makes sense to hire a coach to work with your customer service department. You may even want to setup a mentoring program. Giving your employees the proper business tools will make them and your business more successful.

5. Install a top-of-the-line automated phone system.

If you want to use an automated phone system, spend the money for a great one. Don’t buy a cheap phone system that breaks down or isn’t customer friendly. There’s nothing wrong with automation; however, you want to use the best equipment available.

Provide Outstanding Service, Build Relationships

Here’s another tip you can use right away. You’ll have vastly better customer service in one month by following these two simple tips:

  • Listen to your customer reps right now.
  • Read their email correspondences with customers and social media conversations with customers.

Make a note of the words reps use and the tone of their voice. Make a note of customer responses.

Create a plan of action to improve customer relationships now before it is too late.

Do you have a business colleague whose business is suffering from the five worst customer services? I showed you how to fix it. Send them this blog so you can show them how to fix it.

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