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March 26, 2017

5 Signs That Your Customer Service Sucks

By michaelpace on March 26, 2012

Does your customer service suck?

Talk to most any CEO, and they will tell you that they have great customer service.  They will tell you how proud they are of their service, and how important it is to their business objectives.  And it goes beyond C-Level executives.  Lots of people think their company provides great service.  So answer this for me then: If so many people think their customer service is good – great, why does most customer service suck or is adequate at best?

Yes, there are plenty of ways to score or quantify your service execution (NPS, CSAT, CES, CSI, etc…), but let me give you five behavioral clues that your customer service may suck.

How to tell if your customer service sucks (without the use of NPS or C-Sat scores):

1.       You use benchmark data

Benchmark data is for suckers (pun intended).  Let’s start with what benchmark data is, a culmination of average companies providing their averages.  If we start with the premise that most service sucks or is adequate at best, and you take the average of their averages, you get sucky (pun again) benchmarks.  I am in the business of trying to provide awe inspiring service, sucky doesn’t cut it.  Identify what is critical to quality of your customers and overdeliver.

2.     You prefer to handle customer service via email

Email customer service is getting worse by the day.  The service itself is mostly the same as it has been for the last 15 years, but with today’s need to be real time, email is terrible.  The analogy I like to use here is USPS and FedEx.  People were content with the speed of mail, until FedEx showed up and proved you could get reliable delivery the next day.  Sending things via USPS became relegated to packages that did not have any time constraints.  I am going to assume your customers have time constraints.  Email requires a lot of customer effort.  Email (typically) requires back and forth exchanges.  Email provides the right complete answer about 20% of the time. Email sucks.

 3.     Your daily representative (unplanned) absentee rate is greater than 5%

If you absentee rate is greater than 1 in 20 associates, they often dread coming to work.  If your associates often dread coming to work, they are not going to provide superior service.  This one is pretty simple.

 4.       You don’t allow your associates use social media

When companies block or do not allow their associates to access their social networks while at work, it is a clear sign that you do not trust them.  Connecting via social networks is the new hanging out at the water cooler.  People need people and conversation.  If you are afraid something bad is going to go viral, you are fooling yourself.  Emails, chats, conversations, and any interaction can go viral.  It’s the content, not the tool going viral.  Treat your associates like the adults they are, and/or provide the training needed to reduce the risk.  There are so many possible benefits of allowing them to access their networks (training, personal development, release, monotony breaks, recruiting, branding, etc…).  If you cannot trust them to access their social networks, do you really want to trust them with your customers?

 5.       Your goals and metrics do not include employee satisfaction scores

If you are not measuring it, you are not managing it.  If you are not including your associates morale, satisfaction and engagement metrics with your typical customer service metrics, you are providing validation they are less important than your other metrics.  I doubt you are going to get their best effort if you do not prove you’re concerned for their well being.  See #3.  You ask them to be concerned with your customers’ well being, show them you care about theirs.

So …. do you suck? Feel free to comment.

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About mpace101


  1. 7 Comments

    As a former Customer Service Manager and a person who prides herself in providing good customer service, I can say that customer service sucks for several different reasons. One of the main reasons is that managers are not trained to manage customers, they are trained to manage employees and the business as a whole. If more companies trained their managers on how to manage their customers, meaning, how to keep them happy and find out what keeps them coming back, customer service would be much better off.

  2. 7 Comments
    Michael says:

    People suck, and they all want something for nothing. I am a customer service for Apple, and you would not believe some of the things I hear every day. My favorite is the woman who wanted Apple to pay for her broken iPhone screen, that she broke herself.

  3. 7 Comments

    Loved this article! More business leaders need to read this.

  4. 7 Comments

    “Identify what is critical to quality of your customers and overdeliver.”

    Great advice. You need to give your customers what they are looking for from your company, not what they are looking for from another brand.


      Thanks Joe. I am not a huge believer in competition following. Yes, keep track of what they are doing, but they shouldn’t be your target. Your customers are your target, and you need to keep your eyes on them.

  5. 7 Comments

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