The 10 Commandments of Customer Service

Customer service is the lifeblood of any business. If you get it wrong, you could find that your enterprise is heading down an unhealthy road. 

There are a handful of practices that you should have in place to keep the blood pumping through your business’s veins. Think of these as fundamental commandments that are non-negotiable. By doing so, your business will thrive and stay healthy. 

1. You shall listen

Customers ring you when they need support and help. Some of them are frustrated and a little angry. Let them vent their emotions while you actively listen to their complaints.

When they let out their emotional tirade, you need to sift the noise from the actual problem. Empathize with the customer.

Listen to the tone and the words they are using and anticipate what they will say next. That requires you to listen with awareness. 

Paraphrase what you have been told. That helps show the customer you have been listening and enables you to establish that you have understood the problem.

2. You shall proactively identify needs 

This requires you to look at your product or service from a fresh perspective. Can you spot any new problems or issues a customer may have? 

You can do this through focus groups. Another option is to look at your competitors and see what their customers are dissatisfied with. Are there issues that you share in common with your competition? Have you stumbled upon new problems?

Of course, you can’t anticipate every single issue. Yet, you’re enhancing your customer service by proactively looking for them.

3. You shall not get technical

You love your product, and so do your staff. You can sit there talking about it all day with technical jargon thrown in. After all, you know your stuff.

However, your customers may not be that well-versed in the language of your industry. When they ring with frustration, using terms they don’t understand will only confuse them and heighten their frustration.

Writers use the Hemingway app to ensure that their content meets a specific reading level (typically equivalent to a Grade 6 level at school). That’s because they want their audience to understand the material. 

Use the same approach with your customer service. 

4. You shall take your time

Imagine ringing a company to talk about a problem you have with their product. The customer service rep tries to rush you through the process. They are concerned about hitting a metric that shows how many phone calls they have answered for the day. 

At the end of the call, which only lasted several minutes, the rep insists they have helped you. You are left with a half-hearted solution and some doubt about whether it will work.

How would you feel after the call? Not that happy.

Why would you want to do that to your customers? 

Don’t treat customer service as something that has to be rushed. Help your customers without confining the support to a time frame. Take as long as it needs to resolve the issue truly.

Then your customers will know you care and stay committed to you. 

5. You shall apologize 

Elton John had a hit with “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.” It can be challenging to say, especially when you think you haven’t done anything wrong.

Yet, apologizing is a powerful tool in customer service. Just think back to when a business offered you profuse apologies for the trouble they caused, even if it was a minor problem.

What did you think about the company? Did you leave in a rage, or did your heart softens, and you forgive them?

Apologize to your customers, even when you think there is nothing to apologize. A customer had to take time out of their day to contact you. That’s an inconvenience you need to say “sorry” for. 

6. You shall appreciate your customers 

Without your customers, you don’t have a business. Let them know how much you appreciate them. 

Don’t save special treatment for only a select few. Have the same level of gratitude for new customers as you do for loyal ones.

It could be your sincere “thanks” that have made your customers stay with you. 

Make gratitude an integral aspect of your customer service. You always know that there is a possibility that customers could switch to a competitor, but they don’t. That’s something to thank them for. 

7. You shall get feedback 

Some people’s lives are devoted to striving for improvement. It is a constant desire for betterment at a personal level. It allows you to become a leader in your industry as a company. 

Yet, how can you improve if you aren’t aware of the issues you need to focus on? That is where feedback comes in. 

We all love to hear what we’re doing right. We aren’t so keen on hearing where we have screwed up. However, getting someone to honestly tell us what they think needs fixing is a huge step in improving your business.

Ask your customers what they find frustrating. Celebrate genuine complaints because they make you aware of things you might have overlooked.

Getting others to highlight the negatives allows you to remove your blind spots. 

8. You shall reply quickly

Have you ever called a company or sent them an email to find yourself playing the waiting game? The phone isn’t answered, or you don’t get a response back from your email until two or three weeks later. 

By then, it’s probably too late to soothe the irritation you’re feeling. 

Does the above scenario reflect your business? That’s a tricky question, but remember we touched upon feedback in the last section. 

Respond quickly to your customers’ inquiries and problems. 

If there will be a delay in replying, let them know. Tell them why there is a delay and how long it will take to get back to them. 

Apologize for the inconvenience and thank the customers for their patience and loyalty.

9. You shall have many channels

The internet is fantastic. It provides people with a range of options to reach out to you. But servers can crash. Technical issues, such as computer bugs, may arise that interrupt communication channels. 

That’s why you need more than one way for customers to contact you. If your phone system goes down, you still have email. If the email servers crash while trying to repair your phone system, social media is available. 

By providing an omnichannel approach to customer service, you have a plethora of options in which you can offer support. When one channel becomes unavailable, you have your backups. 

With all these options, you can respond quickly to your customer!  

10. You shall treat your customers like humans 

It can be easy to think of your customers as merely names in a database or a disembodied voice on the phone. 

If you don’t have face-to-face contact with them, you may consider that they are less than human. They are anonymous individuals. You have depersonalized them. 

But your customers are indeed real people. They have hopes, dreams, feelings, and emotions, just like you. Your product or service helps to fulfill these hopes and dreams. That’s why you created it. 

You identified the pain points people have, and your business addresses those. 

Customer service reps experience emotions when they talk to someone over the phone. It could be a customer that starts off angry and, through the skill of your customer service team, ends up very happy. 

If you fear that you may think your customers are not human, arrange a meet-up with them. It could be via a conference around your business or a webinar. Then you can see them face-to-face, physically or virtually. 

Now your customers become human. 

Your business will grow 

If you make the 10 commandments we listed the unwavering blueprint for your business, you will set yourself up for customer service success. 

When your customers receive top-notch support, they won’t be tempted to leave.

Don’t think that these commandments are only for your customer service department. They need to serve as standard practice in all departments within your business. 

Then you will find your business humming. 

Customer Service Tips That Work Like a Charm

Customer service is always an evolving part of your business. 

There are so many aspects to this seemingly all-encompassing facet of your company: CRM, sales, marketing, and customer support departments are involved in customer experience (UX), then there is content creation and offering multi-channel support. These are just a handful of areas in which you provide support for your customers.

Constantly, these facets need to transform. Consider them as fluid as you position yourself to deliver exceptional customer service. 

The face of customer service is always in a state of flux, driven by the high expectations of millennials. Deliver a poor UX, and it can cost you. A third of consumers will consider ditching you and going to your competitors after one instance of poor service and support. Get the delivery of your customer service right, and you can win. 70% of consumers will support a company that offers excellent support. 

Let’s show you eight ways to improve your customer service with that in mind. This isn’t just a theory; we give you steps on how to do it so that you charm your customers with an outstanding UX.

1. Contented employees

Hang on. This is about customers, so why bring up having employees who are content? Happy employees are more dedicated to you and your company. When your staff feels genuinely valued, they care, and this emotion is extended to your customers.  Employees who have no passion for the job. Staff who merely see their work as a way of getting a paycheck. These people won’t exhibit much warmth or concern toward your customers’ issues. 

Enhance your customer service by focusing on your employees’ happiness and well-being.

Work-life balance

Overworking your staff will lead only to burnout, stress, and a team of people who aren’t that committed to the job. Consider introducing flexible working hours. You can also allow your staff to work remotely if necessary. 

You can have team member “playtime” where your staff gets to relax and have fun. For example, provide an hour on Wednesdays where everyone gets to engage in some non-work-related activity.

Support upskilling

You may be surprised, but some people consider what they are doing isn’t simply a job. It’s a career path for them. 

Provide the resources and support to help your staff navigate that path and succeed. That builds loyalty and commitment to your business and its customers. 

Staff recognition

People naturally seek praise when they have done something good. This is an innate psychological trait we all have. 

Have a Team Member Of The Month board. Provide rewards for outstanding service. 

Let your staff in on the decision-making

This can be a hard one to do for individuals who struggle to relinquish control. However, giving the staff more freedom to make and influence decisions builds a sense of community. 

Everyone now has a stake in the progress and growth of the business.

2. Exhibit empathy

This can be the result of having a happy and dedicated staff. Staff that care can sincerely exhibit empathy. However, it is a skill that needs to be developed in some individuals (and, unfortunately, some individuals find it hard to show empathy). Make empathy one of the top characteristics when hiring customer service reps. Empathy towards your customers can go a long way towards retaining your current client base. 

Just think about how warm you felt inside when someone listened to your problem and empathized with you. That’s the feeling you want to invoke in your customers. Here are ways you can make that happen.

What if it was you?

Have your staff consider what it would be like if they had the issue, the customer is describing. 

You can do this through role-plays in training or reflecting on a real-life scenario. How do you feel if the person you talk to wouldn’t care less about your problem? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. 

Create empathic guidelines

Have a manual that teaches you how to respond with care and understanding to each customer situation. 

You can’t script every possible scenario, so this can be an ongoing project. You also don’t want your staff to sound like uncaring robots reading a script. 

Empathic communication

Train your team on active listening. You can carefully pick out the pain points of the situation from the “noise” (i.e., a customer venting their anger and frustration). 

Use positive language when responding and let the customer know that you completely understand their feelings. 

3. Dismantle the silos

Silos are fascinating creatures. They can self-form, seemingly without the effort of those confined within their borders. However, these are created by those who think their department is more important than the others. There is a reluctance to communicate inter-departmentally, and information sharing is minimal. This can affect customer service as you have clients repeat their problems several times to different people. Resolving the customer’s issue may be haphazard due to limited information being available to the respective staff member. 

HubSpot reports that 33% of consumers get frustrated having to explain a situation over and over again to different reps. So, get rid of the silos. 

Pull down the walls

If you have a small number of staff who work in cubicles, remove these partitions. Partitions create physical and psychological barriers. Make everything open-plan and share the office space. A communal area is more conducive to natural collaboration. 

There is no more stress or competition in the workplace. Your staff gets along better than ever, and your customers reap the rewards through improved support. 

Swap roles

Have your sales team work in marketing and vice versa. Heck, have finance work in customer support, and customer support can take their turn at crunching numbers. By encouraging and supporting inter-departmental personnel exchanges, everyone gets to understand one another’s roles. 

There is no more Ivory Tower building, and all the staff work as a holistic team. Your customer service will benefit from a quicker and higher-quality resolution of your end-users issues.

Move everything to the cloud

Do you find that some team members work with one software package for customer support, and others have something completely different? That can only lead to frustration as your team tries to reconcile different data types from incompatible computer programs. 

Streamline everything by ditching the old software and using cloud collaboration. That means everyone is on the same page, and they can access and update customer service records and reports.

4. Reduce the speed with which you provide customer service

Taking your time to deal with a customer’s problem may seem counterproductive, but hear us out. How much empathy (yeah, there it is again) do you show towards the customer if your main goal is to resolve an issue as quickly as possible?

Is one of your customer service metrics based on how many issues you have “successfully” fixed? That can mean your reps are only concerned about reaching targets. Your customers may feel that their problem hasn’t been fully addressed. That’s not an ideal situation for you.

Take your time with providing customer service.

Don’t rush through the phone call

You don’t have to spend forever talking to the customer, but you need to ensure that the phone call has successfully dealt with the initial problem. Ask follow-up questions about the issue. Use positive language and warmth in your voice. 

Schedule a follow-up if the issue can’t be fixed in the first phone call.

Make notes

The CRM should allow you to make detailed notes and assign a job number to the customer’s issue. Don’t make your messages so cryptic that they are undecipherable. 

Use as much detail as you can to explain the situation. That makes it easy for other reps to follow up on the task.

Follow up with a follow-up

When you see that an issue has been successfully sorted, contact the customer and see if they are delighted with the outcome. 

Let them know you will contact them again in a couple of weeks to check that they still have no ongoing issues. 

5. Express gratitude

Here is a little psychological experiment you can try: Think about how you feel when someone sincerely thanks you when you purchase something from them. Now, compare that with how you feel when you get a half-hearted expression of gratitude or, worse, when you receive no thanks. 

Which of the above shops would you go back to? Use that to guide your customer service.

Thank the customer in person

This doesn’t mean you go and shake their hand. After all, that is impossible if you have an e-commerce business. However, you can do the next best thing: enclose a gratitude card inside the package you send out. 

Ensure that you have the person’s name on the card (and that you spell it correctly). How warm and fuzzy do you feel when you get something like that?


People love to save money. To thank your customers (both new and existing ones), offer them a discount on their next purchase. Don’t make it seem like the offer is something generic. People are smart, and they can smell a fake from a mile away. 

Make it an exclusive deal. Something that lets your customers know how much they mean to you.

Do shout-outs

On your social media platforms, have a weekly shout-out festival. Thank all the fantastic customers who have purchased from you over the previous week. 

Make it a celebration, but make sure you mix up the festivities, as you don’t want this show of appreciation to become stale.

6. Offering self-help

Empowerment. That’s something we like to encourage in one another. You can help your customers help themselves by providing the tools to address their problems. Of course, you can assist in other means, but allow your end-users to try to fend for themselves. 

There are plenty of ways you can offer self-help to your customers.


With these, you provide the answers to the more common questions about your product or service. This site section needs constant revision and updating as you receive novel questions from your end-users. 


This is similar to the FAQs, but your customers are assisting one another through an online portal.

Don’t feel like you or your team can’t get involved in the forums. 

Product videos

Video has become one of the more popular channels on the internet. Take advantage of this by having a presence on YouTube or Vimeo. Provide detailed tutorials on how to use your product. Create a visual troubleshooting guide. Add new content to your channel as needed. 

You can provide your customers with the opportunity to upload their videos. This helps build loyalty to you and your brand. 

7. Update and revise your customer loyalty program

Look inside your billfold or purse and see how many loyalty cards you have. They are amazing wee things, and you feel so great when you get that stamp or mark that indicates you’re closer to getting a reward. From a customer service point of view, the keyword around these cards is “loyalty”.

Loyalty cards are an indirect way of saying “thank-you” to your customer for choosing to do business with you. You recognize their loyalty. Don’t take this as something frivolous. 

Enhance your customer loyalty program.  

Make it personal

When someone signs up for your loyalty program, have them provide you with their name rather than just issue a generic card. Put the customer’s name on the loyalty card, and then you can thank them personally by saying something like, “We really appreciate you doing business with us, Peter.” 

That makes the customer feel loved and valued. 


Have your existing customers act as your advocates when attracting new business. You can provide recognition by having a tier system of rewards. However, don’t have your customers feel like you are simply using them as tools to build your business. 

See them as pseudo-business associates and treat them as such. 

Go digital

This will require some work and some investment. Don’t think you have to build something from the ground up. Online platforms such as xoxoday, Giftbit, and Guusto provide everything you need to establish an amazing loyalty system.

You have to get creative and figure out ways to make an amazing loyalty program. 

8. Customer service from events

Along the buyer’s journey, there are plenty of touchpoints through which you can tie your customer service. The most obvious one is the abandoned cart. Use these touchpoints to trigger your customer support outreach. 


People can get distracted or busy and forget to complete an order with you. Send them a reminder that there is an abandoned cart that needs some care. 

Be creative with the copy, such as “Uh-oh. We have found a cart that still needs your love and attention.” 

Another idea is to send reminders for renewals of subscription-based services.

Delivery event

Whenever anyone buys something, they would love to know when they get the item. Delivery tracking helps immensely, but why not add some excitement to the process?

When your customer finally gets the item, you can turn it into an event celebrating the first day of a beautiful relationship between you and the item they purchased from you. Kind of like when you first get married or bring a child into this world. Such memories.


Have you ever bought something only to find that you need to return to the shop and buy additional items so you can enjoy your initial purchase? Frustrating, huh? That is an example of poor customer service. Don’t be afraid to cross-sell to your client base. You want them to be happy with your product and allow them to get the best use out of it. 

When you buy a cellphone, you will be offered a cover, a screen protector, and other items. That’s for your benefit as a consumer. 

Use this same mindset with your customer service. 

Enjoy providing amazing customer service

As consumers become pickier about who to do business with, you must get customer service right. Yet, once you get everything humming nicely around your customer support, don’t think it’s time to relax. Customer service always requires tweaking and fresh, innovative approaches. 

Drop the ball, and you may find that you are losing part of your customer base. Replacing those with new customers can cost 5–7 times more than it does to retain customers. 

Make sure that your customer service shines.

20 Least Favorite Customer Service Practices

There are parts of customer service that any staff member would love. Hitting the KPIs; customers that boast about how great your business is; successfully resolving a client’s problem. All these add up to a good day at the office.

It can be tempting to focus on the positives of customer service. But doing so can cause you to turn a blind eye to customer service practices that may be costing you money. Confusion over dealing with issues and a management team considered to be lacking in empathy can affect staff morale.

This is reflected in staff delivering subpar results and a lack of concern for your customers on the front line.

Here we will run you through what the customer service team considers the 20 least favorite aspects of the job. Use this information as a checklist of those practices you need to show more care and compassion towards. Doing so is happy, motivated employees who will go the extra mile to help your customers.

Customer service practices that cause your team to groan

This information is collated from the testimonies of customer service reps. Though the industries vary, the least favorite practices are standard across all the sectors. Take the following 20 issues as a heads-up.

How many of the following do you recognize within your business as an entrepreneur?

With each issue, we offer you advice on how you can deal with it.

1. Customers questioning your solution

You have put your team through rigorous training around issue resolution. However, there will still be times when customers doubt the solution they are provided.

The customer’s uncertainty could stem from a personal belief that they are talking with someone who isn’t qualified to help. After all, the customer service rep is seen to be someone who answers the phone. They aren’t a technician. What do sales reps know about the problem?

You can mention that your customer service team is highly-trained through your website or other channels. List all aspects of the training they go through (have a video if you want to show training sessions).

2. Angry customers

All businesses have their fair share of angry customers. There are many reasons why someone is ticked off and wants to take it out on the customer service staff.

It could be that they can’t log in to an account (if it’s a subscription-based service), their product has stopped working after only a couple of months, or the customer has had a bad day and wants to vent. Add your ideas to this list.

The best way to deal with angry customers is to remain calm and understanding. That can be hard to do if the staff take the abuse personally. Let the customer release their frustrations. When the customer service rep feels that the person has settled, proceed with the support.

If the staff is visibly upset during the phone call, then look at relieving the rep. Let them have the chance to recompose themselves without fear of consequences (e.g. the idea that their job is on the line).

3. Maintaining emotional stability

Customers can be upset. They are left either waiting or transferred to someone else at the start of the phone call and during the support process. Customer service personnel have to deal with the fall-out from these situations.

When one phone call is completed with a less-than-satisfied customer, the phone support staff must do an emotional reset. The negativity they have just experienced needs to be released and not imported into the next call.

That type of ability needs to be developed through psychological training. If you don’t have in-house resources for this kind of upskilling, look at getting external help.

4. Being understaffed

You have two people who comprise your customer service department. Now consider that you have hundreds of customers who need attention. Your customer service staff will get overwhelmed quickly.

Burnout will inevitably occur, and your prized employees will leave. This leads to a staffing crisis to deal with (and customers still wanting support).

If you think you don’t have the infrastructure in place to offer incredible customer service, then look into outsourcing. Outsourcing customer service allows for expansion. Outsourcing companies can increase and decrease staffing levels according to demand. Also, such companies have everything in place to provide exceptional customer support.

You will need to train the company on your product and brand voice. That way, your clients think they are dealing with you (rather than someone pretending to be you).

5. Overworked

Overworking can be a by-product of being understaffed.

Tired and stressed staff are going to lose motivation after a while. That will show how they deal with your customers (who are your business’s lifeblood). You will find that team member relations are also strained. That makes the working environment not so much fun to be in.

Blame shifting and resentment can crop up. These can cause bigger flareups within your enterprise.

To reduce the risk of overworking your staff, have meetings with the customer service team. More customers joining your brand equates to extra work for your current staff. Consider hiring extra hands to help out.

Is it possible to delegate the workload to other departments?

6. Pressed to meet quotas/key performance indicators

Everyone loves success. Targets and KPIs are a way of seeing if your ship is floating or needs repair.

Customer service is more than just ticking off numbers (such as new leads generated). The staff will resent the fact that they are being used simply as a means to an end.

If there is pressure to resolve a set number of issues per shift, then the quality of the solution will suffer. That is, the customer may feel that the resolution isn’t satisfactory.

Empathy towards your clients is pushed aside at the expense of meeting the numbers.

KPIs are important, but they shouldn’t have a negative vibe around them. Make sure that the quotas/targets are realistic. Don’t randomly introduce a KPI just because your competitors are doing it. Make the numbers relevant to your business and your team.

Get customer service input into how sensible the targets are. Reward the staff when they hit the numbers.

7. Failure to understand/solve the problem

Your phone support staff genuinely want to provide your customers with the best solution. This outcome can be hindered when the customer service rep can’t understand the customer’s issue. This lack of understanding leaves the staff member struggling to solve the problem.

Feelings of incompetence from and toward the representative emerge. You have a customer and someone on your team who feels frustrated.

Lack of training may lead to this type of scenario.

8. Lack of knowledge around new products or features

Upgrades, modifications, and new types of products and services are a fact of life. It can always be an exciting time as there is something new for you to crow about. You have listened to what your customers wanted and met their demands.

Yet, this is where the downfall can occur. If you have staff on your front line with little knowledge of your company’s fresh offerings, how can they provide the appropriate support?

This ties into the previous issue around failure to solve the problem. Your staff will be annoyed by the lack of knowledge they have. Your customers are equally upset because they want to have support around now to make the most of the new product or features.

Again, it can be a training issue.

9. Insufficient training

If your training is substandard, your customer service will reflect that.

Staff that feel unprepared to handle the job are already on the back foot. They are set up to fail, and that makes your business look incompetent.

This situation is easily remedied by offering comprehensive training in all aspects of customer service. Your training needs to include:

• Learning how to use the CRM correctly

• How to deal with dissatisfied customers

• Ways to do an emotional reset

• Upskilling on any upgrades or new products you have launched.

• Problem resolution and escalation

• What KPIs are relevant and how to achieve them

10. Language barriers

A language barrier is experienced when your business extends across international boundaries. If you have customers in India, yet your staff can’t speak Hindi, your support will fall flat.

Here is where outsourcing can come into play. Consider hiring native-speaking support staff in the countries you do business in.

Another language barrier that can crop up is when your staff uses technical language. Your customers may not understand what they are told. Keep your language simple and use layman’s terms.

11. Requests to be put through to the higher-ups

At times, customers demand to be put through to a manager or boss. That can make your customer service rep feel a little under the weather. After all, the staff member has tried their best to provide support.

However, the customer thinks that someone higher up the chain of command can only solve the issue. All you can do to minimize these situations is to have an escalation protocol in place. Something we’ll look at next.

12. There is no crisis management/escalation protocol in place

If you have no escalation protocol in place, your customer service team is left wondering how to move serious issues up the corporate line.

We touched upon how some customers insist on talking to management. Having standard crisis management and escalation procedures in place can save you a lot of grief and time. Imagine if, every time a client tells the staff that they want to speak with the boss, they are routed to you.

Your day is spent dealing with minor issues that your customer support team can handle. That’s not a productive way for you to run your business.

Have a system in place where the issues/problems are labeled according to the need for escalation. For example, low priority (something reps can handle); medium-low (the staff needs to consult with a manager); medium (a manager addresses the issue personally); medium-high (manager talks with the business owner); and high (the business owner takes care of the problem).

13. HR that undervalues the staff

The human resources department is there to support your team across all departments.

We mentioned the effect being understaffed and overworked can have on your employees. If HR treats the issues with an air of callousness, that can increase team member dissatisfaction.

Unhappy staff won’t care so much about your customers.

Ensure that your HR team exhibits genuine empathy towards all staff. There can’t be any bias shown toward members of your organization. Everyone needs to be treated with the same level of respect and dignity.

Keep tabs on any personnel issues where staff feel they aren’t getting support.

14. Management not listening

Frustration can run high when staff explain a situation to disinterested management. Managers are considered the go-to people when the lower-level team need help.

Existing stress levels will only increase if the higher-ups don’t listen to the complaints.

The solution is simple: Let your staff know that the management does listen.

Schedule regular gripe sessions in which staff can air their dirty laundry without fear.

15. Not having the right tools

Imagine if you went to a car mechanic and discovered he was using a knife instead of a screwdriver to deal with your car’s problem. If you went for surgery and found out the surgeon only had half the equipment required for your operation. Isn’t it terrifying?

So why would you send your customer service team out with the wrong tools? Or, at worst, little to no tools at all?

Do they know how to use the support software? Can they issue job tickets? Is the equipment they need available? Does your CRM cater to all aspects of your customer service?

Staff that don’t have the right tools will be exasperated, tired, and stressed. Sit down with your customer service team and determine what they need to get the job done.

16. Coming up against company policies and procedures

This can occur when management has little knowledge as to how customer service is affected by strict policies and procedures.

For example, your policy may be that each solution needs to be given the green light by management. That equates to putting customers on hold while staff wait for the “Okay” from their manager.

To resolve policies harming customer service, talk with the team. Analyze each policy and see if it has a detrimental effect on customer support.

17. Can’t offer solutions creatively

Being stifled by company protocol can kill creativity. Your customer service team can be irked by not being allowed to think outside of the box.

Maybe you have a telephone script because the issues that your customers experience have common solutions. Yet, if the customer has a novel problem, what options do the staff have? It could be that they escalate the issue. But what if the team has a eureka moment and knows how to fix the problem on the spot?

Giving your staff the flexibility to creatively offer solutions saves time (no need for escalations or call-backs). It also instils trust in the staff’s ability, which boosts self-confidence and esteem. And your customer has their problem sorted out. Happiness all around!

18. Transferring calls

Staff can become frustrated when they have to pass over a call that they are capable of dealing with. What if the next person in the chain has to transfer the call? How do you think the customer feel when they are caught up in a game of “phone tag”?

If your company has an issue with constantly transferring calls, look at why it’s occurring. Maybe it is staff following protocol. It could be that the initial staff member didn’t know how to resolve the problem.

19. Torn between competing departmental expectations

Picture yourself at work. Marketing, which has its ideas and concepts of customer service, tells you what KPIs to monitor. Now comes a person from Sales. They inform you that the metrics you have been paying attention to are wrong.

How would you feel when two departments are hammering you? All you want to do is your job as a customer service rep. But you sense you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

When the phone rings, you start to freak out. Are you to convert the caller into a lead (as per the Sales Department’s demands)? Or do you ask what channel caused them to make the call (Marketing)?

To prevent any undue stress on your customer sales team, have your departments on the same page. Sales and marketing need to agree on a core set of KPIs against which customer service is measured.

Then customer support knows what to aim for.

20. Customer service support is mismatched with the customer’s touchpoint

A customer rings, ready to make a purchase. However, they are treated with the initial sales dialogue that new customers get. Now you have someone on the phone who is confused and a staff member apologizing profusely.

What if that scenario happens several times a day in your workplace? You can’t help but think there is some incompetence happening. But, it’s neither the customer’s nor the staff’s fault. The issue is a systemic one.

The customer service rep doesn’t know where along the sales journey the customer is.

Your CRM needs to be constantly updated with information about the customer’s sales journey. Then the staff can understand at which touchpoint they are at.

Enhancing your customer service practices

With any job, there are pluses and minuses. Things that people love about what they do. Then some things result in a groan and a shaking of the head.

Staff will tell you that frustration lies mainly in a lack of training and poor management in customer service. Dealing with unhappy customers is another factor.

These aren’t issues that you should ignore. If you value the staff, then address the problems that cause them to feel annoyed. Please support them. Your customer service team is your front-line staff.

Value them. Listen to them.

By doing so, you will be boosting personal and interpersonal morale. You will have staff who will do their utmost to care for your customers.

That is what customer service is all about!

Customer Service: Expectations vs. Reality

It’s a familiar experience in the eCommerce industry; you get a horrible review for circumstances out of your control—or worse, you get a chargeback. Your customer leaves a negative review, talking about how their experience didn’t match their expectations and how it’s all your fault. Now, that negative review is out there for all to see. 

This is a retailer’s worst nightmare, and it’s something customer service teams are constantly working to avoid. 

As a brand good customer service is fundamental to your customer’s overall experience. Sometimes, though, your customer’s expectations of those services don’t match reality.

Here, we’ll talk about what causes this divide and how to manage (and meet) your customer’s expectations with the exemplary customer service best practices and internal processes.

Customer Expectations: The GAP

The customer experience is the overall perception your customers have of your brand. Your consumers build that perception over interactions with your company throughout their customer journey. This involves everything from initial awareness to the support services you offer after purchase.

The customer experience is also partially defined by their expectations of a brand and their level of satisfaction following their interaction with it.

Created by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry in 1985, the “GAP Model” helps companies understand customer expectations and satisfaction. Specifically, it helps find where the customer experience (CX) can break down and cause a divide between expectations and reality.

The CX Gap

There are five categories to the GAP Model. Each type analyzes a specific “gap” between the customer and the company, where a flaw in the system might exist.


Knowledge gaps can come about from a lack of front-facing customer services. This leads to a misunderstanding of the voice of the customer (VoC). Your VoC helps you understand your customers’ needs—without it, a knowledge gap happens.

This generally occurs when the brand is unaware of what their customer expects and wants from their interactions with the brand. When a business is out of touch with its consumer base, it creates a gap between how it thinks its customers perceive them and how the customer perceives them. That’s why prioritizing customer-facing services, collecting and analyzing data from customer communications, and conducting surveys are essential for meeting your customer’s expectations.


Several factors can cause disruptions in the communication between a brand and its intended audience. And one of the most common is misleading marketing and advertising. 

When a company projects a false idea of their product through marketing, they communicate ineffectively with their customer base. This can damage a brand’s credibility and image not just in the short term but also in the long term.


Sometimes, customers can misunderstand a brand’s product and service purchases policies. If a brand’s team cannot successfully outline and communicate all its policies to its customers—or if it cannot clarify when questioned—this causes a divide.

Make sure your policies are written clearly and are somewhere easily accessible. 


Customers build up expectations and perceptions of your brand by interacting with your marketing campaigns, social media, and third-party reviews. But when they have a poor experience around a transaction, this can cause a gap between that perception and their lived experience.

This experience surrounding the transaction includes the customer service provided by a company. Your customers expect excellent service from your brand from the get-go. So, when a customer has a bad interaction with your customer service department, this creates a negative perception.


Finally, your company sets expectations regarding its product quality and its delivery. When it fails to meet these expectations or cannot justify them, it also damages the customer’s view of the brand. So, you need to ensure that your lead times are accurate and that your product arrives when you say it will.

How Customer Service Defines the Customer Experience

Customer service is just one defining touchpoint in the overall customer experience. Yet, it remains a significant touchpoint and can cloud the rest of the CX. 

Your customers expect good service every time they interact with your brand, from discovery to sales to follow-on support, and falling short in just one area can negatively impact their overall perception of your company.

Customer service is largely reactive—the customer has to initiate the interaction, after which point the customer service team takes action. This interaction often occurs when a gap exists between customers’ expectations and their reality, such as a poor product experience. The consumer then engages with your customer service team to try to fix the problem.

Your customer service team ideally responds promptly and directly, providing a solution to the consumer’s problem or escalating the issue to someone who can handle it. By efficiently managing the issue at hand, they create a positive experience for the consumer. This positive experience then encourages customer loyalty and retention.

On the other hand, if customer service fails to respond satisfactorily—if they fail to address the consumer’s issue or do not entirely resolve it—that creates a negative experience. And roughly half of the customers leave a brand after a single poor experience.

But this process doesn’t have to be completely reactive. Suppose you understand your customers’ expectations and proactively communicate with them regarding things that could impact those expectations. In that case, you can get out in front of customer service issues before they arise.

5 Ways to Create a Positive Customer Service Experience

You can improve the overall customer service experience by providing quality customer service so their expectations match their reality. Here are some ways to improve your customer service delivery and improve customer satisfaction.

1. Understand your customer & Fill the knowledge gap 

The simplest way to understand your customer is by interacting with them. Thankfully, there are more tools and means to engage with your buyers today than there were just ten years ago. You can do this with different tools like:

  • Surveys & NPS scores 
  • Exit surveys for bounced customers
  • Tools that record customer behaviors on your site
  • Reviews or having text and sentiment analytics
  • Ensuring your CS teams share customer data with all departments
  • Tracking and using call metrics

All of the above gives you insight into what customers actually do (vs what you THINK their behaviors or issues are). Once you know that, the next step is…

2. Fix problems before they’re an issue

Are people bouncing off your checkout page? Maybe your payment info requirements are too long, and no one has that kind of patience. To solve it, you can remove unnecessary steps to reduce cart abandonment. One study showed that the fewer form fields you require at checkout, the higher your conversion rates will be.

When you eliminate sales barriers and simplify them, you improve the customer experience drastically. Of course, incidents happen (especially with recent supply chain issues). So, you need to be on the ball if problems arise, which brings us to the next point.

3. Communicate about any issues immediately

The sooner you communicate—the better. Whether it’s delayed shipping, service outages, or other fulfilment issues, you want to be proactive and tell them first. Don’t let them come to you and complain about it after the fact. It would be best if you managed their expectations before they take to social media and announce their experience to the world. 

4. Train your CS team well 

Finally, you need to ensure your team is competent and can deliver on what you set out to do. If you’re promising to get the order in their hands in 3 days—your team needs to be doing their best to meet those lead times. 

And if they’re not, you need to find out why.

You need to ensure they know what customers want and how to deliver that. If they’re not meeting those customer expectations, it’s likely a more significant issue that you need to address with more training and team member development. 

5. Don’t forget the follow-up

Finally, a considerable gap that too many brands fail to consider is the follow-up. Don’t just deliver the product and forget about them. You need to go above and beyond to foster customer loyalty and build up your brand reputation. 

You can do this in tons of ways, like through:

  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Asking for referrals or reviews
  • Inviting them to a private group for early access to deals
  • Sending personalized thank you cards or messages
  • Other gestures of appreciation 

Take Zappos, the shoe company, as an example. One customer was looking to return pairs of shoes that the customer said didn’t work for her due to a recent medical treatment. That CS team accepted the return and decided to mail the customer a bouquet of flowers. Naturally, the gesture went viral around the world. 

Remember: You don’t want just to manage expectations; you want to exceed them.

Improving the CX for Happy Customers

Customer service is just one aspect of the entire customer experience, but it’s significant. The end goal of any eCommerce store is to create consistently positive interactions with every customer by understanding, meeting, and ideally exceeding their expectations.

Who Really Uses Customer Services?

Customer service! To many, this term conjures up images of helpful staff giving advice and support. Yet, who really uses customer service? 

To answer that question, we may as well ask: Who really uses air to breathe? 

You will say, Everyone! The same case applies to customer service. We all use it every day, and it comes in different forms and flavors. Whether you call a support center or send an email to customer care, you are a customer who is using a service. 

Let’s delve in closer and look at how a customer is defined, what customer services are available, and why you need to make yours top-notch. 

Who is a customer?

Go into a shop and buy something. You are a customer! The same applies when using a service such as Netflix, Spotify, or your gas and power. You are the respective company’s customer. 

So a customer can be defined as the end-user of a product or service. 

It can be tempting to fall into the corporate trap of labeling internal departments as “customers” of another department. For example, sales may require support from finance. So one can say that the team in sales are the “customers” of the folk in finance. 

However, in a more purist form of the term, customers are the people that are buying your goods and services.

To keep these people happy requires excellent customer service. 

Ways to provide customer service 

Customer service comes in a wide range of flavors. It’s like going into Baskin-Robbins and deciding which ice cream you want. There are so many options to choose from. 

1. Walk-in service departments

In the good old days, people would go into a shop before online shopping became a thing. You still have that option to some degree nowadays. However, something has changed in this digital age. 

If you had an issue or need help with your purchase, you could pop into your store and head to the customer service counter. The staff there would give you the support you need. 

As companies opt for online support, these walk-in service departments are becoming harder to find. That doesn’t mean you can’t offer such a service. Having face-to-face contact lets your customers experience a more personal touch than they would over the internet. 

The downside to providing a dedicated customer service desk is that it can be costly. 

Also, it can come across as something old-fashioned. Sure walk-in customer service counters were significant in the 20th century. But we have moved on and progressed with our style of customer care.

2. Phone support

Believe it or not, some people prefer to ring your company for support. They get to talk to a natural person who can empathize with the issue. 

When it comes to complex problems, 40% of customers want to talk to someone over the phone. 

The negative with this type of customer service is that staff can only deal with one call at a time. Multiple calls mean wait times. If your customer’s time on hold is excessive, get ready to deal with the fallout.

3. Live chat  

Have an issue and live in a different time zone than where the business is based? No problem, you have a live chat. There are people ready to help you. 

Sadly, you will find some companies where the live chat is “closed” due to it being the weekend. Or it may be “out of hours.” Such situations can be seen as a violation of what Live Chat is all about. 

You can use the chat as an opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell. It also still offers a personal chat. The customer gets to talk one-on-one with someone. 

4. Chatbots

Chatbots are clever pieces of technology that answer your customers’ queries automatically. 

According to Microsoft’s 2017 report on customer service, it was found that 30% of consumers find chatbots extremely effective at dealing with customer problems.

Unlike the Live Chat and phone options, chatbots are available 24/7. So they can take care of your customers while your team is having a day off. 

Additionally, you can enhance the knowledge base of your chatbot to provide answers to new questions. 

However, chatbots are still robots and show little empathy towards your customer. So, the personal touch is gone. That may mean that your customer is gone as well. Not an ideal outcome. 

5. Self-service  

Empower your customers by giving them the tools and means to resolve the issues themselves. 

This can be through the chatbots we mentioned in the last section. Alternatively, you can offer FAQs, online courses, and tutorials. 

This style of support can be multilingual if you have international customers. A handy option if your staff can’t speak your client’s native language. 

Yet, the job of constantly providing support information on your site can become overwhelming. 

If you hire outside writers to take care of the content, you need to train them in your voice and tone to ensure consistency across your channels. 

6. Email support

Providing a way to contact you via email allows your customers to explain their issues clearly.

Additionally, they can attach photos or videos as evidence of their issues. Then you can diagnose the situation and provide a solution. 

Email support also lets you assign a ticket to the problem. That allows you to keep track of the conversation until it’s resolved. 

Yet, the response time to an email can be an issue. Do you have staff whose sole responsibility is to reply to emails? If you are receiving hundreds of emails a day, you risk missing some. That can result in a customer feeling neglected. 

Deciding what type of customer service to offer

This world has become more digitally connected. So it shouldn’t be surprising that more customers prefer to reach out for help via digital channels. 

Figuring out which customer service channels you should offer comes down to what your customers want. 

On top of that, you have to consider what is financially viable for you to provide. Also, do you have the staff and resources available? It is crucial that you get customer service correct.

Reach out to your current client base and ask them what customer services they use the most. Is there a support channel that you currently aren’t providing yet your customers would love? 

Omnichannel support 

Offering customer service through a range of channels helps with customer retention and increases your revenue. 

Businesses that offer this type of support have experienced a 10% year-on-year increase in their revenue.

When you offer different access points for customer service, you are a step closer to having loyal fans. Give your customers a seamless, user-friendly experience. 

Make these service portals mobile-friendly. More and more people are accessing the web from their smartphones and tablets. 

What makes for excellent customer service?

Think about the last time you had mediocre customer service. Now contrast that with the time you received fantastic service. 

That is the litmus test for what you should and shouldn’t be doing. 

Excellent customer service encompasses several areas. People want to be acknowledged as soon as possible. The quicker you respond to your customer, the better.

Show empathy toward the customer’s issue. Work towards a positive resolution. 

Check to see if the customer is happy with the outcome. If not, apologize and find a way in which the problem can be examined further. 

Industry application examples of customer service

Let’s run you through how different industries use customer service to enhance UX.


The financial industry can be relatively slow at adopting new approaches to anything. However, with the birth of the digital era, there has been a shift to online finance options.

Just think of companies like PayPal, Venmo, and Coinbase. They all come under the Fintech umbrella. 

Coinbase provides an online inquiry form, phone support, a blog, and a way to contact them through Twitter. 

With PayPal, you can reach out to their online community for help. Also, they have a “self-help” area where you can find solutions to common issues. The company also allows you to message them or give them a phone call. 


When one thinks of e-commerce immediately, Amazon comes to mind. This online retail has become a behemoth in the world of e-commerce. 

Yet, we also have Alibaba, Walmart, and even the freelancing site Upwork being clustered under the E-commerce category. 

The services offered by these companies are varied. 

Walmart offers customers a self-help section that provides information regarding Account and Billing issues, tracking of your order, other information around your purchases, and a lot more. 

You also have the opportunity to get chatbot support.

Amazon offers a range of customer services. You can browse their help files or reach out to the online community. 

Need further assistance from Amazon? They provide online chat, phone support, or send through email. 

In conclusion

Have you ever bought a product or subscribed to a service, then contacted the company for support? 

If so, you would have used customer service.

Get this core component of your business wrong, and it can hurt you through negative feedback.

Customers are getting more demanding nowadays. You need to be able to respond to their concerns in a quick and empathetic manner. 

Using an omnichannel approach to customer service allows your clients to contact you in a way they feel most comfortable with. 

Everyone uses customer support! Make the experience an incredible one and watch your business thrive.