5 Customer Service Mistakes That Are Costing You Money (and How to Fix Them)

Did you know that a whopping 89% of consumers* would switch to a competitor after just one bad customer service experience?  That’s a shocking statistic, especially considering that providing excellent customer service is often more cost-effective than acquiring new customers even if you have modern tools like digital business cards and CRMs. 

Let’s explore five common customer service mistakes that can damage your bottom line and provide actionable steps to fix them.

Mistake #1:  Putting Customers on Hold Forever

There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than being stuck on hold and listening to elevator music for what feels like an eternity. Long wait times not only damage customer satisfaction but also cost you money. Think about it: while a customer is on hold, they cannot make a purchase or use your service.

The Fix:

  • Hire adequate Staff: Ensure you have enough customer service representatives (CSRs) on hand to handle the call volume during peak hours.
  • Implement Call-Back Systems: Offer customers the option to receive a callback when their turn comes up in the queue. This frees them up to go about their day while still getting the help they need. Also, share your digital business card so that they can get a timely response from your team using the contact details on the card. 
  • Set Realistic Hold Time Expectations: Be upfront with customers about expected wait times. Transparency builds trust and reduces frustration.

Mistake #2:  Treating Customers Like Numbers, Not People

Personalization is the secret to growing your business to its full potential in today’s competitive landscape.  Customers don’t want to feel like they’re just another number in a queue. They want to feel valued and understood.

The Fix:

  • Empower CSRs: Give your CSRs the autonomy to make decisions and resolve issues without layers of bureaucracy.
  • Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: These systems allow you to track customer interactions and preferences, enabling CSRs to personalize their approach and messaging. 
  • Use Customer Names: A simple act like using a customer’s name shows you care and pay attention to their needs. You know them personally and consider them as necessary to your business. 

Mistake #3:  Failing to Empower Your Customer Service Team

Your CSRs are the frontline of your customer service operation. If they feel under-trained, unsupported, or undervalued, this will inevitably translate to poor customer interactions.

The Fix:

  • Invest in Training: Provide CSRs comprehensive training on your products, services, and best customer service practices.
  • Offer Ongoing Coaching: Regularly coach and mentor your CSRs to help them hone their skills and address any challenges they face.
  • Empowerment and Recognition: Give your CSRs the authority to resolve issues and recognize them for exceeding customer expectations.

Mistake #4:  Making it Difficult for Customers to Get Help

Imagine a customer with a burning question – but your website offers no clear way to contact customer service.  This is a recipe for frustration and lost business.

The Fix:

  • Multiple Contact Channels: Give customers various ways to reach you, such as phone, email, live chat, and social media.
  • Easy-to-Find Contact Information: Ensure your contact information is prominently displayed on your website and marketing materials.
  • Self-Service Options: Offer a robust FAQ section, knowledge base, or online troubleshooting guide to empower customers to find solutions independently.

Mistake #5:  Failing to Follow Up

The customer service experience doesn’t end after the issue is resolved.  Following up demonstrates that you care about them getting maximum value for money. It will also help you build lasting professional relationships that will eventually help grow your business. 

The Fix:

  • Post-Interaction Surveys: Send brief surveys to customers after their interaction to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement.
  • Thank You Notes: A simple thank you note for their business or patience goes a long way in fostering positive customer sentiment.
  • Proactive Outreach: For complex issues, contact customers proactively to update them on the progress of their cases.


By avoiding these five common customer service mistakes and implementing the suggested solutions, you will significantly improve customer satisfaction, reduce customer churn, and ultimately boost your bottom line. Good luck!