Customer Service Mistakes That Kill Customer Trust
Trust is the backbone of relationships—and that doesn’t just mean interpersonal ones. Unfortunately, today’s businesses are having a difficult time building and maintaining trust amongst customers.
According to the Havas Group’s 2021 Meaningful Brands Report, cynicism about brands’ intentions is at an all-time high. Less than half (47%) of brands are viewed as trustworthy by consumers, and 71% of respondents say they have little faith that any brand will deliver on its promises.
While these numbers may seem bleak to companies looking to build loyalty, they can be seen as an opportunity for improvement. They’re a call to do better for customers, and companies can start by addressing these common mistakes:
1. Addressing all customers in the same way.
Personalization is critical in today’s market — and not just because consumers are used to it. The fact is that familiarity fosters trust. While customers understand that they won’t always be talking to the same representative when they need help, companies can take steps to make the process feel more individualized. Things like offering service in multiple languages or via different channels can be a good step toward personalizing your experience.
For companies that want to go above and beyond, modern customer experience (CX) tools can help representatives track customers’ journeys from initiation to the present. This allows representatives to enter each interaction from a place of knowledge about the customer’s account history, open orders, or their previous requests and needs. It can help representatives anticipate needs and find solutions that align with the customer’s unique situation.
All of these efforts can foster a connection between companies and customers even when the representatives differ from call to call (or chat, email, etc.). That feeling of connection reassures customers that the company cares about their experience and preferences.
2. Failing to communicate.
Burying the real reason for delays or issues is a surefire way to alienate customers. Efforts to obscure the truth or sugarcoat a bad situation will only breed more discontent. Clarity and transparency are paramount to building trust, and customer service teams should embrace proactivity when communicating with customers.
If staffing issues or supply chain delays lead to subpar services, representatives should be empowered to share that information. Customers should leave every interaction with a clear understanding of what’s happening, how long it will take to resolve their issue, and what they can expect to happen next.
3. Relying too heavily on hierarchies.
Outlining hierarchies among service employees can be tempting as companies seek to tightly control the customer experience. However, limiting employees’ ability to make decisions that can help customers negatively affects the relationship.
Customers experiencing issues don’t want to wait around while their customer service representative seeks permission from a manager or elevates their inquiry to someone else. They want to know that their issue is being taken seriously and that the company trusts its representatives to fix the problem — without getting permission. CX leaders should consider this fact when devising service paths and consider enabling representatives to achieve faster resolutions.
4. Mishandling data.
Using data wisely—as the above bullet explores—can significantly benefit brands’ CX efforts. But companies that leverage data must adopt robust data privacy standards or risk their program backfiring. Cheetah Digital’s 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index found that the importance of knowing data is being treated with respect has grown by 71% since 2021, and it shows no sign of slowing.
Companies that rely on data to inform their CX initiatives must design those programs carefully, outlining clear plans for using the data they collect and communicating those plans to customers. The information they collect should be relevant to the services or products the business provides and have a clear connection to the interactions they may have with a customer. When companies deviate from these standards, distrust among users grows.
If any of the above rings true to a business, all is not lost. Regardless of any blunders that may have happened in the past, every day is a new opportunity for brands to build trust among customers. For brands that are really struggling, seeking out an experienced partner, like Majorel, with expertise in building loyalty and designing top-of-the-line CX might offer insights into how to begin.
Regardless of the approach a business takes, leaders must remember that building trust takes time. Even if a company gets it wrong once in a while, simply making an effort to do better by addressing areas of opportunity will put it on the path to rebuilding trust between representatives and customers.