We’ve all seen the signs of bad customer service. Those are easy to spot. Rude staff, bad manners, forgotten orders. But what about the more passive instances that might not be obvious to everyone, but soon snowball into a full-fledged affront to the customers you profess to care so deeply about?

The little things add up. Have you ever been to a restaurant that was so cold you have to bring a sweater? In this example of a customer service “micro-aggression,” the employees set that temperature for their own comfort, not yours.

What about your call center, which is the lifeblood of your business? In the call center world, we refer to customer experience (CX), which is the process through which people deal with your business.

Here are some of the signs that your CX might not be customer-centric:

1. You’re restricting communication to phone-only.

If you’re doing this, you’re missing out on a whole new generation of users who utilize text-based communications such as SMS (text messaging), webchat, and social media messaging. If a customer cannot text you, they’ll text your competitor. DiRAD’s Interactive Voice Response System has mass notification and custom outbound alerts via voice, SMS, and email to ensure any user feels comfortable communicating with you.

2. Your business hours are the only times that customers can contact you.

While you might not be able to staff 24/7, you can add tools like chatbots and automated texting so that the customer might find answers that way. The same text-based generation listed in (1) above would appreciate this functionality. Imagine being able to change an appointment without having to wait until the next day to speak with someone.

3. Too many messages play before a customer can speak with someone.

  • “Thank you for calling That Credit Bureau!
  •  If you are calling to check your score, press 1.
  • If you are calling to report suspicious activity, press 2. (PRESSES 2)
  • If you are reporting suspected fraudulent activity, press 1.
  • If you are reporting suspicious new accounts, press 2.
  • If you are reporting suspicious activity on current accounts, press 3. (PRESSES 3 ANGRILY)
  •  To report suspicious activity on a current account please go to our website – returning to the main menu!” (HANGS UP DISAPPOINTED)

We’re all familiar with this, but here’s why it happens: businesses want to slow down the pace of transfers to customer service agents, thereby reducing the burden on (and need for more) agents and reducing time in the queue. This isn’t to improve CX, it’s to improve the statistics — leading upper management to believe things are OK in the call center. It also masks the fact that this call center is likely running understaffed.

4. “Your call is very important to us”.

Is it really, though? While this is often unavoidable, come up with something more creative at least. Offer the caller the option to hold their position for them, and you’ll call them back when an agent is ready. Don’t run so understaffed that you have to keep people on hold long enough to hear this message repeat multiple times. By the third time they’ve heard it, they have stopped believing you care about their call and it rings untrue.

The above are examples of poor customer service that might not be obvious to you, but they quietly point out to customers that they might not be the most important person in the room. Customers are much more perceptive than we think, and it’s time to acknowledge this and do better before further damage is done.

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