Training for Customer Service , Leadership & Workplace Culture
in Canada | USA | Asia | Europe

Outstanding Customer Service

The Outstanding Customer Service Blog

Your ultimate guide to Outstanding Customer Experience

The 24 Most Common Customer Service Mistakes

What are the most common customer service mistakes made by CSRs, Sales Associates and Customer Experience Professionals?  The Belding Group asked the members of Customer Service Champions, LinkedIn’s 2nd largest customer service group.

200 people responded in the first week, and the results were categorized into 24 categories.  They clearly knew their stuff, because it read like a recipe for a customer service training manual.  What is interesting is that, with so many people having this tremendous insight into what it takes to create outstanding customer experiences, why does it sometimes seem to be the exception rather than the rule?

Their comments provided some insight into that as well.  Large volumes and time constraints were mentioned frequently by people in contact centres.  Lack of leadership came up more than a few times.  And many identified overly-restrictive company policies that didn’t allow customer-facing employees to take ownership, or give them the empowerment to resolve issues.  This is a list that every company should take a look at when working to improve their customer-focused culture.  It points to the need for revisiting policies and practices, providing greater coaching support, customer service training, and customer-focused leadership.

Here are the Top 5 Most Common Customer Service Mistakes.

Follow this link to view the full list.

1. Not Listening

Either not paying attention, not giving customers’ 100% attention, or not using active listening techniques.   This was by far the most mentioned failure, representing 18.3% of comments.

2. Absence of Empathy, Compassion or Apologies

12.5% of comments identified these as the most common customer service mistakes.  Many of the comments pointed out that, when we have empathy with our customers, they are often far more understanding and less likely to escalate issues.

3. Absence of Ownership

11.7% of comments identified customer service people not taking ownership over issues as a significant factor. This included inconsistent messaging, not going beyond basic policies, and not being willing to adapt to unique circumstances.  This, as the research shows, is the critical element to creating WOW customer experiences.

4. Not Following through, Being Responsive or Delivering on Promises

When we don’t respond in a timely or appropriate manner, of if we make promises that aren’t kept, it can quickly turn small customer service issues into Big Problems. 10.9% of comments.

5. Making Assumptions

10% of comments cited ‘making assumptions’ as a common mistake that leads to poor customer experiences.  This included not being respectful enough to find out what the customer is thinking, or what he or she really wants.


Search by Category

Internal Customer Service Training

Internal customer service training

Outstanding Training Courses that will:


  • Employee engagement, enjoyment and retention
  • Collaboration, team alignment, workflow and efficiency


  • Communication errors
  • Workplace stress
  • Workplace conflict
  • Employee turnover

Learn more about Belding Training’s globally-acclaimed Internal Customer Service training