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42 Ways to Deliver Bad Customer Service

Daniel Foppen
August 22, 2018

5 minute read

The world is full of great advice on how to deliver an outstanding customer experience, but what if you don’t want to deliver a great CX? What if your goal is to deliver bad customer service?

Based on our observations of some of the best and worst CX practices, my friends and I in the Oracle CX Sales and Service Cloud team complied a detailed list of 42 ways to deliver bad customer service. Read them below or watch our video.

Tip 1: Set up your systems so that your customer service agents have to use at least 15 different applications every day to do their job. The more the better!

Tip 2: Make your sales reps and your service reps use totally different systems so neither has a full picture of what’s going on with any given account.

42 Ways to Deliver Bad Customer Service

Tip 3: Make sure you give your customer a 12-hour window for the field technician to arrive so that the customer has to wait all day.

Tip 4: Make all questions that aren’t a “one and done” go to the contact center. Don’t allow follow up questions.

Tip 5: Do not empower your agents to sell anything while they’re on the phone. They’re just a cost center, right?

Tip 6: Make sure you have multiple answers to the same question in multiple places, so your customers are completely confused and need to call and talk to someone.

Tip 7: Hide the support or contact us links really well on your website to make it as hard as possible to contact you.

Tip 8: Do not give your agents insight into earlier conversations that the customer may have had in other channels.

Tip 9: Make your sales reps spend all their time working in the sales application instead of automatically connecting it to the tools where they’re most productive, like Outlook.

Tip 10: Never provide your customer with any notifications or updates regarding when the field technician will arrive. That way, there is a very good chance your customer will miss the technician’s arrival.

Tip 11: Make all decisions go to a manager, tier 2, or tier 3 person for approval. Don’t use digital channels to automate decisions!

Tip 12: Don’t trust your agents to do the best thing for the customer. Force them into super-rigid processes to avoid “bad behavior”.

Tip 13. Post 100+ page PDFs on your support page and tell the customer, “The answer is somewhere in this PDF.”

Tip 14: Give your sales reps, service reps, and customers completely different knowledge content so answers are never consistent through the customer journey.

Tip 15: If you’re forced to add a FAQ section to your website, update it only once a year.

Tip 16: Speaking of FAQs – the fewer the better. Only post the top 10 to your product website. No one wants to know any more than that.

Tip 17: Remember, your sales reps can totally find opportunities to upsell and cross-sell into accounts without having any visibility whatsoever into what their colleagues have sold there. They just have to use their mutant psychic abilities. Easy.

42 Ways to Deliver Bad Customer Service

Tip 18: Be sure to give the field technician a lot of paper forms so it takes them an extra long time to complete a job.

Tip 19: Don’t provide an explanation of your customer service decisions. Leave the customer in doubt and frustrated so they never contact you again!

Tip 20: Whatever you do, do not give your sales teams any insight whatsoever into customer service activity of their accounts. That’s not their job.

Tip 21: Require your reps to search in multiple locations/repositories or websites to find answers.

Tip 22: Bombard your web visitors with annoying chat pop-ups for sales only. In no case should you send these chats to your service team.

42 Ways to Deliver Bad Customer Service

Tip 23: Make sure to keep those ancient policies that prevent your agents from working at home. They love commuting to the office every day!

Tip 24: Sales reps don’t need access to their applications from a mobile device – it’s not like they’re always on-the-go!

Tip 25: Provide field technicians with a mobile app that only works on a 10-year-old device.

Tip 26: Ask your agents to memorize all the rules, policies, and compliance texts for your business. This will guarantee work overload, long training classes, unhappy agents, and turnover.

Tip 27: When designing your sales strategy, only focus on sales as an independent silo in the organization. Do not consider any other touchpoints your customers may have with your business.

Tip 28: Use a lot of text and no images or video when describing “how to” steps.

Tip 29: Don’t offer web-based customer service channels. Just offer a phone number with only East or West Coast work hours.

Tip 30: Keep ‘Average Handling Time’ as your principal key performance indicator so that agents want to wrap up the call ASAP or even hang up to meet their KPI targets.

Tip 31: You have a ton of data about your customers – make your sales and service reps sift through it manually when they’re talking to a customer instead of automatically displaying the most relevant information. Also, duplicate data while at the same time making it inconsistent.

Tip 32: Give your field technicians a mobile app with very limited functionality that doesn’t do what they need, so they spend most of their time outside of the app trying to find answers.

Tip 33: Clutter your customer service agents’ desktops with hundreds of fields and drop-downs so they focus all their attention on systems and not on the customer.

Tip 34: Make all your decisions inconsistent by channel for the same person. There is nothing better than giving different advice to the same question.

Tip 35: With email, do not send a receipt notification and do not set expectations for when the customer can expect a reply. Customers love waiting in uncertainty!

42 Ways to Deliver Bad Customer Service

Tip 36: Customers love going in circles in your IVR system. Make it as difficult as possible!

Tip 37: Your customers only want to do business the old way, forever, so don’t invest in modern sales channels like screen sharing or video conferencing. Millennials especially love face-to-face meetings and phone calls!

Tip 38: Always provide your customers with a terrible field service experience so that they look for service elsewhere.

Tip 39: When/if you have a product malfunction or service issue, wait a few weeks before posting a notice, answer, or solution on your website.

Tip 40: You don’t need a mobile-ready support site. Make it super difficult to navigate around the site with pinching and zooming. Who uses their phone to browse websites, anyway?

Tip 41: Find that ideal balance for your sales reps so they’re spending most of the day inputting data into the sales application, maybe an hour or two bringing value to your customers, and the rest banging their heads in frustration.

Tip 42: Your field technician should leave a mess for the customer to clean up after.

Recognize some of these practices in your organization? It’s time to start fixing them.

See where your CX stands today with a 2-minute assessment.

Daniel Foppen
Daniel Foppen is the Chief Contact Center Awesomeness Ambassador in the Oracle CX Cloud Outbound Product Management team. He is also a grill-meister, hiker, guitarist, geek, music aficionado, agitator, cinematographer, snowboarder, Dutch guy, and daddy of two super cute girls.
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