8 Examples of Bad Customer Service – And Tips to Avoid Them

Bad customer service

Customer care is one of the crucial tools for maintaining a good relationship with existing and potential customers.

It can also be instrumental in breaking your relationship with customers. This should be common understanding – and yet, bad customer service is not uncommon.

Some common mistakes by the customer care representatives can trigger your customers, cause them to stop doing business with you, and even share negative feedback about the company with others.

Companies have lost billions because of erroneous interactions. 

Today, we will discuss some bad customer service examples and share tips on avoiding them.  

A. What is bad customer service?

A straightforward way to define bad customer service would be when the company’s contact center fails to provide proper support or information expected by their existing or potential customers.

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But that’s not all. Other factors also contribute to the overall experience of the customer.

Customers have certain expectations from the company in terms of support quality, the responsiveness of the relationship manager, empathy and behavior of the executive, etc.

It is not enough to just respond to queries or solve problems. Agents need to deliver these at the highest standards. 

As a consequence of poor customer service, dissatisfied customers can switch to competitors.

bad customer service

This can start as early as the first disappointing interaction. Loyalty from customers doesn’t come easily – especially during and after the pandemic when people are online more often and often on edge. 

B. 8 examples of poor customer service – and how to fix it     

Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes that customer care agents often make. 

1. Difficult to reach customer care agents

Customers hate it when they desperately try to reach out to you, but they end up talking to your chatbots.

Or they might have one-sided conversations via email.

Don’t expect chatbots on the app, website, or social media to solve all customer problems.

Instead, give your customers an easy option to talk to a human. 

Poor customer service affecting business


It is essential to ensure that a team of empathetic agents with solutions is easy to reach. You must ensure that they are well-trained in handling customers.

They should also be equipped with tools to provide customer support smoothly and record responses for better market insight.

2. Long wait time

Keeping your customers on hold for a ridiculously long time is a surefire way to lose them.

Customers expect quick responses, and a long wait time can try the patience of even upbeat customers, let alone those who are already frustrated and angry.  

customer - Long wait time


Reduce queue time and respond faster using advanced tools.

Focus on managing and improving the process.

Use tools like automated workflow routing, sending tickets to the right agents, auto-responses with information about wait time, etc., and responding to priority customers faster. 

The key metric that one should optimize here is the Average Handle Time. 

3. Requesting customers to repeat their query

Repeatedly asking for the same information, like personal details or the problem or query with which they have contacted, is an example of bad customer service and this reduces call center efficiency.

This makes the customer impatient and makes them feel that their concerns and time are not valued.  

Irritated customer repeatedly answering same question


Ensure that the agent is equipped with the right tool to record all information given by a customer reaching your contact center for the first time. It should also let agents access customer information quickly. Agents should be in front of the screen and scan all the customer data.   

4. Repeated call transfers

One of the major turn-offs for customers is to get the call transferred from one agent to the other.

This increases the time to solve the problem and shows that the agents don’t have a solution.

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Plus, the customer may be required to repeat their problems. 


Agents receiving calls should be well trained with the basic answers.

They must also know whom to transfer the call to in case of specialized solutions.

A series of prompts in the first call (also called first call resolution) should help agents understand the exact issue and immediately direct the customer to the right agent.

5. Lack of empathy

Making the customers realize that their problems are not being heard or understood can be a huge mistake.

When customers are already agitated, they need to feel that the person on the other side of the call is making a genuine effort to feel their pain points to avoid customer churn.  


Lack of empathy in customer service


Agents must engage and be emotionally responsive.

Metrics help measure your agent’s ability to convey these.

Empathy statements can go a long way in showing that the agents care, but they must be implemented in their own language to avoid sounding fake.

READ ABOUT: Conversation intelligence software

6. Using negative language  

Agents often have the tendency to use a negative stance, which can give customers one of their worst experiences.

Customers expect agents to solve all their problems, and the no-can-do attitude of agents hampers their confidence in your company.


Remember that an agent may not have all answers – but they can make up for it by taking the initiative to find a solution.

They must replace pessimistic words with optimistic promises and tone.

Don’t forget to monitor and evaluate the customer care agents’ go-getter attitude. 

7. Rude Behavior

Rude behavior from contact center agents is not just abuse or a loud voice.

It can include sarcasm, demeaning customers for their lack of understanding, etc.

Customers may even consider it impolite if you don’t greet them, listen to them, or respond on time.

rude behaviour with customers


Even in the face of poor customer behavior, your contact center agents must not lose their cool.

Handling difficult and ignorant customers calmly is their job role.

But they must know that they don’t need to go out of their way to please customers, especially the abusive ones which increases customer retention rate

8. Forced phone calls

When customers initiate a conversation by email or chat and show no interest in calls, it is just wrong to try to engage them in conversation over the phone.

Many companies also want customers to call if they want to modify their account or make a cancellation.


Agents must not forcibly call customers and stick to their chosen communication mode.

Agents prefer phone calls as it is easier to convey empathy and enthusiasm to help through their tone.

But they must respect their customers. They should also allow customers complete operations online.

C. Conclusion

Many companies now invest a small fortune to set up a contact center with empathetic and professional agents to provide prompt help.

For that, it’s not enough to have a customer care department.

You also need to train & coach your agents to identify and avoid bad customer service and provide them with tools to make the activities smoother. 


What are signs of bad customer service? 

Signs of bad customer service include rude or unhelpful staff, long wait times, poor communication, unresolved issues, lack of empathy, and a general lack of effort to meet customer needs.

What to do when customer service is bad?

When faced with bad customer service, you can escalate the issue to a supervisor, provide feedback, seek alternative channels for assistance, or switch to a competitor with better service.

What are signs of bad customer service? 

Unresponsive or slow communication, dismissive or rude behaviour, lack of knowledge or incorrect information, failure to resolve customer issues, inconsistent or misleading information, and lack of empathy or understanding.

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