4 Most Common Communication Issues Customer Support Teams Have
Although customer service plays an essential role in business, it is often overlooked or taken for granted. Companies tend to forget that communicating with clients is more than just answering their questions and resolving their problems. It’s more about building trust and loyalty for long-term relations.
To deliver customer support at a high level, both internal and external communication issues should be eliminated.
Today we’ll go through a few common communication issues that often haunt customer support teams, and show you how to resolve them once and for all.
Why Is It Important to Address Communication Problems in Teams?
The way people communicate is the key to building strong relationships, improving performance, and achieving great results. No matter how hard you try, there is always a chance that communication problems will occur. It’s important to address them and react accordingly before they grow into full-blown “catastrophes”.
When you neglect to handle an issue, you risk:
- damaged business reputation
- low client satisfaction
- poor customer support quality
- high employee turnover
- lost sales and potential transactions
You can picture it like a small snowball causing an avalanche. If you prevent a potential catastrophe, take a closer look at some of the communication challenges you never knew you always had in your team.
Most Common Communication Issues in Customer Support Teams
#1 Language Barriers
In 2019, 17.4% of all American employees were foreign-born, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In other words, approximately one in six US workers were born abroad and most likely grew up speaking a first language other than English.
This sounds like a great cultural mix, but it can turn into a challenge in communication.
Internally, language barriers can lead to miscommunication among coworkers. That can also affect external communication and the quality and level of customer support offered to the clients.
If the meaning of what’s being said or written is not clear, both the agent and the client may have difficulty understanding one another. This could have serious business consequences, from low NPS scores through bad reviews on social media to losing clients.
How to Cut Down on Language Barriers in the Workplace?
Here are a few tips to help you reduce language barriers in the workplace:
- Introduce language training and courses
There are many interesting language training sessions and courses for employees online..
- Discuss culture differences often
Being clear and open about cultural differences helps you create a successful workplace where diversity is an advantage, not a problem.
- Assess the cultural fit of the people you onboard
Cultural fit indicated how much an employee shares the same values, goals, and beliefs as their employer. This concept can help you maintain organizational culture and goals.
- Use visuals such as graphics and videos
We can visualize things without attaching a specific language to them. Make sure you use videos and graphics to tackle various language difficulties within the workplace.
- Repeat yourself when needed
Even native speakers may have issues with their own language sometimes, such as understanding different accents or dialects. Remember this and consider repeating yourself if you’re not sure that someone understood you correctly.
- Use simple language and speak slower
Along with repeating yourself, it may be helpful to use fairly simple language as well to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Make sure you don’t overdo this, otherwise your employees might get the impression that you don’t think they’re intelligent.
- Try to maintain a friendly workplace atmosphere
Finally, there’s nothing better in a diverse workplace than a friendly atmosphere. It will benefit everyone, so keep this in mind.
#2 Time-zone Constraints
This problem is much more likely to affect international customer support teams, as well as those with members who choose to work remotely from a location other than the office. If one part of a team is located in Europe and another in Australia, for example, many issues can arise.
First of all, the time difference can make it difficult for your team to communicate with each other efficiently. When one agent is asleep, another one may be working and vice versa. This can slow down the communication flow and have a direct impact on effectiveness.
Moreover, the longer it takes to exchange information, the worse your overall performance will be. This could result in unsatisfied customers, bad reviews, complaints, and even decreased customer retention.
How to Make International Communication Work?
- Use a shared calendar with your team members
- Know your limits and set clear expectations
- Make use of asynchronous communication channels for teams such as Slack
- Offer flexible working hours
- Learn how to overcome time differences, e.g. plan your meetings in advance so that everyone from different parts of the world can join.
Connection and Tool Problems
Having the right tools for the job can make all the difference in how well customer service agents are able to handle stressful situations.
But, customer support agents often have to work with faulty or outdated tools and face common challenges, such as:
- Using tools that are not a good fit for the job
- Relying on tools that lack fundamental features
- Working from a location with poor Internet service
- Having broken or faulty equipment that affects the communication quality
When a company doesn’t invest in good quality, reliable tools, the whole business suffers: employees, consumers, and investors.
CloudTalk stands out from the competition for several reasons:
- Great reviews on Capterra
- 70+ world-leading call center features
- Used by over 2,500 innovative companies worldwide, including Yves Rocher and Revolut
- A wide range of integrations, developer support, and high-level customer onboarding
If you’re currently looking for the right tool for your consumer support staff, always make sure you carry out some research beforehand. Doing this will allow you to maximize the chance of choosing the best solution for your business.
#3 Dealing With Difficult Customers
Your support agents might also have a hard time interacting with customers.
Anyone can be a difficult customer but we can distinguish types like:
- The Complainer, who always complains
- The Impatient Customer, who wants things done immediately
- The Aggressive Customer, who displays very angry emotions
- The I-Know-It-All Customer, who always thinks they know better
But, sometimes a difficult customer could be one who does not seem to understand what they want, or perhaps someone with an unreasonable request. It might also be a customer who is demanding something that is simply not possible.
Whoever that person is, though, the effects of their interactions with customer support agents are usually one of these:
- stress and burnout
- Decreased productivity
- low job satisfaction
- decreased employee retention
When agents have to deal with difficult and often aggressive customers, the whole internal environment of a company can suffer. To prevent this from happening, we recommend that you regularly train your agents to help them handle interactions with problematic customers easier.
#4 Cultural Differences
Finally, let’s turn our focus to a communication issue that can be spotted both inside and outside of organizations, which is cultural differences.
Now, with the rise of social media, customer service has been pushed to the digital world. Today’s companies have to communicate over Facebook calls, Twitter DMs, and email to adapt to changing consumer behaviour.
Online communication has its own set of challenges and requires a different approach and skill set than what was needed in the past. Your customers’ varying cultural backgrounds can have an impact on their expectations of customer service.
If you work in a company that serves customers from different cultures, make sure you properly address all of the cultural differences. Otherwise, there could be chaos in your customer service department caused by misunderstandings, conflicts, confusion, and disappointment of your clients.
Homework for You
If you think that some of the issues mentioned above could affect your company, take things into your hands as soon as possible. Proper communication in a business, no matter which industry, can significantly improve the atmosphere and the productivity of everyone involved.
You should maintain effective communication as one of your top priorities.
To begin, we recommend taking a look at the following articles:
- 8 proven communication strategies for the workplace
- Remote Team Communication – how to make team communication in a remote work environment easy
- Top 6 collaboration tools for remote teams in 2021
- 10 proven strategies for effective call center management
How Do You Tackle Communication Issues?
Communication problems in customer service can happen, but you shouldn’t worry about them as long as you take steps to prevent them from occurring again. Whether it’s a language barrier or faulty tools, these are all things that can be overcome and improved upon. All you need is time and dedication.
Figuring out the best way to resolve communication issues with your customers takes a lot of work and a proper toolset to get started.
We promise that you’ll have everything you need to sweep your customers off their feet!