5 Mistakes Companies Make In Phone Support & How To Fix Them

5 min read
October 12, 2022 at 5:18 AM

First impressions matter, and your phone support team is often the first interaction potential customers have with your company.

According to a study by American Express, excellent customer service is the number one factor that determines whether or not customers will do business with a company again. Furthermore, 78% of customers have bailed on a purchase because of poor customer service.

In today's post, we'll discuss five very common (and easily avoidable) mistakes companies make in phone support and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Please Hold...

Long hold times are one of the most frustrating things for customers when trying to reach a company by phone. According to PC Executives, 30% of customers feel most frustrated if they are unable to speak with a live representative when receiving customer service assistance.

Not only does it make them feel like their time isn't valued, but it also makes them less likely to do business with the company in the future. If you want to avoid long hold times, make sure you have enough staff available to answer calls in a timely manner. You could also consider using an automated call system that can take messages and route them to the appropriate person, but that can lead to even more frustration.

The best way is to carefully automate certain parts of the process (e.g., the recording announcement or routing an incoming call if the customer's phone number is on file) but keep other parts as human as possible. The best way to avoid long hold times is to truly understand why your callers have to wait so long. Is it that you do not have enough staff? Or are your agents placing your customers on hold mid-conversation to look something up? Are they being transferred or experiencing other technical difficulties?

Find the root cause of long hold times by carefully analyzing your call recording analytics and fixing them as soon and as efficiently as possible.

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Screenshot of MiaRec Trends screen providing at-a-glance view of topics being discussed between agents and customers as they happen.

Mistake #2: Technical Difficulties

Speaking of technical difficulties, another common mistake companies make is having technical difficulties with their phone system. This can include everything from dropped calls to static on the line.

Not only is this frustrating for customers, but it also gives them the impression that your company is unprofessional. To avoid technical difficulties, make sure you have a reliable phone system in place and that your staff is trained on how to use it. You should also regularly test your system to make sure everything is working properly.

In addition to testing your systems, you can also use Artificial Intelligence to look for certain keywords or phrases ("I can't hear you", "The connection is bad", "Can you speak louder?", "hung up", etc.) in your transcripts to highlight connection problems.

Mistake # 3: Being Unprofessional & Over/Cross-Talking

One of the quickest ways to turn off a potential customer is to be unprofessional on the phone. This includes things like using slang or profanity, not listening to what they have to say, or not answering their questions. In addition, talking over your customers is not only unprofessional but can also be very frustrating.

This occurs when an agent talks over a caller or interrupts them while they are trying to speak. Not only does this make it difficult for the customer to get their point across, but it also makes them feel like their time isn't valued. Oftentimes, customers hang up the phone out of frustration with unprofessional customer service agents — and then take to social media, friends, and family to share their negative experiences.

To ensure your staff is providing professional customer service, contact center agents should be carefully onboarded and trained. To ensure your agents adhere to the provided scripts and put into practice what they learned in their training, you can use AI-driven Conversational Intelligence.

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Screenshot of MiaRec Automatic Score Card with outcomes and scoring breakdown.

This technology uses Voice Analytics to identify patterns in what a person says (e.g., through spotting specific keywords and phrases) that indicate when someone is experiencing frustration. To avoid over/cross-talking, make sure your staff is properly trained on active listening skills. They should also be aware of the importance of letting the customer speak without interruption.

In addition, it allows you to identify if an agent is talking over a caller or interrupting them. You can then use this information to provide coaching and training to your staff so they can avoid these issues in the future.

Mistake #4: Not Asking Enough Questions & Failing To Follow Up

Customers often call in frustration with questions for which answers should have been provided earlier on. For example, a customer may call to ask what the return policy is for a product they purchased, but this information could have been provided at the time of purchase.

Asking more questions upfront can help you avoid these types of calls and improve the overall customer experience. When your staff is taking calls, they should be sure to ask enough questions to fully understand the customer's needs. They should also be sure to document all relevant information in the customer's file so that it can be easily accessed in the future.

In addition, companies often fail to follow up with customers after they have called. This can leave customers feeling like their time was wasted and that their concerns weren't important. To avoid this, make sure you have a process in place for following up with customers after they have called. This can include things like sending them a follow-up email or calling them back to check on their issue. You should also make sure your staff is properly trained on how to follow up with customers so that they know what to do and when to do it.

Mistake #5: Not Being Knowledgeable & Not Having A Plan

Having knowledgeable and trained contact center agents is essential to providing a great customer experience. Customers expect agents to be able to answer their questions and resolve their issues. If the agents are not able, customers will likely become frustrated and take their business elsewhere. For example, when a customer calls, they expect the company to have a plan for addressing their issue.

This means having a process in place for handling different types of calls and making sure your staff is properly trained on this process. Without a plan, your staff will likely waste time trying to figure out what to do, and this will lead to frustrated customers.

This, again, comes down to diligent training and script adherence. Also, here you can deploy AI-driven Voice Analytics to identify keywords/phrases in the call transcript to identify when a customer (or an agent) is experiencing frustration. Take it even a step further and measure the customer/agent sentiment.

Most people who call a contact center are already worked up. Can the agent turn the conversation around by providing helpful and insightful suggestions? Or are customers constantly getting fed up with an unhelpful agent? This allows you to provide coaching and training to your staff so they can avoid these issues in the future.


By avoiding these mistakes, you can improve your phone support and provide a better experience for your customers. Overall, using Conversational Intelligence not only is a great way to ensure that your contact center agents are properly trained and knowledgeable, but also can help you identify and address issues with your phone support so that you can continue to improve over time. This, in turn, will lead to happier customers and fewer frustrated callers.

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