If you’re starting a new job as a customer service representative - or, in fact, in any customer-facing position - you’re taking on important work. The service experience will make or break the customer’s opinion of your organization and will directly influence their decision to either continue to do business there or visit a competitor instead. According to Microsoft, a whopping 90% of American consumers use customer service as a main factor in deciding where to do business.
That much responsibility and pressure might feel intimidating at first. After all, there are a variety of scenarios you could run into. While there will likely be guidelines that you’ll follow in your interactions with customers, many aspects of delivering service require thinking on your feet. Your job is to resolve the issue for the customer; however, how that is done with each customer will vary. Depending on your comfort level and previous experience, that might sound like an exciting opportunity or a daunting prospect.
Guidance from Service Superstars
When six Customer Service Superstars were nominated by their organizations and brought together to sit on a panel, they shared important insight on how they became the experts they are. They also provided suggestions for new team members. These suggestions covered:
- Tips that they feel were crucial in helping them develop into the employees they are now;
- Things they wish they knew when they began; and
- Recommendations that can be helpful at any stage of your career
Tip 1: Don’t take it personally
Inevitably, you will come across a customer who, for a wide range of reasons, is unhappy. It might be that a product they purchased from your company has malfunctioned. Perhaps it’s that they were relying on a service provided by your organization that didn’t deliver as promised. Whatever the reason, the customer is likely to let you know about their frustration.
If you’re new to customer-facing work, being on the receiving end of this type of emotion is likely to be unsettling at best. Even seasoned customer service representatives are occasionally shaken by difficult interactions with unhappy or irate customers! According to the Service Superstars, the most important thing to remember in this challenging scenario is this: don’t take it personally.
The customer has most likely never spoken with you before and doesn’t know you personally. They’re not upset at you – they’re upset at the situation. The Superstars suggest that keeping this in mind will help you to put the encounter into perspective, moderate your own emotional response and accomplish the task at hand: solving the customer’s problem.
Tip 2: Show you care
While you may be tempted to keep things strictly business in your role as a customer service representative, make sure you don’t confuse “business conduct” with being rude, cold, or unattached. The Service Superstars reflected on their own successful customer interactions and shared that their customers responded best to demonstrations of caring and being invested in solving their problem.
Salesforce Research reported that 89% of customers will re-purchase from an organization following a positive customer service interaction. By showing your customers that you care, you’re directly helping your company to build loyalty and retain customers. Demonstrating care is not the same as being informal and unprofessional, however. As the Service Superstars make clear, it’s possible to balance professionalism with a genuine concern and commitment to your customer.
In order to appropriately demonstrate care, consider the attitude you’re adopting in interactions with customers. Listen to all parts of your customer’s concerns or complaints with an interest in solving their problem. While some information may sound unnecessary or tangential, better understanding the customer’s situation will allow you to express empathy with what the customer has experienced.
Tip 3: You get out what you put in – have fun!
When your daily responsibilities involve interacting with others, it’s certainly possible to feel run-down or drained, particularly if the customers are unhappy ones. The Service Superstars noted, however, that if you put energy and kindness into your customer service interactions, you often get a similar response back. This becomes a positive cycle and, rather than feeling drained and exhausted as the day goes on and you interact with more customers, you’ll instead feel bolstered and encouraged by each of your previous customers.
Have fun with your job! Remember that you’re delivering a service to the customer – by solving their problems or answering their questions, you’re doing something to make their life easier or better, even if it’s in a small way. Be encouraged by this and allow it to motivate you to deliver better service every single time.
To hear more from the Service Superstars in a unique peer-to-peer training series, contact a ServiceSkills representative and request a free demo of the ServiceMatters Roundtable Series.
Be sure to check out these additional videos and posts from our ServiceMatters Roundtable from the team at ServiceSkills: