There are a variety of components that are essential for creating a customer service representative who does their job exceptionally well. Think of the ideal candidate you’d want to hire for a customer-facing position. The characteristics that come to mind for this employee might include:
- Being organized
- Being respectful to customers and colleagues
- Being energetic
That list could go on for some time. And while it’s certainly possible that someone with all of the characteristics you think of for an ideal customer service representative would do a great job, there is one key to customer service that you probably overlooked.
How high up your list of characteristics would the following attribute be: ability to demonstrate they truly care about the customer? If it ranked in the first few things that you look for in a new hire, great! You’re ahead of the curve. If it didn’t, no need to worry. The ability to demonstrate you care is very often overlooked as a crucial customer service skill.
Why does caring matter?
You might be wondering, “if a member of my team (or perhaps even you, yourself) has solved the customer’s problem or answered their question, why does it matter that they know that we care?” It’s a good question, and it’s at the root of why demonstrating genuine care for the customer’s problem is a relatively underutilized secret weapon in customer service.
There is a clear distinction between simply providing respectful and helpful service to a customer and service that is truly great – that difference is caring. Service can’t be excellent if the customer service representative does not go the extra mile to demonstrate care and concern for the customer’s issue. Theodore Roosevelt was correct when he said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Demonstrating genuine care and interest in the customer will allow you to deliver service that surpasses their expectations and locks in their loyalty.
Service with a smile
One of the simplest ways to demonstrate care for a customer is to smile while interacting with them. In person, this communicates to the customer that you’re genuinely happy to have the opportunity to work with them. Good moods are contagious, and it’s likely that, upon seeing your smile, the customer will feel happier, too. There’s no need to fake it for the sake of having a smile plastered on your face through a whole conversation, though. Rather, keep it natural. Let the customer see that you’re happy to be doing business with them.
Your smile is even important while delivering service on the phone. It’s possible to hear through someone’s voice if they’re smiling. Rather than letting the phone dehumanize or block you from your customer, infuse your voice with a smile. The customer will be able to tell the difference, and it will reflect back in how they interact with you.
Professional service doesn’t need to be unfriendly
It sounds simple, and it is. Demonstrating you care through simple actions like smiling while working with a customer can be the key to delivering truly great customer service. Why, then, isn’t demonstrating you care standard practice in customer service? Well, some employees are taught that, in order to deliver acceptable customer service, they need to maintain a strict level of professionalism. Perhaps they were even explicitly told to only fix the problem rather than focusing on the customer more holistically. Regardless, it has become the norm for some customer service providers to think that “robotic, unemotional, impersonal customer service that simply gets the job done and nothing more” is the ideal.
Such a belief is not backed up by customer opinion; however, according to both HubSpot and RightNow, 73% of customers say that the friendliness of customer service representatives influences how loyal they feel to a brand. It’s time to reconsider what professional customer service looks like in a time where a customer’s options for products and services are endless.
A panel of customer service representatives was identified by their companies as being Service Superstars; this group convened to share their best advice for delivering excellent service to stand out amongst their peers. In addition to smiling while interacting with customers, the Superstar panelists, in this unique peer-to-peer training course, discussed many other ways to demonstrate care for the customer. Contact a Service Skills representative today and request a free demo of the Service Matters Roundtable Series to learn the rest of their advice for demonstrating you care.
Be sure to check out these additional videos and posts from our ServiceMatters Roundtable from the team at ServiceSkills: