With so many stories of bad customer service we hear these days, many people are getting the impression that customer service jobs are entry-level or unimportant roles taken just to get by until a better opportunity. Do you share the same view? I hope, not. For me, it’s just the opposite. An experience of working in customer service, even as a temporary job, can be a stepping stone to a great career and many other life achievements.
Working in customer service can be a formative experience that exposes you to people from all walks of life with all different kinds of backgrounds. In the long run, it may turn out to be valuable lessons you would not trade in for anything. In this blog post I would like to share my insider’s view on customer service career and my key takeaways from it.
1. There’s Never Too Much Gratitude
For me, it all started with realizing that Thank you too is one of the magic phrases that make a huge difference in customer service. I used to mechanically respond You’re welcome for years but at some point my manager took time to get it across to me. Instead of empty-headedly uttering You’re welcome, you can take the occasion to express your genuine gratitude to the people who do business with your company, make your job necessary and, eventually, pay your wages.
2. Failures Help Us Improve
Customer service mostly involves dealing with failures – flawed products, equipment shortcomings, delivery inefficiencies, miscommunication, human errors, imperfect policies, broken promises and so on. I know it might seem really frustrating, but in fact the more problems you encounter, the more solutions you will find. You learn to cope with challenges and recover at a faster pace. You also get a good habit of retrospectively analyzing situations you’ve handled badly to come up with a better approach next time.
3. Multitasking Hurts Communication
For customer service jobs, the ability to multitask is highly desirable as it allows employees to embrace a wide range of tasks and duties. While gaining in experience, service-industry employees get aware of the professional challenges related to multitasking and know how to handle them correctly. My major takeaway on this is that any sort of communication, be it a phone call, Live Chat session, face-to-face conversation or email, requires your undivided attention. I’m sure, it’s equally unacceptable to text while driving and browse the web while talking on the phone.
4. Apologize First, No Matter Who’s at Fault
No one enjoys being wrong. I believe, when dealing with complaints and claims, it’s human nature to try first of all to find out what lies at the bottom of it all. I don’t mean to find out where the blame lies, rather to understand what went wrong, when and why, and how it can be avoided in the future. However, for an angry or frustrated customer it really looks like pointing fingers or flipping the script, which only makes the matter worse. So, before it piles up and becomes a bigger problem, I always try to defuse tension and sincerely apologize on behalf of my company.
5. You Always Have a Choice
In many situations throughout my career in customer service I realized that besides just doing my job “correctly” (in accordance with internal rules, scripts and policies) I can also do something extra to achieve a better result and handle the situation in a more effective manner. In other words, you have a choice of doing merely what is expected of you or trying to excel it. To be honest, more often than not it’s indifference that stops you from performing better, and once you are aware of the fact, you can deliberately decide between the two options and choose the right attitude.
6. Timeliness is Synonymous with Respect
Indeed, timeliness is next to godliness. The ability to solve a customer’s issue quickly and easily is fundamental to the success or failure of the customer service experience. In case you do not manage to resolve it on the spot and have to follow up with them later, it’s a common good practice to let the customer know when exactly they can expect to hear back from you. And, certainly, do your best to get back to the customer within the promised time frame. If you respect your customers’ time, they’ll be happy to give you their repeat business.
7. Customers Appreciate a Personal Touch
People like being remembered. When it comes to online customer service, you probably can’t impress them by recognizing faces or remembering names, but you can do your best to make the experience more pleasant for returning customers. There are lots of nice little things you can deploy to win loyal customers with a personal touch. But first and foremost, make sure you talk to your customers like a normal person, not a robotic system or answering machine.
8. There’re No Stupid Questions
From time to time, I have to deal with really odd situations while performing my customer service job. There are calls from visitors who happen to come to a wrong website through a search engine, others come from websites of our customers. In many cases, odd questions have little to do with the Live Chat software Provide Support offers, but I always try to address their inquiries with a due respect and prompt attention. The same holds true for technologically challenged customers. It’s my job, and I am happy to do it.
9. People Who Give Care, Need Care Too
Burnout is a widespread issue in customer service today and one of the most common reasons why service-industry employees quit their jobs. If you experience exhaustion or feel a lack of enthusiasm and motivation in relation to your job duties, then it’s about time for you to get some rest and refresh yourself. In case you are interested in more tips and tricks to overcome professional burnout, I would recommend you to check out this article.
10. Be Nice to Service Industry Workers
Sadly, too many people today approach customer service interactions as the necessary evil picturing miles of red tape, indistinct muttering from a script and hours wasted on hold. With so many stories of careless customer service workers we hear these days, you can hardly resist the temptation to paint everyone with the same brush. Yet, don’t fall into the trap. There are millions of smart people out there who really enjoy their jobs and love being helpful. Keep positive attitude and respect people who serve you. Like the old adage says, as you give, you receive.
Are there any other things you would like to add to my list of valuable customer service lessons? Would you like to share your best customer service stories with our blog readers? Let me know in the comments below! And as always, thank you for reading our blog!
Provide Support is a leading software provider in customer service, offering web chat and real-time visitor monitoring tool for websites. Empowering customer service with live chat.
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