R.I.P. Customer Service (Part 2, The Resurrection)

You would think all of us would be scared shitless that the automated robot would steal our jobs and we’d be doing whatever takes to please the masses in our respective service industry, but my experience as the customer hasn’t been pleasant for a long time. In fact it is so rare that I receive good customer service, that I can remember every detail when it actually happens.  What makes an awesome worker?  I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I take customer service very seriously and I think I go above and beyond for my customer’s approval.We can resurrect customer service from the dead.  If you are in this industry or plan to be, take notes.

Key Indicators for Success in Customer Service

Knowledge: It is imperative for you to have the proper education about the company you work for. Know your competition, understand your product and brand, explore your website, call your call center, role play with co-workers, ask questions to your manager! Feeling informed empowers you to answer your consumer’s questions correctly and with confidence.. A customer will always appreciate a knowledgeable agent. Knowledge is not the same as being a”Know-It-All.” Refrain from sounding arrogant and supreme. The last thing your customer wants to feel is put down or less then brilliant.

Manners: If your parent’s failed in teaching you manners, you are not a lost cause. Manners are not hard to implement or learn. This will be the easiest way to show consideration to your clients.  Cordial manners are a gesture of respect to the end-user.   They help you build rapport and earn respect right back.  Please, Thank You, & You’re Welcome should be part of your daily email/phone conversations. Addressing your customer properly earns big points.  When beginning an email draft, start with “Hello Jane!” and end with “Best Regards, Krissy.”

Smile: Whether you are on the phone or working with a consumer face to face; flash your pearly whites.  It lights up your face and sends a warm message of friendliness. The tone in your voice becomes more pleasant and enthusiastic. A suggestion at my old work was to keep a mirror by your phone to remind your self to smile.  When you look delighted, your intentions of pleasing your client shines through.

Empathize: Put yourself in your customers shoes. Try to understand what they are going through and work to find a resolve that you, yourself would be glad with.  E.g. if your customer has a cable outage, tell a short story to let the customer know you identify with their problem, “Jane, I know how frustrating this must be, my cable went out during the storm last week too.  I will do my very best to get your cable up and running.” I am willing to bet the caller on the other line will appreciate that you have a sincere intention to help.

PICK UP THE PHONE: When someone sends me an email and my response in writing is going to be confusing, I pick up the fricking phone! It drives me nuts when people are afraid to call a guest.  The worst thing that will happen is a customer will yell at you. So what?? Use the tools above to calm the client.  The lack of accountability of people can be amusing, but I am so astounded at the shame in people’s game. The calm a person receives from talking to a live person will make your day easier. In most cases it’s quicker to call rather then email. I do understand the importance of a guarantee in writing so what is the harm of making the quick phone call and THEN following up with an email to confirm the conversation?

There are so many other key indicators for success that are self explanatory. Patience, Listening Skills, Attention to Detail, Quick Responses, being helpful, appreciative and friendly are all very important.

This day in age we can do a lot of things without the help of a live person and as the years go by I am sure that we will get more used to that type of service.   It is rare to find a company that holds associates to this level, but the choice that you make to use products or services should be based on these minimum standards.   I am near 30 years old and I have worked since I was 14, I have to say I am proud of the company I work for and the emphasis they put on service. Their message is 100% in line with my beliefs on how  a customer should be treated.  I try to put myself in the customer’s shoes, empathize with and understand their situation and do my best to help them in our hospitality business.    95% of the people I work with are the best, sweetest customers in the world and I think it’s because they are treating me like I treat them. It sounds like a line of bullshit, but its the god’s honest truth.  It makes my job enjoyable and I feel proud of myself when I could make someone’s day or even their life easier. My personality pegs me as a people pleaser. I get the 1 in 20 crazy person who is just trying to get a free ride, but in reality I like my job and I’m good at it.    One of my 2011 resolutions aside from losing 60 lbs like 99% of the population is to give credit where credit is due. Everytime a customer service rep gives me superior attention, I give it back.   Start leaving positive feedback for the agents that are worth it. They will be the few people that truly appreciate it.

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