A Personal Take on Customer Service

So you want to work in customer service? That’s brave. Despite what you may think, it’s not for the faint of heart, although it is a very beneficial job to have. Customer service is more important today than ever. There are, more often than not, jobs out there for customer service. You have a business? Then you need that kind of support to fall back on. People who work in customer service are the backbone of the company. You hold that company up and keep it running smoothly and also keep it operating at a pace that works for everyone, you, the customer and company alike. I have 10 tips and tricks to share with you, as someone who has over 6 years of customer service under her belt. Whether you are new or seasoned in this particular job field, I have some advice that just might help, either with starting out or keeping it going.
 
1.) You must like people.
    Or at least fake it. If you can fake it till’ you make it, then you’re in. Unfortunately I’m not a people person, but faking it is my specialty. Again, this job isn’t for the faint of heart, people can be ruthless, but, nine times out of ten, people are just frustrated and need something resolved. That’s where you come in! Think about a time, any time for any reason, that you had to call customer support, or talk to someone from customer service. Whether you were upset or not, they talked to you and helped you to best of their abilities, and that’s what you do or will be doing as well. All you can do is try, the rest is up to them.
2.) Be nice.
    This might come as a “no brainer”, but you have to be nice to people. This is honestly where the hard part comes in, because it is not easy to be nice to someone who is screaming at you and won’t listen to anything you’re saying. News flash: Customers aren’t always right! I have always loathed that saying, because sometimes they are just flat out WRONG. Wrong with their intentions, wrong with the words, phrases, coupons, whatever they’re using, and especially wrong for screaming at someone who is trying to help them. Now you will unfortunately get those people who have those veins that bulge from their foreheads and no matter what you do, they’re just angry. You can’t help these people and that has to be okay. You just have to try your best, be nice and tell them to be on their way. You see, for me, when it comes to being nice, I have a limit and unfortunately some people try to push that limit because they think the whole world will bow down to them, and I refuse. Don’t bow, don’t bend, and especially don’t break under the harsh energy of those kinds of people. Just be nice.
3.) Professionalism.
    As much as I would love to give some people the middle finger when they walk away after screaming at me, I don’t, because I’m a professional, and that means that I just do it in my head. To be professional means to carry yourself at such a standard that if you had to deal with yourself when seeking customer service, you’d be pleased with the results. Listen, I know it’s very hard to do that, because if you are anything like me, and not a people person, even if you don’t deal with a multitude of angry Karen’s, you are still left mentally drained and exhausted at the end of a shift. Being professional means more than just simply showing up, being present and being nice. Being a professional means that you keep showing up, and keep being nice, and keep being present day in and day out. You show up ready to work, ready to serve and be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. You can do this, because you’ve proven to yourself, just by showing up, that you are the professional you’ve always needed to be.
4.) Patience.
    This can almost go hand in hand with number 2. Being patient and being nice are honestly the top two components of good customer service, also active listening but we will get into that later. Patience is a virtue, and it is hard to master. It definitely isn’t my strong suit, no matter how hard I try. Being patient with customers, especially the “unruly” ones, can help you move forward with the task you’re trying to accomplish and get you onto the next one. Honestly, sometimes people just need to take their anger out on someone and you, as the representative, can be the perfect target. Just grit your teeth, grin and bear it. Have patience. At the end of it all, you could be their new favorite person for helping them with something that is seemingly impossible and hopeless to them. Their hero if you will. Be the hero of their story with your patience.
 
5.) Assertiveness.
    When you’re being assertive, you let the unruly customers know that you aren’t messing around. You want to help, of course you do, and you’ll do anything to take that course of action and figure out what works for you and the customer alike, but also let them know that you will not stand for being talked to in a harsh way, being insulted or taking anyone’s crap. Stay sweet in your approach and assertive in your work. Just try, that’s all you can do.
6.) Perseverance.
    Stay tenacious! When you persevere to get the job done and stay determined, it shows not only yourself, but others around you that you are willing to put in the work to get it done at all costs. Show that you have that drive to keep going, to get to the solution no matter the cost. Don’t be afraid to be the one to go above and beyond in order to help the customer have a positive and memorable experience with you, which in turn will help them have a good outlook on the company as well, and it will all be thanks to you, because you’re the one who overcame the problem and solved it.
7.) Flexibility.
    When it comes to the customers outlook, they are always right, and that’s just the way it needs to be. I know I said before how much I cannot stand the saying “the customer is always right” and I do, trust me. Although, they need to keep thinking they are always right, and that’s all we need to keep this whole operation going. When you are flexible with a customer, and help deliver to them exactly what they need, then you’ve done it! You’ve delivered the ideal customer service experience. Sometimes you have to be willing to bend the rules a little, company rules. If someone tells you “we don’t give away free products or services”, but that’s exactly what needs to happen in order to resolve the issue, then it’s okay to go ahead and be an outlaw for once. Making sure the customer is happy and the issue is resolved is the main priority in customer service.
8.) Concern.
    Having concern for the customer and their problems is what makes people want to cooperate and talk with you to fix the issue at hand. When you show true concern for the customer, they will want to continue using the product because they know, that if they ever have another problem, they will one hundred percent know that it will be taken care of and with empathy! Use active listening with this one. When you are actively listening with concern for their problem, then they will surely keep coming back for more.
9.) Creativity.
    You can have some of the same issues pop up with customers, but a lot of the time they will be different things that require not only your full attention, but your creativity too. That’s why it’s really important to stay attentive, and progressive. It also doesn’t hurt to know all the material before trying to be a customer service rep. When you’re creative with the issue and with solving it, you can truly become the best version of yourself. Creativity and customer service go hand in hand.
10.) Respect.
    A certain singer got it right when she sang about it. Everyone needs respect and to feel respected when it comes to the service they receive. Whether it’s using the customers name, waiting until they’ve finished talking to speak, or not interrupting them while they speak, ti’s all about the amount of respect that you have for the customer, and concern for their problem, and the flexibility, perseverance, assertiveness, professionalism, patience, all of it. It all counts and it all works together to give the customer the perfect experience in top notch customer service. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to the customer. When you give it, you get it.
As long as you try your best, apply these tips to your everyday work life, and give it your all, then you are more than capable of working in the great big world of customer service. It can seem intimidating but if you’re fiercely motivated, strong willed and determined to make it happen, then anything can happen. Remember, customer service is more than exceptional service, it’s about helping people.
“Success has nothing to do with what you gain or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others” -Danny Thomas
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