This is one company that encourages the customer service representatives to develop relationships with the customers so that they can ask for individuals when and if they need to call back. I enjoyed this aspect of the job because everywhere I had worked before, we had a contact with the customers and the chances were extremely slim that we would ever hear from or speak to that customer again. There were many customers I enjoyed talking to and wished I could handle their future needs.
A learned through my experience that customer service can make or break a company. Several of the things my experience has taught me include:
set yourself above your existing competition (Customer, 1992).
A make it difficult for new competition to get a foothold in your market (Customer, 1992)."
Observations and Reflections
When I first began my career in customer service I believed it was a means to an end. I wanted to have a job that would pay my bills and work with the public without having to have face-to-face contact with the customers. I found that in customer service positions in the field of telecommunications.
A began as a young green employee with little experience or knowledge in any job. I initially had much to learn about how I presented myself to the customers. I remember having days where things were stressful in my life and I brought that stress to the job. Customers would call in and I would give them half hearted answers, or worse I would not smile or exchange pleasantries with them as I helped them resolve their questions or problems. I had to learn to leave my life at the door each day as it did have a direct impact on the way I treated the customer. I remember one time being in a bad mood and having a customer complain that I acted as if he was wasting my time calling in for assistance. I will never forget what it felt like to have my supervisor sit me down and talk to me about the complaint. Now that I have been in the industry for a decade I am aware that there are invalid and valid complaints, but this one was valid and I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had caused a customer to complain because I let my personal life impact the way I had treated him.
From that point on I worked to improve my method of handling customer service. I found that if I really smiled while talking to them that they could hear the smile in my voice and they often responded in kind. I found that taking the most angry customer on earth, and treating that customer with respect and professionalism, usually turned that customer into someone who thanked me in the end for helping resolve the problem they had called in about.
Over the years I saw many customer service representatives come and go.
It seemed that certain personality types fared better in this field than others. I discovered over time that customer service representatives who were concerned with their own problems and lives more than assisting the customer did not last. Whether they were fired or they quit it was not long before they were gone and another one was in their place.
On my first job I was determined to become the best customer service representative that I could be. One of the things I did that I believe helped me in the quest was to find a mentor. I observed the other customer service representatives and located one who I felt emulated the type of attitude and skills that I wanted to acquire. I watched her work, I listened to the way she spoke to the customer and I watched her handle her outside life while not letting it impact the way she performed from eight to five each day. I watched her carefully and used her example to incorporate with my own skills so that I could be the best customer service representative possible.
Looking back through the past decade there are many things that I did not know initially which I learned by doing.
It seemed the more excited I was about the position the better I handled the customers. If I was happy and content in my job, the customers had a better rate of return and more complimentary things to say about my services. If I became unhappy in a position it seemed that the customer could pick up on that and it colored their attitudes as well. This let me realize it is important that customer service representatives be encouraged to maintain high morale and work satisfaction. When I became a supervisor three years ago it was something I did not forget and worked hard to implement in my own customer service department.
Another valuable element of customer service that I have learned throughout the years is that customer service representatives are able to handle administrative tasks and while it seems to make their job more difficult it actually makes it easier (Sharples, 1995). When a customer service representative is involved in many aspects of the total customer experience then that customer service representative is better equipped to help that customer with all of his or her customer service needs. When I worked in positions where I was dependent on others to provide me with answers, I was always having to put the customer on hold or promise to call that customer back once I got the answer. I know that can be frustrating to a customer as I have been the customer on the other end many times (Sharples, 1995).
Customer service creates the way the public feels about the company. Many times when talking to friends they have complained about their experience with a customer service representative and the end result is they do not like the company any more and refuse to do business with that company ever again. Hearing these stories in my outside life is a constant reminder for me to be diligent in my desire to remain professional and polite at all times while on the job.
Whether I have been in a training position, a trainer position or a supervisor position I have observed the importance of the open door policy. One company I worked for did not have one while the others have encouraged them. Open door means that a customer service representative can go to his or her superior with any problem or question they have and get assistance. This is important because in this field we do run into customers that cannot be pleased no matter what is done to try and assist them. If we can go to our higher ups and explain the customer to that person before the complaint comes in it makes it much less stressful to deal with that customer as well as others on one's job.
Customer service is the most important part of any company other than the product or service itself. If customer service is outstanding the company cannot help but succeed.
While all the theory and speculation the world can be fun and productive when it comes to customer service duties, the actual application of those things are what make or break the customer service representative.
Using several things to perform the job each and every time one answers the phone can insure consistent professional performance.
One must always remember that the customer is not always right but should be made to feel like that is the case. The customer is calling because they need help, whether that help is in deciding which product or service to buy, or they have a problem or complaint and need help getting it resolved. That customer has called and expects to be treated with courtesy and politeness at all times. The job of the customer service representative is to treat that customer as if he or she is the most important thing on earth. Maintaining a professional attitude is utmost in making the relationship work between the company and the customer.
I have always had my own personal goal when it comes to performing my customer service duties each day. I want ninety five percent of my customers to go away thinking the world is a better place because of their encounter with me. While I cannot please every customer, I can work to make sure they believe I have cared about them, tried to assist them and want them to be happy and content in their dealing with…