Customer Service Representatives Must Have Qualities

“Make the customers’ problem your problem. By solving their problems and needs, you create a partnership.”- Shep Hyken

The quote sums up what quality, customer service representatives should have. It is all about making customers a priority – and every company must focus on that. By mastering some skills, the customer service representatives would be able to improve significantly the quality of interactions the customers have with the company. Great interactions lead to happy and satisfied customers, who in turn will provide repeat business and let others know of the outstanding experiences they had while dealing with your company. The key to ensuring that customers keep coming back and advocating your company to others is to ensure that your customer service representatives are equipped and trained to manage the customers well. The fact is that customers are the lifeline of any company and hence it is essential that they receive the best treatment and service, which in turn will make them loyal and profitable.

With the rise of competition, company leaders have become more aggressive while promoting and putting their company’s offerings ‘out there’ and while seeking out new customers. In turn, customers too, have become smarter and extremely observant while choosing a company to do business with, in order to gain the maximum benefit for their company. While products and pricing maybe similar, what would differentiate a company would be the experiences they are able to provide customers and new customers would choose a company with an established reputation for great customer service. In order to gain this edge through customer service, it is imperative that a company is extremely careful and astute while hiring their customer service representatives. These personnel would be the first interaction customers have with the company and they that would either make or break the impression of a company.

Customer service representatives must possess certain essential skills that will enable them to provide the stellar service that customers expect. Without the skills and their application, a company could potentially lose customers to competition and would have a tough time repairing the resultant losses. As customers, we too have probably been ‘served’ by customer service representatives that made us feel like that they were doing us a favour or that we were a major interruption in their lives! With such customer service representatives, a company can be sure to lose customers fast and possibly never to return – certainly not an acceptable state. So what does your company do for its customer service representatives that helps them work efficiently and serve customers well?

The most important aspect would be to ensure that your customer service representatives are empowered – they have the discretion and the leeway to make decisions that will help and satisfy the customers, without having to wait for ‘receiving instructions’ from the elsewhere. Placing such responsibility on these crucial set of staff members, will make them feel important and valued and will in turn pass these ‘feelings’ on to customers through great service. Being able to make spot decisions without fear of reprimand, builds confidence and sense of belonging in the customer service representatives, who will in turn, ensure that customers remain happy. Allow your customer service representatives to seek out new business and customer bases – such a proactive approach a company would be able to grow its business faster and gain more visibility for its products and services.

The prime responsibility of customer service representatives is to serve the customers. To ensure that customers are happy to speak with them, they must appear genuine, empathetic and caring. This applies to all businesses – all customers want great service – a research revealed that 40% customers said that they switched companies because they received shoddy service. Customer service representatives must be able to lend a personal touch when communicating with customers – this means that customers must be able to relate to them and believe that the company understands their needs and concerns and would manage them. Creating and building strong relationships with customers is extremely essential in order for them to like your company and believe that they can trust it.

Customer service representatives should be trained well enough to ask the ‘right’ questions. By doing so, they would be able to prove to customers that they understand their specific needs and would be able to solicit more information from customers. Gaining information would ensure that the company is able to put together customized products and solutions that would be useful to their customers. The more relevant the offerings, the happier customers are and would not hesitate to provide more business and encourage others to do business with your company. Asking questions and information, in turn means that the customer service representatives are also good and active listeners. There would be no use of the information until the representatives are able to comprehend and respond appropriately to the customers. Listening and communicating effectively are amongst the top qualities that customer service representatives must possess.

As a company if you practice and display honesty, your customer service representatives also would be encouraged to do so. Customers are able to perceive dishonesty and insincerity and they would abandon your company if they believe that your company is not completely open and trustworthy. Customer service representatives must ensure that they provide accurate and complete information to customers about everything related to the offerings of the company. This in turn implies that the representatives must have thorough knowledge of the company and its offerings. Sounding unsure would make the customers doubt the company’s intentions even if the company were completely honest. Customer service representatives must be able to provide as much information and ‘education’ to the customers using easily understood language and terminology – they must refrain from using technical and industry jargon, which only serves to irritate customers.

We have said several times in the past that for customer service to be effective, it must be speedy, accurate and specific. Customers do not like to wait and hence customer service representatives must be able to ‘think on their feet’ and resolve as much as they can at the base level. Service and information must also be free of errors – customers are easily irritated if they discover that the information they received was erroneous, which could cause them some amount of inconvenience.

The aim of customer service representatives must be to put a smile on the face of their customers. By doing whatever they can to ensure their satisfaction through customized solutions and or by delivering on their promises and going beyond their call of duty, would make for a very happy and satisfied customer base.

Customer service representatives have a tough job – there is no doubt about this. While hiring customer service representatives, companies must ensure that they recruit people who are inherently calm under stress, patient, empathetic and have great communication skills. If you hire the ‘wrong’ people, you would not be able to blame them for doing a shoddy job serving your customers. Many people have these innate abilities while others cannot even learn them when taught – it is up to the company to ‘see’ these abilities when hiring. Customer service representatives are an indispensable part of any company and must necessarily have certain qualities without which they would leave a lasting poor impression on customers causing them to leave. Ensure that your company’s service representatives exhibit the qualities mentioned and many more in order for your company to gain favour with its customers.

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