Everyone would agree that a strong customer service team should be a priority in any business.
It’s generally understood that the interaction between front-line staff and customers has a direct impact on sales and repeat business. And, with a new customer, it’s truly the first impressions test.
The customer service role can be a thankless job. Often there is little appreciation of the challenges they face and the skills required to do their job on a daily basis.
Being the first point of contact, individuals must be pleasant and helpful at all times, even while negotiating with frustrated clients and tense situations. They require the ability to juggle several tasks at once and handle continual interruptions.
The reality is that, while companies acknowledge that customer service is a key role, minimal attention is devoted to supporting the role.
Most don’t have clear, comprehensive plans to maintain a high level of quality service. And those that have service standards and policies tend to focus on compliance rather than an organizational-wide service culture.
Now is the time to evaluate where your business is heading. Whether you are anticipating growth, staying the course, or facing some layoffs, factoring the key attributes of a top-notch customer service team will be critical as you manoeuvre through this tough economy.
Policies establish and communicate the ground rules for good service but they don’t instill a genuine, customer-friendly attitude in the company. The 10 traits listed below will help you assess your customer service needs and identify individuals that fit the role.
1. Look for those who possess a winning attitude. These folks see potential in each day. Their optimism can influence the rest of the team.
They are usually happy to be at work and help to make the workplace happier overall.
2. They exhibit a passion for business and will commit to the job. The more they believe in their contribution, the more interested they are in seeing your business succeed.
Once they have personalized a company’s vision and goals, they are a valuable contributor to the team.
3. A huge part of the customer service job involves actively engaging with others in person, over the phone or via email.
Good communication skills are crucial. It’s necessary that they speak clearly and concisely and have an expressive tone in their voice.
4. Top-notch customer service staff think on their feet. The ability to perceive a situation beforehand can alleviate and even eliminate a crisis situation.
Those that use this insight adjust naturally. They have an understanding of various communication styles and will respond appropriately.
5. Customers want transactions to be handled quickly and accurately. An efficient customer service representative doesn’t wait for customers to approach them. They respond quickly, then are aware and available when customers look for advice.
6. They actively listen to every customer, asking appropriate questions to help clarify customer needs and introduce solutions. With training and increased self-confidence, they take particular pride in customer satisfaction.
7. Patience and politeness is the best way to manage difficult situations. They are able to retain their composure while listening to and empathizing with frustrated customers.
They rely on a number of tactics to get to the core of the issue and resolve the situation.
8. They are dependable and accountable for their actions. They make every effort to resolve issues and find solutions to problems.
Given the opportunity, they are willing to take the lead. With some experience, they are able to actively problem-solve.
9. Their organizational skills help them to stay focused and refocused throughout the day.
They know company policies and product details and retain key information. They understand the value of prioritizing the workload.
10. They have confidence in their ability to adjust to change. There is continuous interest in growth and advancement.
The tasks involved in the job may be repetitive and routine, but they have a willingness to learn and improve.
Customer service requires many important skills, however, to build solid customer relationships, you have to go above and beyond friendly service.
Hiring and retaining the best and brightest customer service staff requires constant evaluation and planning.
The right people will have an enormous impact on your customers’ attitude and the overall profitability of your business.
John MacKenzie is a certified business coach and authorized partner/facilitator for Everything DiSC and Five Behaviours of a Cohesive Team, Wiley Brands. He can be reached at email@example.com.