Without customers, a business doesn’t exist.
Customer Service Representatives are a vital part of an organization.
An effective customer service representative has the temperament and skills to handle all types of personalities.
If you’re looking for a job, you’re sure to see a listing for one or some variation of the title such as Customer Support Specialist, Call Center Agent, Call Center Specialist, Chat Representative, and others. They’re in high demand.
Their duties vary from company to company. However, interacting with customers is their primary duty. Learning how to be an effective customer service representative is helpful when searching for customer service related positions.
Customer Service Representative: The Face of the Company
Whether you visit a company in person or online, a company representative greets you verbally or via chat.
What kind of service do you expect?
If you’re at a physical location, you expect a smile and a willingness to assist unless you’re visiting a location that doesn’t provide personalized service. These locations usually include self-checkout options. You may see a smile and usually have to search for assistance if you can’t find what you need.
Some online companies activate the chat feature to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Additionally, an email address and/or phone number is provided for further assistance. Sometimes, a company has a “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” section on its website to provide you with answers to questions you may have.
What is Your Temperament?
According to merriam-webster.com, temperament refers to a person’s emotional response.
It includes behavioral traits such as sociability, emotionality, activity level, attention level, and persistence.
- Sociability is how sociable you are with others. Are you a chatterbox or a wallflower?
- Emotionality involves how you handle your emotions. Do you fly off the handle or are you easygoing?
- Your activity level refers to your energy level. Is it high or low?
- Attention level deals with your ability to focus or how easily someone can distract you.
- Persistence is the determination you give toward a task or a goal. Are you determined or do you easily throw in the towel?
Studies show a person’s temperament remains consistent throughout adulthood. According to scientists, an estimated 20 to 60 percent of temperament is determined by genetics. Additionally, environmental factors may affect temperament.
Why is Temperament Important?
When a company is looking to hire a representative, they want someone who knows how to handle themselves when interacting with customers.
Handling customers on a daily basis involves the ability to work under stressful conditions. Depending on the company and the situation, most calls are routine and easygoing. However, not everyone is going to be satisfied or easy to calm down. Are you up for the challenge?
For instance, if a customer calls in and yells into the phone and calls you obscene names, how would you respond?
Would you a) take it personally and yell back or b) let the customer exhale and respond with empathy and a willingness to resolve the issue?
Of course, the professional answer to the question is (b). Yelling at the customer is inappropriate, and the customer isn’t accusing you personally. They’re mad about a company-related issue.
Are You Empathetic?
When talking to someone, can you put yourself in their shoes and understand how they feel? If you can, you’re able to see another’s point of view without inserting your own. The ability to show empathy lets the other person know that you’re listening to them. It gives them the feeling of not being alone in the situation. You’ve provided them a sense of community.
Can You Show Compassion?
Compassion goes a step further than empathy. While you understand a person’s dilemma, you want to take steps to alleviate the pain or discomfort.
If a distressed person calls in and mentions they lost a loved one and noticed double charges on their account, how would you respond?
Would you a) greet them, state you’re sorry for their loss, and let them know what you can do to solve the issues on their account or b) greet them and look at the charges on their account?
You’d select (a) because you’re feeding into the caller’s emotions by letting them know you’re going to help them to the best of your ability.
How is Your Reading Comprehension?
Being able to greet and hold a conversation with a customer isn’t the only tasks a customer service representative must do. You must be able to read and understand the company’s policies and procedures. Then, you incorporate your training while interacting with the customers. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
Most companies have internal knowledge pages to assist you in performing your job duties. However, sometimes the information doesn’t come up in your search as quickly as you want such as when you’re on the phone with a customer. Can you handle the stress and avoid dead air? Are you able to scan multiple lines of text and possibly follow charts to provide a solution for the customer?
Do You Possess Multi-Tasking Skills?
Being an over-the-phone customer service representative requires you to multi-task. Some companies require you to use multiple monitors. Plus, you may have to perform some light computer troubleshooting before contacting your company’s IT department.
Additionally, many companies have incorporated team chat rooms for you to enter and participate in. These chat rooms allow you to communicate with your team and manager. You’re expected to keep an eye on the chat room while interacting with customers.
It’s More Than Just Answering the Phone
Your effectiveness as a customer service representative requires you to bring your “A” game. Accepting the position means accepting the good and stressful situations. Sometimes, you’ll have to de-escalate. Other times, you’ll reap the benefits of effectively assisting the customers.
It’s not an easy position to occupy. Many companies have a high turnover rate for their customer service representatives. It takes a special person to handle this position as a professional and not require therapy.
If you have the qualities it takes to succeed in this position, go for it. Remember not to take the negative things a customer says to you personally.