Avoid the Rut
By Paul Macdonald
Customer service is all about solving someone else’s problems. It’s the start of a relationship that can last for a long time with recurring experiences driving revenues, profits and employment longevity.
It all starts with the customer service representative (CSR) that answers the phone. A CSR can be a powerful, challenging and rewarding job. It’s powerful to know that a CSR has the means to return normalcy to a customer’s daily routine. It’s a challenge every day to exceed customers’ expectations for a myriad of reasons. It’s rewarding when customers and employers show sincere appreciation for the efforts of a job well done. Not just anyone can excel as a CSR; it takes a special personality, attitude and regular coaching to succeed.
It’s long been said that the more experience you have, the better you become at whatever it is you’re doing. That is not necessarily so with customer service. In fact, the more you do this job, the harder it is to remain good at it. When answering 30 to 50 or more phone calls a day, it’s hard not to fall into the “CSR rut.” The CSR rut happens when a CSR becomes hardened, speaks in a monotone and is uncaring of customers’ needs.
Working in customer service is almost always negative and can get depressing listening to others complain all the time about their failed appliances. A seasoned CSR will unconsciously anticipate the conversation, often rudely interrupting the customer to get to the bare necessities and complete the call. When this happens, CSRs put their needs before the customers, inverting the fundamental foundation of customer service: solving someone else’s problems. Some customers will respond to the CSR’s rude behavior, some will ignore it and some will just not do business with that company because of their experience with that CSR.
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