The role and understanding of customer service has changed a lot in the recent years. We talk a lot about customer service representatives vs customers vs management and the communication and correlation between all three parties. Our goal is to help companies to offer better customer service but we can’t stress enough how important is appreciating customer service representatives who serve your customers every day. There is always lack of good employees in service sector and this is not always just because of lower salaries but also the society’s attitude towards customer service representatives.
This time we’d like to talk about how customer service can be dependant on customer’s attitude to customer service representative.
There’s a very well known saying ‘Customer is the King’ but there is also a saying ‘Customer Service Representative is not a Robot’. The communication in customer service is built on both – the attitude of customer and customer service representative. As a company your job is to choose the best customer service representative and train them to be the best but there are factors that you can not change – your customer’s attitude. Sometimes the responsibility of good customer service does not rely 100% on customer service representative.
The customer’s view is not always objective when saying the customer service representative was rude and unhelpful. It’s very often when customers are upset already when they call and especially when they have been on hold for a long time.
Customer service representatives must deal with client’s bad mood, clients who swear, clients who are rude and for some reason just think they are better than the person serving them. Sometimes being dissatisfied with service might be justified but not always the guilt relies on the person serving us but in the lack of training provided by the company.
It’s not always black and white. Customer service representative might be trained to be an emotionless army who should be able to deal with any situations. Between juggling multiple systems to search for accurate information, being required to meet certain service levels, and still managing to be kind over the phone to a faceless, screaming customer, a customer service rep doesn’t exactly have it easy. It’s also very possible that before taking the call customer service representative has just gotten off the line with another angry customer, and maybe a few more before that. In fact, that could be what their entire days was like.
Instead of griping about the long hold time when the phone is picked up say something like ‘wow, it must be really crazy there today”. Being pleasant and empathetic will certainly set you apart from the last angry customer they might have just been hung up on.
People in customer service, either in shopping malls or restaurants tend to work in very long shifts usually 12-14 hours. Sometimes the lunch breaks are 15- 30 minutes or need to be cancelled or postponed. In Estonia most of the shops are open on the weekends until 9pm and grocery shops until 11pm while in other European countries shops are closed on Sundays and only open until 6pm on Saturdays. The salaries are comparably low and people also have lives outside their jobs, families waiting at home and friends.
Working in service industry is definitely not an easy job but every job has it’s pros and cons. It’s just a choice as any other position and this is why customer service representatives should always be treated with respect as you would treat anyone else.
It’s very common that managers look things from their perspective and always have something to say about customer service. At the same time customer service representative always tend to look things from their point of view. Customer blames service and people working in service blame management and management blames customer service.
Let’s not forget that sometimes we can’t do much about the attitude of the client and you just need to have more faith in your people. As team manager you must train your people, prepare them for any kind of clients and trust them. As customer service representative you must try to adjust with different situations and different characters and not take it personally when clients have bad mood.
As client – you need to respect people working in customer service cause customer service representative is a person too and wants to offer you the best experience, so allow them to do so by being nice. We all want better customer service society and need to give our part in it.