I started working at the age of 18 and my first job was in customer service. Luckily for me, as a highschool graduate with social anxiety, it was a call center job and double luck for being in the chat/text department. Being that I was already raised with manners, I used those skills in my position as a chat representative and my supervisors loved me for that. I then used those skills for jobs after that and all of my managers even store owners complimented me on it.
For this blog post I would love to share advice/tips on working in customer service.
- Be Empathetic-
I started off with the trickiest tip because it is the most important. This is one of the skills I just grew up with. Putting myself in other’s shoes made it easy for me to get along with everyone. Dealing with customers, you’re going to have to see from their perspective even though it may be hard. The first step in being empathetic is being aware of the customer’s feelings. For example,if you are in fast food; the customer walks in and from the first second you want to look at body language. Are they storming in with a bag of food or a receipt? They’re angry and their order was probably messed up. This is where you slip in with the, “I understand completely how you feel, I will make sure to get this resolved immediately, I am so sorry about that.” You don’t even have to hear what they have to say to help them, just being cognizant of the customer’s feelings will lead you to know to how to help them. There will be times where you don’t agree with the customer, but you’re going to have to find a way to make them happy to avoid ruining your mood. And there is nothing more that can make a customer happy than an employee/manager understanding where they are coming from.
2. Be a great listener
With my experience from working at a call center, I learned that most customers come in or call in to complain because they just want someone to talk to. I will always remember one call I had. the second I asked for the customer’s name, they just went off on me. Lucky for me, it was my first call for the morning, leading to a great start *please note the sarcasm*. They said something along the lines of the company taking all of their money, and them missing their light bill and their lights turned off on their children, yada yada yada. I sat there on mute and listened to everything they had to say and by the time they were done I told them, honestly that I understood where they were coming from. There will be times where a customer would yell at you for saying that you understand because they will think that you don’t. So you can always say, “I’m sorry you’re going through this…” Reassure them that everything will turn out okay and everything happens for a reason. If you have nothing to say, that is the most safest thing you can tell a customer that is very vulnerable. Silence isn’t really good for a customer who just spilled out things like that. So what you can do is listen to the customer and make sure that they are done before they say anything, because you will only make the customer even more irritated if you interrupt them. Then you try to move the conversation back to the actual problem the customer is having with the company and if you can, you can waive their fees, refund them for that month or provide them with 2 free months of a subscription. This will most likely lift their spirits knowing that they don’t have to worry about one bill for a couple of months.
3. Don’t mirror the Customer’s attitude
Nothing makes a customer or anyone more aggravated than someone mirroring their attitude, especially when they are mad. The best thing you can do to deescalate a situation is, show worry more than being smiley. You don’t want the customer to think you’re laughing at them, so try to look worried and listen to the customers complaint. Also, please watch the tone of your voice. Whether you always have an aggressive tone or someone made you upset earlier that week, never let that out on a customer. That’s why I have two tones, a tone I use with my friends and a tone I use with my managers, customers and my eldest family members, just to show respect. I call that second tone my customer service voice, it’s high pitched and gentle. This voice seems to calm a customer ina way and I’ve seen it happen face to face. A customer would come in to complain about something, i’d listen ton them and make sure I understand and then I would speak to them in my customer service voice and their eyebrows would lower, their frown would turn to a slight smile and their voice would lower. Now imagine if I mirrored their attitude. Their attitude would get worse, they would complain to the manager about me, their issue wouldn’t get resolved and now I have a write up. Never never never, let a customer get to you. They don’t know you so you can’t allow them to easily upset you. Taking things personally will only escalate the issue rather than de-escalate it.
These tips has helped me in my experience of customer service and I see a lot of employees that lack them. Whatever job I have, I take it very seriously, no matter the pay. That’s where everyone else is different, they know that the job that they have is temporary so they don’t take it seriously and give the bare minimum. With me following these tips, I’ve earned 2 raises, a promotion, and recognition from the higher ups, and that’s all I need to keep working hard.
I hope you guys can take these tips with you anywhere, even outside of work. They can take you a long way.