Expert Angle: How to Prepare the Right Agents for Your Customers
| Published: May 08, 2013 | Comments
The real focus of establishing optimal customer satisfaction is a combination of expectation and mindset. Presentability is also a key factor to consider, but it’s good to learn in small chunks, so we’ll save that for another time. For this moment, let’s dive right in!
What Agents Need to Expect
Unless you’re in a particular niche service industry, most people aren’t going to be contacting you with a smile on their face and cash burning a hole in their pocket to spend it on whatever it is you have to offer. For example, if you’re in the business as a plumber, auto repair technician, electrician, exterminator, or anything even remotely related then you already know people are calling you because they have a problem, and people with problems are NOT typically happy about it.
So they’re not happy, that’s to be expected… or so you’d think. When customer service representatives are getting bombarded with upset customers, the reps themselves tend to start getting upset themselves. Who wants to listen to people complain all day? Well, that’s part of an expectation you need to set, and most people who take a customer service role might be getting into it because they enjoy socializing and have an outgoing personality… but what they also need is tenacity.
The Right Mindset for the Job
Unhappy customer service representatives bleed a subtly irritated attitude over into your customers already unhappy mood, which is a recipe for disaster. Clients – current or potential – are already upset about needing you to fix a problem, and they’ll let you know it. They’ll blatantly compare your service to other companies offering, “the same thing for less,” (so they’ll tell you) because the fact that they have to pay money for it bothers them even more, so the situation needs to be handled effectively and professionally… so how do you go about that?
Firstly, bear in mind that people enjoy dealing with other people who have a positive attitude… but people also love to complain about their problems, to vent and offlay their frustrations. Let’s suppose you’re a business owner (Hey, maybe you actually are). If you’ve got an employee assigned to handling customers and that employee has an especially sensitive demeanor, one who takes customer gripes very personally, they’re probably going to become quite unhappy over time and either quit their job or lash out once they’ve had one too many sour clients. We both know that’s bad for morale and bad for business.
You need somebody level-headed in the position who will be friendly and fair, to be firm on policy but understanding of the customer’s concerns. Once again, you’d think this is common sense, but lots of employees go into a job with zero experience and the expectation of a paycheck as the driving force behind their own participation.
They need to know what they’re getting into. They need to know that they’re going to be dealing with grumpy people a lot of the time, and unreasonably pissed off people some of the time. Have you ever contacted a business by phone and spoken to a bellyaching service rep, and think to yourself how unprofessional they are and how much you would prefer to AVOID doing business with them? This is how unhappy representatives can make clients feel.
Keeping Things on Level
Think about this: People are never hired for customer service positions because they have a bad personality. They’re employed because they seem like a good fit for the job. However, at some point along the way things start going south, they become bitter, and that’s usually because they don’t have the right personality for the particular position, which only happened because they didn’t really understand what they were getting themselves into when they started.
If you’re in the job market, keep this valuable information in mind, and if you’re an employer, be level with your prospective employees about what they need to expect in the position, even if it requires brutal honesty. At the end of the day, having the right customer service reps in place will mean the difference between whether you have more satisfied customers, higher workforce morale, and a bigger bottom line… or whether you don’t.
People Management, Learning & Development
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