The 5 Crucial Characteristics for People in Customer Service
If we think of companies as armies in a fight over customers, then we can see customer service as the frontline of their operations. Support agents are the soldiers in new markets, eager to win over customers at the expense of your competitors.
However, if not armed with the essential competences, support agents can be undermining your business quests and putting at risk losing the whole war. Service employees must be equipped with the right tools and trained to excel in customer service.
Lets take a look at some of the characteristics you should look for in a great support agent:
Knowledge of the Product
How bad is it when not even the employees from a company know about the product they are selling. Can you imagine how bad this looks in the mind of the consumers?
Unfortunately, many times support employees are too green to be blue. Yet they are already out there talking to your customers, representing your company. Customer support agents need to show that they are perfectly capable of talking about your product.
Even though they don’t have to be experts in the technology behind your product, they need to be able to explain to customers what they are looking to know or, at least, know where to find information to answer them. Being knowledgeable communicates trust.
To reach this stage it's important that your employees are comfortable to ask questions to their colleagues and superiors. When service employees don’t know the answer to a specific question or problem, they shouldn't bluff their way through.
It's better for service employees to admit they don't know the answer at the moment and to take an effort to find the right answer. This sype of honesty is sure to bind customers.
Empathy is a crucial ability for service agents, the art of putting yourself in the position of another person. Empathy allows a service employee to keep his cool even when an irrational customer shouts at him for a mistake that he didn't have anything to do with.
The empathic employee understands that a failing service or product is frustrating. By showing the customer that he understands her position, the customer can calm down in the knowledge that her position is not undervalued and adequate actions will be taken to correct the failure.
Creating empathy means more than being nice or educated to your guests. Being empathic means having a natural understanding of the other’s point of view. Empathy helps customer service representatives deal with all types of customers no matter their anxiety or anger levels.
“Put your customer first” is an old maxim. However, for support service teams the customer is usually placed not first but in the centre, as the major and most important business asset. Service employees need a customer focus and should be willing to bear any situation to make sure the customer remains happy with your service. Service agents should be able to provide solutions to the customer to satisfy its expectations.
Even though service employees might be assessed on results’ metrics (such as speed in response or number of customers processed), it’s important that they are able to keep their focus on the customer to solve his problem.
Patience & Flexibility
The daily work as a service employee includes handling multiple customers at the same time, or at least one after the other. Each of them comes in a different mood - from the happy bubbly to the fast and furious. Support agents need to be able to respond to all of them with the same quality of service.
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That's why customer service agents need the capacity to work under pressure while remaining patient in every interaction. At the end of the day what matters is the way the customer was handled, not the reason he came to the operator in the first place.
Test agents’ patience to the limit and give them insights about the correct way of solving issues quickly and effective so that they always know what to do and keep their problem-solving “authority” among customers.
Last but not least, customer service representatives must have language skills. Starting from their mother tongue, or the main language they will communicate in, service agents should be able to provide support in an educated, respectful way. As previously mentioned, every customer is different and their expectations about your service are also different.
Good service employees are sensitive to language style and can tailor their style to each individual customer. We devoted an article to some language tips for chatting with customers, take a look .