Working in customer service is challenging! If your job is to take care of a customer or client your responsibilities may include providing upgrades or refunds, finding the best solution or outcome for their needs, troubleshooting a problem, or taking a verbal assault for something that might be totally out of your control. The work can be extremely rewarding as you build fans of your product or service – or it can send you to the deep end as you deal with rude, selfish jackasses. This frames just a smidgen of what a customer service rep might have to do.
Having spent the last 10 years working closely with clients in my branding firm and now with iThemes Media, I have experienced both sides; the highs and lows. It has given me a new perspective on how I deal with customer service people from other companies and a respect of this sometimes thankless job.
So what can you do if you have to contact a customer service specialist of another company and desire to have a great outcome?
- BE POLITE AND COURTEOUS: You will get more from the customer rep if you don’t shout or become demanding. Remember “please and thank you” are the magic words. Treat them as you want to be treated and remember they constantly deal with impossible people and it’s really nice to talk with someone who is pleasant.
- BE CLEAR AND CONCISE ABOUT YOUR NEED: It will benefit you to have the required or necessary information handy as well as knowing the desired objective you hope to achieve. Clients reps can’t always read your mind and having to sort through info delays you getting a faster, positive result.
- LEAVE EMOTIONS OUT: I know this is hard to do, but if you enter into a situation where you are already upset or angry, it escalates the problem and lessens the chance of resolve. Cussing at customer reps or using threats are not going to get you very far and may get you in trouble. On the other hand, if you play nicely chances are you will walk away happy.
- SHOW APPRECIATION: We all love to be thanked for our work, and even if the service agent can’t give you the perfect solution, show your appreciation with a simple thank you. There are times when the rep cannot bring the resolution you deserve because their hands are tied – it really isn’t their fault — and they will value your kind input. Sometimes I have felt guilty after a transaction was over and went back and worked for a better solution just because the person treated me well. It could happen for you!
I cannot emphasize enough that if you are pleasant to deal with, the customer service rep will go out of their way to make you happy, but if you are a butthole, you will definitely reap what you sow. Be cognizant of this fact and you will get great customer service.