Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Is Customer Service Dead?

By: John Turner

Is customer service dead? 

You have a product you just bought, and it is not exactly what you expected. Now, you

dread picking up the phone to call customer service. Every time you call you get treated like you are a hassle even though you're a paying customer who has not got what you paid for. You don't want to get upset and speak to multiple reps and supervisors who just don't care one way or the other. What is good customer service? Where has it gone?

What is good customer service?

Excellent customer service is treating others how they want to be treated. This is one step beyond the golden rule which is to treat others how you would want to be treated. The challenge with the golden rule, while an excellent concept all of us do not like, enjoy, or want the same things. For example, you as a customer may like to hear specials and get to know the salesperson. But your brother like to get straight down to business and would be annoyed and not buy from an agent who dealt with him in that way. This understanding is not only the basis of customer service but, is the core secret to successful communication and relationships.

What should agents do after understanding this?

After learning this core secret, there are some key fundamentals of customer service.

  • Practice strong soft skills 
  • Listen for Understanding 
  • Have Empathy 
  • Handle the customers concern completely 

Practicing strong soft skills

Please, and Thank are magic words just like your mother told you. Even if there is nothing that you can do for a client, treating them with respect and kindness can get you a long way. Because some customer service reps don't take the time to speak courteously, this can put you a step above the rest.

Listening for Understanding

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! We should be listening twice as much as we are speaking. However, just listening is not sufficient. We need to be sure that we understand what's going on completely. One of the best ways to do this is by asking probing questions and briefly summarizing what you have heard to ensure full comprehension.

Have Empathy 

Many people cannot make a distinction between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for another person but having empathy for another is putting yourself in their shoes. Having empathy ties into listening for understanding because how can you truly put yourself in someone else's shoes if you don't understand them in full?

Handle the customers concern completely

If you have ever called into customer service, you are probably like most people, and you HATE to be transferred around the world. You have to listen to annoying elevator music, and you'll explain problem over and over again like a broken record. This can be alleviated if the fundamentals discussed previously are done, it should be easy for the employee to handle the customers concerns completely. Avoid transferring calls or sending the customer to another department at all costs. Do all you can to assist the customer and handle everything that you can.

Customer service is alive!
It may seem as if "the luck of the draw" determines how you will be handled by customer service. I assure customer service is NOT dead! There are still organizations and people out there who have a nostalgic view of how customers should be treated.

John Turner wants to live in a world where work can be engaging and fun. He's a call center professional, gamification enthusiast, and entrepreneur, recognized for creating innovative solutions in call center settings and increasing engagement of employees.

When he’s not leading his team, learning, studying, or implementing gamification, you can find him reading books on a variety of different subjects. John enjoys watching movies as if he's a film critic (especially sci-fi), and spending time with his two beautiful daughters. 

His latest project is the Gamification Awareness Alliance, which will specialize in virtual 3D gamification events coming soon in the next few months. Learn how the power of games can be used to increase employee engagement, motivation, and morale at gamificationawarenessalliance.com 

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