As a baby boomer I have held my share of customer service positions over the years. I am a
firm believer that no matter what business you're in, you are going to give some level of
customer service to someone. Bus drivers give it to passengers by the way they greet them,
fast-food works give it by the way they interact with customers and take their orders.
Department store employees give it by the way they offer assistance to customers looking to
make purchases. Even online merchants must deliver good customer service if they want
With more and more Millennials entering the job market and primarily into customer service
positions, it is imperative that they understand what it means to deliver their best. No doubt
about it, young people lack soft skills. They would rather send a text to give you an answer than to pick up the phone or, better yet, talk face-to-face.
Once while working in a call center, I overheard a young person comment to another that she couldn't stand old people because they just couldn't get technology. Ironically, it was her role as the "tech expert" to help the person on the phone who "couldn't get it."
Here are some tips for Millennials in customer service:
Smile when greeting someone in person or over the phone. Smiles can be heard over the
Use age appropriate greetings and avoid referring to older people as "guys." Saying "yes
ma'am" or "no sir" shows a level of respect you have for the person.
Engage with the customer in a positive way. Ask them how their day is going and let them know how happy you are to be able to help them.
Show patience: This is especially important if you're working in a call center environment.
Even if you've tried to explain something over and over, remain calm until they get it. Sighing or making snide comments like, "I don't see how come you don't understand this!" will only lead to more frustration for you and the person you’re talking to.
Remain calm. When a customer starts yelling or being otherwise rude, there is nothing to be gained by responding in a similar manner. In fact, that will probably escalate hostilities. Maintain control of yourself, even if the customer’s tirade makes you feeling like yelling yourself.
Don’t take it personally. Remember, the customer is not angry with you, they are displeased with the performance of your product or the quality of the service you provide. Your personal feelings are beside the point.
Use your best listening skills. The first thing an angry customer wants is to vent. To do so, they need someone to listen—and, for better or worse, you are that person. Listening patiently can defuse a situation, as long as the customer feels acknowledged in his or her complaint. Hear them out. When they are done talking, summarize what you’ve heard and ask any questions to further clarify their complaint.
Finally, give people MORE than they expect.
Beverly Mahone is a veteran journalist, author, coach, and professional speaker. After more than 30 years in radio and TV news, Beverly created BAM Enterprises. Among her clients are Baby-Boomers and Seniors who are re-entering the job market. She also works with employers to help them understand how to recruit and train Millennials. Beverly has appeared on numerous radio and TV talk programs including MSNBC. She has been featured in the New York Times and has written five books including the Amazon Best Sellers How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder and The Baby Boomer/Millennial Divide: Making it Work at WORK.