Monday, September 18, 2017

Customer Service Principles ALWAYS Apply

By Ana Simões

I left the contact center in April of this year to embrace a new role at a start-up company as an IT Recruiter. Please note, my prior experience in the contact center is a reality for many in my region of Portugal.

In my experience, the agents were usually treated as numbers, and were made to feel as if they are expendable. When you leave, you will quickly be replaced.
Unfortunately, these positions in the contact center are often seen as dead-end jobs. To the agents, this may create pushback, anger and frustration that may unexpectedly be directed at customers. While this is not right, and there is no excuse for such behavior, it is an inevitable reality. Fortunately for me, I was quite keen to offering exceptional service.

I am loving my current job! I no longer feel like a number, and I am no longer treated as such. I feel like my work matters and my efforts are noticed. However, when I look back, although I am no longer working as a Customer Support Representative, I noticed enough similarities to understand how working as a CSR has shaped me professionally, and how similar the positions are.

The obvious part is that I still have KPIs and metrics that allow my superiors to assess my evolution.
But, the greatest similarity resides in the fact that we are in the business of providing services and support. I am in contact with potential candidates, with the Sales team that act as liaison with our clients, and with business partners, which can be recruitment agencies, or consultant agencies, among others.

It feels natural to apply the principals I learned while working in customer support. I do my best to find the best match for each job request we receive, and I also provide feedback to both candidates and coworkers. There are times a candidate is not selected, or sometimes we do not have a match for a given profile. In those moments, e
mpathy plays an important role. In addition, I do my best to be clear, concise, and transparent. I also strive to provide the best possible customer service.

You’ve read correctly! I said customer service. After all, they are my customers.

To the candidates, I am selling a service: a potential job that might interest them and might make them choose to be part of my team.
To our clients, I am offering the best candidates for the job. And, I always provide a few lines on why I consider those specific candidates the best options for the job.

I am a strong believer in treating people like they matter, despite their roles, because they do matter.
My coworkers matter. Our candidates – my potential coworkers – matter. Our clients matter. We are all important for our (tiny, but growing) IT company to be successful. And this is what makes a company grow and be successful: showing people they are important.

Ana Simões is an experienced customer service trainer and recruiter. Her background as a psychologist provides her with an insight into the mind and behavior of customers and agents. The result is a unique, personal approach to the contact center.

Connect with Ana on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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