Filling a customer service job is often one of the most crucial parts of running a successful business. While top level management roles may seem to be more influential and important, the impact of good customer service on a business’s reputation and profitability should not be underestimated. Therefore a knowledgeable business will take customer service employment seriously and provide a customer service job with enough incentives to make the employee happy in their role. As a job that deals directly with the public, be it face to face, over the phone or via email, a contented employee is much more likely to go the extra mile for the customer and ultimately the business and its reputation. A customer service job suits people with a friendly disposition and a predilection for helping people out, a role that often brings its own rewards and satisfaction when carried out well.
The majority of businesses will have a customer service employment requirement so you are sure to find a customer service job in an area of business that appeals to you, for example I.T, the hospitality industry, the health industry and retail to name a few. This means that if you are born for customer service you will certainly find a role within your field of interest and skill set. A customer service role will not necessarily have the words ‘customer service’ in the title as many common jobs such as receptionists are inherently customer service based. A customer service job requires some key attributes, most essential among them is an ability to get on well with and communicate effectively with people in a myriad of different circumstances. For example you may be dealing with a particularly difficult customer one minute who has a genuine grievance that requires delicate handling to then helping out an already happy customer who needs little more than a friendly face and some advice.
A great customer service employee can cope with any type of problem that comes their way. The key is to be adaptable, have an ability to communicate with people according to their different needs and consistently resolve issues in a way that meets their expectations of the company you are representing. Failing to deliver satisfactory customer service can be enough to drive a customer away permanently. What’s more they will often influence their friends and acquaintances as they recount their experience. If it is a bad experience word of mouth can often do a substantial amount of damage, especially if you are a small business operating in an area with a small customer base. Businesses like independently owned restaurants, hair salons, beauty salons or car mechanics can suffer greatly if a customer is not happy with their service, or any steps taken to rectify a problem.
Customer service employment in larger nationwide or multinational businesses will be different from that in a smaller independent business. Larger corporations will often have dedicated customer service centres where all calls are directed to. They will also tend to have a corporate identity and ethos with a very defined and more rigid approach to customer service. If you undertake customer service employment with a business like this you are likely to undergo extensive training and are usually expected to follow the company policy in customer service related issues. Stepping outside of these rules can often only be sanctioned by a supervisor or manager whereas a smaller independent business will often let you use your discretion to solve problems quickly and effectively.
Good customer service representatives will be expected to know all of a company’s products and services inside out including the infrastructure of the company, as it is thorough knowledge of these that equips you to deal with any customer service problem that comes your way. If you are working for a large corporation and have secured a customer service job with them you are likely to undergo some intensive in house training so that you are well versed in company policy and culture when it comes to their relationship with customers. You may also consider taking some courses in customer service at college. There are a number of professional courses you can undertake, such as those provided by the Institute of Customer Service. The company you work for may provide these for you. The advantage of a qualification from a professionally recognised body is that you will have been assessed against nationally recognised standards and the qualifications and skills you achieve should be transferrable and help you if you need to find other employment or seek career development in the customer service field in the future. Such training will help you deal effectively with customers, develop problem solving skills and be more adaptable at dealing with issues on an ad hoc basis; a crucial element of customer service.
The key attributes for a customer service employee are a genuine desire to help people, whether that is in a more serious health care environment or helping people to have the best holiday of a lifetime in the hospitality industry. When good customer service job
has been delivered, particularly if you are able to turn around a bad situation, that customer will remember the service they received and are much more likely to come back for repeat business. Face to face communication is one of the hardest and most difficult aspects of customer service, as once words have been said they cannot be taken back.
For this reason verbal communication skills are essential and an understanding of how tone and phrase can be perceived by the listener. The ability to think on your feet is a major advantage here! If you feel more suited to office work and written communication there are a number of customer service roles that will enable you to work behind the scenes, but similarly making someone’s experience special. And don’t forget that it is very easy for management to test your skills by sending in anonymous observers with a customer service issue. Similarly in a world where blogging, tweeting and constant updates are sent around the world a poor customer experience can suddenly mushroom into very bad PR for a business. As the public face of a customer service representative must always be professional and on their guard!