Having spent approximately the last 9 years in various customer service positions, I have encountered my fair share of interesting situations. I’ve experienced everything from furious clients screaming at me to trying to take an order from a person who (I could only guess) was calling from a daycare center with all the accompanying background noises. Here are a few tips to help newer CSR’s make it through each day with poise.
1) Get yourself a THICK skin. If you tend to be a more sensitive person, don’t despair. You CAN develop thicker skin. How? It’s all about your frame of mind. Mentally separate yourself from whatever situation you’ve been plunged into and try to remember that the other party is just venting their frustration. True, some individuals are particularly skilled at finding the most cutting, personal remarks. Ignore them and rise above the situation. They don’t know you.
2) Take a 5-to-10 minute break (if it’s possible for you to break away) after dealing with a difficult client – this can work miracles in restoring your personal equilibrium. The last thing you want to do is let that negative energy someone just bestowed upon you so generously spread to another client or (just as bad) a co-worker.
3) Prepare your workstation at the beginning of each day so you are ready to take on the day ahead. For example, I always start my day by opening ALL programs that I could possibly need to reference client or account information (which saves me important seconds) throughout the day. Also, I always put together “cheat sheets” for myself when starting a new position. This is a small step that goes a long way towards making each interaction as smooth as possible.
4) The hold button is only your friend for about 30-45 seconds. Don’t be afraid to place a client on a brief hold if you need a moment to finds answers. But keep that hold-time short. If things are taking longer to iron out than expected, check in with the client and let them know you are hard at work finding a solution/answer for them. One additional note: Try asking your client if they mind your placing them on a brief hold. You might be surprised at how much more positive it keeps the tone of the conversation (compared to the alternative, telling your customer that you are placing them on hold and pushing that hold button the instant the words are out of your mouth).
5) The tone of your voice sets the tone of the interaction. When your tone shouts “I don’t want to be working here and I don’t care about you”, the conversation has nowhere to go but downhill. People can always hear a smile in your voice and 90% of the time (in my own estimation) they will respond accordingly.
In conclusion, I would say all of the above could roughly be summarized as follows: it is your job to take the high road, to be the “bigger person” in all client communications. Being in the customer service field is a constant challenge to your character; responding appropriately can result in great professional and possibly even personal growth.