Customer service plays a very important role in an organization. The direct link between the clients and the company are the customer service representatives.
What is customer service?
Customer service is the provision of service to a customer before, during and after a purchase; where a series of activities are designed to enhance the level of customer service satisfaction.
Most publications, when they talk of customer service skills say “being a people`s person” is what takes most credit. I’m not saying it’s not right, but it’s just vague that people out there who are looking to get involved in such a position within a company tend to feel it’s not their perfect spot. It just brings peoples hopes down. One of those people being me; because as I was about to join Tato Auto spares, I was told I wouldn’t be able to cope with it since I’m an introvert. But now that I’m here, I believe I’m doing just fine.I’ve learnt so much from here. It’s a beautiful company, beautiful atmosphere and most of all we’re like a big family. We work as a team. I’ve gained so much experience from this company. I remember being told by one of my supervisors just when I joined, and his exact words were “you will gain experience of 10 years in just one year”. And that same statement was stated to him by his supervisor and so on. It’s like a chain, that never breaks, and the links keep connecting. We believe in hard work and keeping our customers happy. We take customer service as what we are, and not what we do. It’s like a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it your customer interactions.
What I learnt in my everyday job is:
I learnt to be patient and professional in my interactions with the customers. I believe that great service beats fast service. Now, I don’t use “patience” as an excuse of doing things slothfully. I noticed that the faster I serve my customer, the happier he is. And he comes back to me next time he needs anything.
In my daily contact with the customers, I have to deal with very angry and irate individuals. But my job is to find solutions to their problems and help them. I learnt to be a “rock” when the customer comes at me frustrated and stumped.
2- Knowledge of product
This is the most important part of customer service. Personally, I try working on this every single day. I try to get the littlest knowledge of what I need to learn. Of course if you don’t know your product, you wouldn’t know how to help your customers. It’s as clear as crystal. I started from scratch. I knew nothing about spare parts to be honest. But then I learnt things slowly with my will power. I was willing to learn. I received good training. I learnt so much, and I’m still learning. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. I also noticed that the more you know, the more confidence you build in the customer.
3- Communication skills.
Now, this type of work requires excellent interpersonal communication skills as you will be directly in contact with the customers on a daily basis. I used to get anxious and I had no idea what to even say to the clients. Then I realized that all you have to do is be real, be clear! Keep it simple and straight to the point. I usually greet them and approach them in a way that’s appropriate and fits the individual situation and nothing more, because I learnt that the customer doesn’t need your life story, or hear about your bad day, he just needs good service.
The most important thing I learnt was that I have to keep my customers aware of what’s in it for them to do business with us. They need to know that they need us as much as we need them.
4- Stay calm
I believe that the best customer service representative is one who keeps calm even when the customer is forcing you to lose your temper. Let’s face it, we all get to a point we just want to scream at the top of ours lungs and pull our hair out but we struggle to keep that smile on our face instead so it doesn’t affect anyone around us.so no matter how much I feel like i want to jump off the edge of the cliff, I just keep my cool. Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem I have to face, but I always keep in mind; I am not doing the customer a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. We are in business to serve their needs.
5- Time management
One thing I hate doing, is wasting time. Be it mine or the customers. I know that customers should be my number one priority and that I should be willing to go the extra mile for each of my customer, which I would do at any time needed, but if I was to try to go above the actual expectations, I’m just going to be wasting both our times. If something isn’t possible, I let the customer know. I can always apologize and persuade him later. I had to understand that sometimes you simply cannot help the customer; no matter how hard you try, because even if you try, you probably won’t succeed and you’ll just create more problems.
From experience, what I can advise is that you shouldn’t make promises unless you will keep them. A good relationship with the customer is reliability. Make sure you keep your promise and meet the deadline you proposed, otherwise don’t say it. Because nothing is more annoying to customers than a broken one.
Deal with the customers complaints. Yes I know nobody likes hearing complaints. Let’s get real there will always be this one person who wants to pull you down just because they had a bad day, or they’re just born-complainers, simply grumpy since first the day you ever communicated with them. But sometimes you just have to be attentive and actually listen; you might be able to please this person.
Be helpful, be courteous and knowledgeable. Pay attention to what they’re saying. Nobody likes to repeat what they said. Pay attention to both positive and negative feedback you receive. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
This work can be tough at times, you’re going to have problems at one point or the other, but remember you’re serving a customer, not a life sentence, learn how to enjoy your work.
Give them more than they expect to get because we know the quote that goes “he profits most, who serves best”