We’ve all been on the receiving line before. The one where the customer service personnel on the other line clearly is not listening to the issue, does not care, is hard to understand, rude, too quiet, TOO LOUD – the list goes on.
When serving as an expert customer service representative, you are doing just that. Representing a greater set of values, a mission statement, you are representing what it means to act with care, compassion and conviction.
Let the words of great leaders, speakers and thinkers inspire you to give each customer your best. Post them in your office, write them on sticky notes around your monitor, and repeat one until it becomes an intrinsic mantra. Who knows, you may just make their day.
On being a leader
Being in a leadership role on a customer service team does not necessarily make a leader; being in a non-leadership role does not mean you cannot be a leader. Take initiative and be the leader you would want to work for. Integrate these key tactics into your daily life: do what you say you will do, keep the vision at the forefront and hold yourself and others accountable.
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
— John F. Kennedy
“Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.”
— Dianne Feinstein
Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.
— General Colin Powell
True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but about lifting others up.
— Sheri L. Dew
“I start each day by telling myself what a positive influence I am on this world.”
— Peter Daisyme
On being a good listener
Naturally, with the profession of customer service, listening is a critical attribute of an excellent representative. That is often easier said than done. A million thoughts, frustrations, worries, and daydreams can drift in and out, diverting your attention away from the speaker. Active, engaged listening aids in understanding the customer’s issues, needs, and want so that you may better serve them.
“Listening has the quality of the wizard’s alchemy. It has the power to melt armor and to produce beauty in the midst of hatred.”
― Brian Muldoon
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”
― Roy H. Williams
“You learn when you listen. You earn when you listen not just money, but respect.”
― Harvey Mackay
“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.”
― Wilson Mizner
“Your ability to move others into appropriate, timely, and effective action is largely determined by the consequences of your speaking and listening.”
― Suzanne Mayo Frindt
On being a team player
Teams are created for multiple reasons. Whether it is to win the game or reach the third quarter customer satisfaction goals, there is power in multiple minds coming and working smart together.
On the flip side there is also the danger of clashing personalities, credit claiming, and slacking off in a group. To be a good team player, contribute to the team in a way that drives productivity forward and does not hold the group back from succeeding.
“People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”
― Mary Kay Ash
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”
― Napoleon Hill
“Synergy — the bonus that is achieved when things work together harmoniously.”
― Mark Twain
People achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.
― Dr. Allan Fromme
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
― Ryunosuke Satoro
On effective communication
Along with good listening comes the necessary skill of effective communication. Utilize strong verbiage and offer clear instructions that offer the recipient of the communication little room for doubt. Speak clearly and address problems at hand as opposed to diverting the conversation. Do not be afraid to take the time needed to fully offer a solution as opposed to a quick, less straightforward answer.
“Words of comfort, skillfully administered, are the oldest therapy known to man. ”
— Louis Nizer
“Communicate unto the other person that which you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.”
— Aaron Goldman
“If you don’t give people the information, they’ll make up something to fill the void.”
— Carla O’Dell
“Customers will want to talk to you if they believe you can solve their problems.”
— Jeffrey Gitomer
“People don’t want to communicate with an organization or a computer. They want to talk to a real, live, responsive, responsible person who will listen and help them get satisfaction.”
— Theo Michelson
On being patient
No one ever said customer service was easy. Fielding questions, complaints and problems all day can be tiresome and easily frustrating. Above-and-beyond customer service needs representatives that give each customer a calm, respectful demeanor. Plus, according to a 2011 study from the University of Toronto, a lack of patience makes the job less enjoyable and makes us worse at doing difficult things (like providing exceptional customer service).
“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.”
“Before you can consider a problem water under the bridge, you must first patiently work on removing the dam.”
― Michelle C. Ustaszeski
“Our patience will achieve more than our force.”
― Edmund Burke
“Learning patience can be a difficult experience, but once conquered you will find life is easier.”
― Catherine Pulsifer
“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength.”
― Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
On being positive
Practice positivity as part of your role. Show your positivity through everyday actions with customers and team members. Positivity can be demonstrated through manners as well as daily encouragement to the self and others. Be eager and take interest in the extended relationship with the customer.
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
― Norman Vincent Peale
“Only in the world of mathematics do two negatives multiply into a positive.”
― Abby Morel
“Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.”
― Roy Bennett
“My purpose: to lift your spirit and to motivate you.”
― Mavis Staples
On being tenacious
Tenacity is a quality of being unyielding to anything less. Drive, determination, and spunk in your work can help all parties achieve desirable results. Do not give up when the going gets tough. Be purposeful with intentions and steadfast with working toward solutions.
“It doesn’t matter how hard and rough life could be, you’ve a great ability to affect your future and people around you.”
― Alexander Zalan, Inspiration Per Moment
“When faced with a challenge, your size is not as important as having a strong and tenacious spirit.”
― Melchor Lim
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
― Maria Robinson
“You need to believe in yourself and what you do. Be tenacious and genuine.”
― Christian Louboutin
“The secret to success is to start from scratch and keep on scratching.”
― Dennis Green
On being respectful
Demonstrating respect to a customer will in turn garner you respect. When both the consumer and the company have mutual respect, answers can be more easily found without extraneous emotions in the way. Respect in the customer service profession can mean considering the perspective the customer is coming from.
“Don’t treat your customers like a bunch of purses and wallets.”
– Chris Brogan
“Thank your customer for complaining and mean it. Most will never bother to complain. They’ll just walk away.”
― Marilyn Suttle
“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.”
― Blaise Pascal
“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.”\ ― Nelson Boswell
“If you make the customer a promise… make sure you deliver it.”
― Merv Griffin
On being calm
Angry customers can thwart an productive conversation. Even though the first reaction may be snap back, ease into the conversation and never argue back. Keeping calm can be shown through expressing sympathy and illustrating support for finding a solution. When necessary, know when to apologize to the customer keep the situation neutral.
“Let peace be your middle name.”
― Ntathu Allen
“Peace begins with a smile.”
― Mother Teresa
“The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Remain calm in every situation because peace equals power.”
― Joyce Meyer
“It was only from an inner calm that man was able to discover and shape calm surroundings.”
― Stephen Gardiner
Being innovative in customer service is about finding unique ways to approach difficult problems. Constantly learning about your field and exceptional customer service techniques will allow for increased and novel ways to be more productive and proficient.
“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them. ”
― Henry Ford
“Why wait to be memorable?”
― Tony Robbins
“It would be a terrific innovation if you could get your mind to stretch a little further than the next wisecrack.”
― Katharine Hepburn
“There’s no good idea that cannot be improved on.”
― Michael Eisner
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”
― Brene Brown
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