10 Things Customer Service Reps Want to Tell You
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Hold, Please1 of 11
Here's a look at a hilarious Woman's Day story by Amanda Greene.— Glo
When something goes wrong with a cable bill, hotel reservation or anything else, there's one person whom we take our frustration out on: the customer service representative. We spoke to experts to find out everything they wish customers knew—from the best way to score a fast resolution to how not to start a call.
Here to Help2 of 11
1. We really do want to help. If you're experiencing a problem, it's understandable you might be frustrated by the time you're connected with a customer service rep. But starting that call on the offensive won't help. "[Go] into the conversation knowing that any good rep really wants to assist the customer," says Bill Gessert, president of the International Customer Service Association.
Info, Please3 of 11
2. It's easier for us to help when we have all the pertinent information. There’s a reason customer service agents ask all of those questions: They need the answers to help you out. "Being prepared and stating clearly what the problem is and what you need will get you to a resolution much more quickly," says Deb Levins, a senior account manager at Alpine Access.
Quick Fix4 of 11
3. I'm usually just as helpful as my supervisor would be. In most cases the representative who answers your query will be able to give you what you need. "It's hard when you have an irate customer who demands to speak with your supervisor right out of the gate," says Theresa Gentile, senior manager of customer service at StubHub.
Be Clear5 of 11
4. Express what you want in terms of a realistic resolution. "To avoid confusion, be clear about what action you'd ideally like the agent to take," says Holly Zoba, senior vice president of hospitality sales at Signature Worldwide, a provider of customer service training for a variety of industries. For example, she adds, at hotels, guests often come to the front desk to complain about their room without stating what they'd like in return for the inconvenience.
Use Feedback6 of 11
5. We love to hear feedback from you—especially if you were unhappy with your experience. Most customer service reps will tell you that the best part of their job is successfully helping customers. And while getting kudos for a job well done will make their day, hearing back from unsatisfied customers is just as important. "I wish these customers were more willing to provide us with feedback," says Gentile.
Call Early7 of 11
6. You're not our only call for the day. Think you're worn out from calling customer service? That's nothing compared to what the average rep goes through each day. According to Gessert, on a daily basis the agent handles 65 to 85 calls. "It's not easy to have to treat every customer as if his or her call was my only one of the day," he says. "Word to the wise: Make your calls as early in the day as possible to get a fresh and friendly agent."
Just Like You8 of 11
7. Just like you, we hate when there's nothing we can do to resolve your issue. Customer service agents are just as frustrated as you are when they can't give you a timely solution to your problems. "When you're stuck in a position where there's nothing you can do to change a bad circumstance or you have no control over improving a bad situation that's the worst position to be in," says Zoba.
Be Kind9 of 11
8. We're people too. "I wish customers knew how hard it can be to separate yourself from those really difficult conversations," says Levins. "It's hard not to take it personally when someone makes comments that seem to be aimed right at you, when they are really just upset with the situation or the company." As Gessert says, "Times like those are exactly what the mute button is for!"
Don't Blame Me10 of 11
9. Chances are, we didn't cause your problem. Don't take a company screw-up out on the unlucky agent who answers your call—it's very likely they're as innocent as you are. "Be friendly and calm, and communicate as clearly as you can. Realize that the customer service rep is 99.9 percent likely not to be the person who caused your problem in the first place," says Gessert.
Trust Us11 of 11
10. We really do know what we're doing! Customer service agents go through rigorous—and continuous—training programs that include leaning how to deal with different situations, issues and customer personalities. "Most businesses these days are changing constantly to adapt to the economy and to customer behavior, so it's rare that a representative will be trained once," Levins says.