Never thought of as glamorous, and often perceived as challenging, it may be surprising to learn that many customer service representatives sitting behind the phone or webchat window are actually feeling pretty good about the work they are doing. Although advancements in technology are making their roles more complex, those on the front lines every day take pride in helping their customers and genuinely enjoy what they do. That said, there are a few things that representatives want consumers to know when gearing up to solve their pressing issue.
Arvato recently surveyed over 1,200 of our representatives across the globe to get their opinions on what they love about their job, the biggest challenges they face and tips to help customers solve their own issues. When commissioning this survey, we felt it was important to let customer service representatives know that their voices are being heard and that, by sharing those insights with their peers, the profession as a whole can be elevated and customer service professionals can more effectively satisfy the brands that they serve. The wide range of responses we received provide valuable insight, and here are five reoccurring sentiments that were revealed.
Representatives Do Care About Solving Customer Problems
Although many representatives face a number of daily challenges, including the pressure to perform in a fast-paced environment (23.9 percent) and the need to adjust to rapidly emerging new technologies (8.3 percent), the survey indicated that representatives overwhelmingly have a sincere desire to help their customers (23.4 percent). In fact, one noted, “the most frustrating part of my job is going home, thinking what else I could’ve done to assist a customer.” Despite what some might believe, many take their jobs to heart and take pride in resolving issues for the customer. Unlike some hourly jobs where a worker might leave the office with a clear head, customer service representatives have so many conversations throughout the day attempting to solve challenging issues, it doesn’t always end when they punch their timecard.
Friendly Attitude and Patience Goes a Long Way
Representatives also have a lot of opinions about the most helpful things customers can do when calling in, with 28.6 percent reporting that they appreciate when a customer acts as a partner in finding a solution. They also wish customers would put a little more trust in them, with one representative reporting, “trust that I can deliver the resolutions.” Another notes, “be open-minded, cooperative and understanding.” Other ways customers can help representatives include: having a friendly attitude (26 percent), showing patience (20.9 percent) and telling the representative what their goal is/what they want the outcome to be (16.4 percent).
The Job Has Great Perks
When asked about their favorite part of the job, 30.8 percent of representatives reported that it’s helping people. “The best part is when I feel I have connected with the customer,” said one representative. Representatives also enjoy working with one another, with 31.0 percent answering, “my co-workers/manager.” Other benefits of the job include being associated with and/or interested in the brand/products they work for (17.7 percent), the fast-paced environment (8.7 percent) and the training they receive (3.4 percent). Other perks may include freebees; in some call center operations, representatives are given product samples to help them better understand the product they represent and become loyal brand advocates.
Consumers Sometimes Get in Their Own Way
While swearing or yelling at a representative and not letting them speak might seem like the worst thing you can do on a customer service call (and 12 percent agree that it is), the biggest thing that derails the call and the process of getting an issue resolved is when a customer is convinced that they already know the answer to the problem (according to 30 percent of reps). Often, a hasty customer insists that the customer service representative deal with their problem in a certain manner, without taking time to listen to the representative to understand the actual nature of the problem and the most efficient way to resolve the issue. While collaborative problem solving is always encouraged, describe the problem and let the representative take it from there—we promise, it will pay off in the end.
Asking to Speak to a Manager is Welcomed
When consumers are having difficulty solving an issue, representatives say to keep it simple and ask to speak to a manger; 51.3 percent of representatives report doing so is the most effective way to escalate an issue. What won’t help is complaining on social media or calling back and asking to speak to a different representative. Reps say, “trust that I will advocate on your behalf and escalate appropriately if necessary to resolve the issue.” Contrary to popular opinion, when a customer representative is asked to escalate a particular issue to a manager, the representative is not reprimanded. In fact, many customer service representatives are empowered to do whatever it takes to create a positive outcome and if looping in a manager makes sense, they will do so.
At the end of the day, they don’t need to be your friend, but being friendly goes a long way to getting issues resolved in the most expedient manner possible. And giving employees, whether they be customer service representatives or otherwise, a chance to air their minor annoyances once in a while never hurts. In fact, in the end, everyone wins – the consumer, the brand and the problem solvers on the front lines.