Improving Customer Service

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Many businesses fail because they focus on internal operations at the expense of customer service. Customer service skills are as important to a business's survival as financial, managerial, and marketing skills. Good customer service skills draw people to a company and convince them to remain with that company for their future needs. Inadequate customer skills do just the opposite, turning people away from the offending company to seek out other providers.

Certain jobs emphasize customer service skills more than others. These jobs usually involve having first contact with customers such as receptionists, secretaries, and salespeople. Yet, even jobs that involve mainly hands-on work, such as construction, underscore customer service skills. After all, it is the customer who contracts a construction team to build a project of the customer’s design. The construction staff must follow that design to the letter if they are to stay in that customer’s good graces. To please their customers, construction workers practice listening skills and clear communication in order to achieve the clearest idea of the customer’s design. Their future job opportunities hinge completely on customer satisfaction.

By the same token, medical jobs demand strong customer service skills. The expression “bedside manner” alludes to how well doctors and other medical workers communicate with their patients as human beings rather than as case studies. A doctor’s communicating abrasively with patients will almost certainly compel the patients to seek out more sensitive medical practitioners. Even though a doctor may be the best in the field, an ill-mannered disposition will drive many patients to the hands of more sympathetic, if less proficient, doctors.

Many businesses appoint customer service representatives to deal directly with customers. However, it is equally essential for managers and other executives to be well-trained in customer service, since they may have to respond to difficult customer or stakeholder complaints and questions. This is why many companies create customer service manager jobs that supervise all customer service staff and respond to serious customer complaints. These manager jobs, like all customer service jobs, require patience, good listening, diplomacy, cooperation, and a little personal charm.

Customer service skills usually do not come naturally to many people. Though many customer service workers have natural friendliness, they may lack the strategy-oriented attitude that governs professional customer service jobs. As much as customer service representatives may enjoy interacting with customers, they interact with the purpose to attract customers to their company. Those who work customer service sales jobs especially learn generalized sales strategies they utilize for a variety of situations. For instance, salespeople often learn strategies for negotiating prices, giving sales pitches, and dissipating clients’ anger when there are problems.

Customer service representatives also learn strategies for providing refunds or other reimbursement if there are product or service malfunctions. For instance, hotel customer service workers may discount the partial or entire price of a hotel stay if a customer experienced poor service.

Even Internet customer service jobs demand their fair share of customer service skills, despite the lack of face-to-face interaction with customers. In fact, there has arisen new e-mail etiquette that teaches employees how to draft polite e-mail communication. Moreover, many Internet customer service representatives perform the same customer service tasks while doing e-commerce. For example, an online customer service representative for an Internet business handles customer queries, executes sales strategies, and negotiates prices. It is also worthwhile to note that a great deal of home-based work involves remote customer service jobs such as Internet-based jobs. The employing company usually trains home-based staff in the company’s products or services as well as company-wide customer service protocol. Nonetheless, these employees’ managers usually evaluate customer service skills before they hire remote workers, so these workers usually have previous customer service experience.

High-quality companies train and retrain their customer service representatives in customer service skills. They do this because they recognize that excellent customer service distinguishes them from many competitors. They often organize seminars led by customer service managers that discuss common customer service situations and how employees should approach them. These managers stress that all employees comply with these strategies so each customer receives the same treatment for the same issue.

Formerly, customer service representatives were required to have little more than a high school diploma. However, the rise of e-commerce has compelled many entry-level customer service jobs to require bachelor’s degrees and previous experience through internships and part-time jobs. Because so many businesses now do e-commerce along with in-person services, they face massive competition for their survival. They want to hire representatives who have cut their teeth on previous customer service situations and are already well trained in basic sales strategies. They also look for candidates who are experienced with software such as retail-processing software and Microsoft Office, since so many customer representatives now have to respond to Internet customer queries on top of their in-person customers.

Income level for customer service jobs depends on the job’s industry and seniority. Customer service representatives, on average, make about $13 per hour if they have been working for at least five years. This amount generally does not include their commissions, from which they may earn considerably more money. Conversely, customer service managers make about $47,000 per year after five years on the job. Few customer service managers earn more than $60,000 per year, even if they have more than twenty years of experience.

The best customer service jobs will be reserved for those who have sharp customer service instincts along with thorough practical training. In truth, nothing can replace personal charm when it comes to reeling in customers. Nonetheless, many excellent customer service representatives are formed from continual training and flexible attitudes. In all likelihood, those who want to enter customer service jobs will find no lack of job opportunities in the near future.
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Popular tags:

 Microsoft Office  construction  customer service representatives  customers  workers  Internet  complaints  expenses  high school diploma  managers

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