Customer service is known for high turnover rates and agent burnout, however, some professionals greatly excel in this line of work, and show a tremendous aptitude for delivering excellent customer care.
Perhaps you’re a customer service rep who thrives in the workplace, and are thinking to yourself, “Do I have what it takes to grow in this profession?” Or perhaps you’re a manager, who has served on the frontline for many years, and wonder whether you’re still in touch with today’s customers. Regardless of age or level of experience, there are a few signs that you already are, or are destined to be, a customer service expert.
If these 9 characteristics sound familiar to you, then there’s a good chance you’re a customer service guru:
Sign #1: You Never Lose Your Cool
Patience is a sure-fire sign of someone well-equipped for the customer service profession. Being able to remain calm in times of stress is one of the greatest attributes to have in the industry. This is not necessarily a quality you were born with either; it may be a skill you developed over time.
Example: During the first few years as a CSR, spikes in call volume would send you in a tailspin, however, after getting through your fair share of days dealing with high volume, and angry customers, you no longer shudder at the idea, rather, you get through the day graciously, and learn to handle even the worst customers with an even temper.
Sign #2: You Make Complicated Things Easy to Understand
Can you put together IKEA furniture without pulling your hair out? Then you may have a flair for breaking down complex information and making it simple to consume. Customer service experts are able to see a lot of information and relay it in a manner that is easy to digest to just about anyone, at any age.
Example: The ability to solve problems without being able to see them, is a sign that you are extremely knowledgeable about a product. If a caller asks how to fix something, and you can successfully break down each step to the point of resolution – without asking for further assistance – or getting confused yourself – then you probably have a good handle on this whole customer service thing.
Sign #3: People Always Tell You How Optimistic You Are
You always have a smile on your face despite the conditions you’re placed in. You let things roll off your back and everyone around you wonders how you show no sign of anger or frustration. This is a skill many lacks, and if you have it, you’ve likely trained yourself to take things in stride in order to come out on top.
Example: You’re in the middle of a long complicated interaction and the customer is growing tired and frustrated, and then suddenly, the line drops. Instead of throwing your stress ball across the room, you instead take a deep breath, dial the caller back, and greet them in a tone that shows empathy and the promise that things will be a-okay. (I’ve encountered agents like this, and it’s truly the best way to handle any situation).
Sign #4: You’re Always on Time
Time management is extremely important to customer service success. If you always know how to prioritize your tasks so that things are completed on time and managed properly, there’s a good chance you’re going to go far, kid!
Example: The ability to know how long a call or interaction should take, and how to control a conversation so that everything is resolved in a timely fashion is integral to your expert status. There is a difference between spending quality time with a customer and wasting time with one. If you know the difference, you’re ahead of the game.
Sign #5: You Have a Sixth Sense
Although intuition tends to come from the gut, it isn’t always a natural feeling, and it doesn’t always come easily. Customer service experts take their wisdom and experiences at work and harvest that knowledge. In time, this turns into what feels like a “sixth sense” or “intuition” but truthfully it’s just being extremely educated about your surroundings.
Example: A customer has explained that they are not happy with a transaction and although they are not threatening any action, you can just “tell” this may affect their perception of the brand. In turn, you offer them a discount or a promotion for a future offer. This gives the customer a reason to return, and also shows that you understand where they’re coming from. By having that wherewithal you are keeping customer loyal and top of mind.
Sign #6: People Feel Calm Around You
Similar to keeping your cool, being able to make others feel relaxed is a sign of great customer service. Do people often tell you that they feel comfortable around you? That they can tell you anything and don’t feel judged? That your presence is like a weight off their shoulders? It’s a very unique trait, but some people just have a natural way of keeping others calm.
Example: A customer is frantically explaining a problem to you. It’s an urgent matter and they need help NOW! Instead of showing signs of mutual panic and uncertainty, you approach the conversation in an even mannered tone. You explain everything will be okay, and that you’ll work through this together as quickly as possible. (There is a difference between being relaxed and being slow or lazy, make sure not to confuse the two).
Sign #7: You Absolutely LOVE Surprises
Not everyone likes being caught off guard, or at least not when it comes to additional work. If you relish in new challenges and facing obstacles head-on, not only are you a diamond in the rough, but you show signs of confidence in your work. Confidence usually means you know exactly what you’re doing.
Example: The call center is constantly evolving and new systems are being put in place. Rather than resisting an upgrade or feeling overwhelmed by it, you dive into the new processes and procedures with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.
Sign #8: You Could Sell a Pen to a Pencil Company
Customer service is not always just about helping people in times of need, but also knowing how to maximize a business opportunity. If you have a passion for speaking and sharing the positive benefits of a product or purchase, it’s a sign your value extends beyond the run of the mill CSR, and into something more valuable.
Example: Let’s say a customer calls regarding a simple issue like checking if a paid bill has gone through. Do you take this opportunity to see if they are qualified for any upgrades, discounts, or renewals? Or do you just answer their question and hang up the phone? Customer service experts will see this as a chance to not just upsell, but to ensure a customer is getting the most out of your service.
Sign #9: You’re Always Looking for Ways to Improve
This really goes without saying, but maybe you’ve checked off everything on this list and assume you’re an almighty customer service expert. A true expert never stops cultivating knowledge, sharing their skills, and learning from others along the way. If you are truly an expert in customer service, you’re probably always on the lookout for the latest news and insights in the customer service space.