Happier Customer Service

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Customer service is a tough job.  Your job title may not include those two words, but no matter what your job, every job has a customer service component.  You’re either serving the needs of external customers or supporting others within an organization, delivering internal customer service.

It can be tough to stay positive dealing with customer demands, constantly solving problems.  What about happy?  Happiness has to do with enjoyment.  Dealing with the stress of customer service can be a stretch for actual enjoyment.  An Inc.com article suggested things people do that make them unhappy, and how stopping these actions can make you happier.  These habits can apply to customer service workers and how they interact with customers.    Stop doing these things to make you and your customers happier.

Blaming the customer for the problem is an easy way to start an argument or put the customer on the defensive.  Customers could bring coupons, or pick up items that have price tags on them to avoid long waits at the checkout lines, but it’s not their fault.  Telling the customer what they should have done to make your job easier isn’t making anyone happy.  Customers don’t feel any obligation to the company.  They just want to be taken care of.

No one likes to be interrupted, especially a customer explaining a service situation that made them unhappy.  Interrupting someone makes them feel devalued and that what they have to say isn’t important.  The interruption often takes the form of a criticism or blaming as well.  Stop interrupting and start listening. 

Customers are only concerned about themselves and their needs.  They don’t care about how hard your job is, how insensitive your boss is, your last difficult customers or how much you hate the job.  Sometimes customers can be so friendly that you feel like you’re talking to a friend instead of a stranger.  Building rapport is a great customer service technique, but it doesn’t mean you can vent all your frustrations on an unsuspecting customer.  You may feel better, but the customer goes away wondering what happened and with a lot more information than they need to know.

These are all things customer service workers need to stop doing.  What do happy people do?  They share their happiness with others.  Instead of blaming, become  problem solvers.  The situation is what it is.  If you don’t feel comfortable apologizing for poor customer service, you can always say you “…regret the situation.”  This way, you’re not taking personal blame and you’re not putting it on the customer, either. 

Happy people focus on the positive.  They view customer complaints as opportunities to put things right and then prevent the same thing from happening to another customer.  Customers who complain are gifts.  Happy customers are, well, happy.  It’s not that they don’t appreciate good customer service; they are just satisfied and go on to the next task.  Unhappy customers, on the other hand, will complain and tell others of their disappointment.  With social media and online review sites like Angie’s List, Yelp or TripAdvisor, customers have a forum to share their positive and negative experiences with a global audience. 

Happiness starts with great customer service.  Stopping some bad habits and adopting some new ones may be all it takes to change satisfied to happy.

Photo Source:  Freedigitalphotos.net


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